NI firms told: ‘get ready to fill in customs declarations but government training grants will help’

The agreement governs the movement of goods into NI from Great Britain and back, after the UK’s transition from the EU ends in December and the need to be ready to fill in customs declarations.  Although rapidly evolving, these include:-

  • what constitutes goods that the UK government terms “at risk” of moving from NI across its land border with the Irish Republic
  • interpretation of Transit rules as they will apply to moving goods between the three territories of Great Britain, NI and the Irish Republic.

These are the key points we know so far:-

  1. NI remains aligned to EU customs rules as well as those of the UK…

Northern Ireland has a foot in both camps – it remains part of the Union Customs Code. The implication of this is that “goods transiting the Republic and Northern Ireland to access Great Britain may be subject to customs procedures and any applicable tariffs”.  At the same time, the UK government has indicated that additional checks will be needed on products of animal origin (including fisheries). These checks will be implemented by expanding existing facilities in NI, currently used for checks on live animals.

  1. Firms moving goods between NI and GB must learn about customs authorisations

The new reality for business after December 2020 is the need for expertise on how to complete customs declarations.  Courses and funding are available for companies needing to train staff.

  1. Great Britain’s importance to NI

Lest we were in any doubt, Great Britain is NI’s single biggest export destination, a trading relationship that is far greater than that with the Irish Republic.  The IoT recently highlighted that £10.6bn-worth of goods was sold by NI to firms in Great Britain. Food, beverages and tobacco is by the largest segment, equating to £1.8bn of trade for NI.

  1. What is GVMS?

The technology-based Goods Vehicle Movement System is in development for tracking the movement of goods across the Irish Sea – how a truck might proceed from NI to Great Britain from 2021 using GVMS.  Further announcements are to be made on GVMS.

  1. Are Customs Special Procedures a solution?

Customs Special Procedures (CSPs), such as customs warehousing and inward processing, could be a solution to ensuring goods move between Great Britain, the Irish Republic and NI without too much disruption.  These established procedures streamline the documentary requirements a company has for exporting goods over borders.  CSPs are also a potential solution to trade between GB, NI and the rest of the world.

  1. Keeping an audit trail is vital

Businesses trading between NI, Great Britain and the Irish Republic need to learn to keep an audit trail of all trade documentation.  Firms are also advised to pay close attention to ensuring they use the correct commodity code and Incoterm they use for Great Britain-NI trade.

Source: Institute of Export