Customs: Northern Ireland

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 1st December 2020.

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Photo of Louise Haigh Louise Haigh Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which aspect of SPS checks on goods travelling between Great Britain and Northern Ireland will be phased in.

Photo of Victoria Prentis Victoria Prentis The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Regarding trade from Great Britain (GB) to Northern Ireland (NI), the NI Protocol will enter into force from 1 January 2021. At this point, new requirements will apply, in particular to the movement of live animals, plants and agrifood goods. Guidance on these requirements has been published on GOV.UK at the link below, which continues to be updated.

The requirements that will apply on 1 January to particular types of trade continue to be subject to discussion with the EU. The Government intends to be in a position to provide guidance to traders, based on the outcome of these discussions, in the very near future.

Regarding trade from NI to GB, the draft Definition of Qualifying Northern Ireland Goods (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 are currently before Parliament. These draft regulations set out that, from the end of the transition period, all goods in free circulation in NI moving directly from NI ports to GB will qualify for unfettered market access.

For goods moving from NI to GB which qualify for unfettered market access from 1 January 2021, direct trade will continue as it does now. Any existing sanitary and phytosanitary checks will continue but there will be no new requirements to place these goods on the market. Appropriate authorities can continue to use existing powers after 1 January 2021 to manage and control the threat of disease and pest outbreaks in NI and GB where necessary. This will ensure that our high standards on food safety, plant and animal health, animal welfare and environmental protections can be maintained.

These regulations are part of a phased approach. This will be developed alongside NI business and the NI Executive and introduced during the course of 2021.

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