The Northern Ireland Protocol entails some new administrative processes for traders, notably new digital import declaration requirements and digital safety and security information for goods entering Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK. Processes are fully digital and eligible to be facilitated by the Trader Support Service (TSS). There are no export or exit declarations needed for goods leaving Great Britain for Northern Ireland.
The TSS is a free, optional service which supports all businesses affected by the Protocol. It can complete declarations on behalf of traders so that they do not need to engage directly with new digital customs systems or processes and in most cases traders will not need their own XI EORI number. Traders can register by going to https://www.gov.uk/guidance/trader-support-service.
As well as the TSS, the Government has provided a range of support for traders affected by the Protocol, including:
- Publishing a suite of new guidance to support Great Britain and Northern Ireland businesses engaging in new processes under the Protocol.
- Creating the Movement Assistance Scheme, which provides support to traders moving agri-food commodities and equines from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.
- Creating a £20 million SME Brexit Support Fund to support small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) adjust to new customs, rules of origin, and VAT rules.
- Implementing a range of other support schemes, including the General Export Facility guarantee scheme aimed at SMEs, which means the Government can provide an 80% guarantee on financial support from lenders to help with general exporting costs, up to the value of £25 million.
- Implementing the UK Trader Scheme, which ensures that authorised traders do not pay tariffs on the movement of goods into Northern Ireland from Great Britain, where those goods can be shown to remain in the UK customs territory.
- Permitting waivers for duty on goods that traders bring into Northern Ireland from Great Britain that would normally be charged ‘at risk’ tariffs, up to a maximum allowance of €200,000 over three tax years.
- A temporary extension of the period in which traders who do not have a fixed place of business in Northern Ireland can be authorised to declare their goods “not at risk” until 1 November 2021, providing they meet all other UK Trader Scheme eligibility requirements.
- Establishing a specific taskforce working with businesses across Northern Ireland and Great Britain on issues related to the Protocol.