The UK has decided to delay the January 1, 2022 introduction of checks on goods moving from Ireland to Great Britain until discussions on the Northern Ireland Protocol come to and end.
Speaking in the House of Lords yesterday (Wednesday, December 15), Brexit Minister and the UK’s chief negotiator Lord Frost said:
“The government has decided that the right thing is to extend, on a temporary basis, the current arrangements for moving goods from the island of Ireland to Great Britain for as long as discussion on the Protocol are ongoing.
“This means that goods moving from the island of Ireland directly to Great Britain will continue to do so on the basis of the arrangements that apply currently, until further notice; and will not, for now, be affected by the changes being introduced on January 1, for all other inbound goods.”
The decision will come into effect through legislation on January 1, 2022, however it is temporary and will continue to be kept under review.
“The government believes that this pragmatic act of good will can help to maintain space for continued negotiations on the Protocol,” Frost continued.
“It also ensures that traders in both Ireland and Northern Ireland are not faced with further uncertainty while the Protocol arrangements themselves are still under discussion.
“We will ensure traders have sufficient time to adapt to any future changes,” he added.
The Northern Ireland Protocol, an essential part of the UK Brexit Withdrawal Agreement, was put in place to ease the paradox of Northern Ireland remaining part of the European Single Market while also retaining access to the UK’s internal market.
Discussions regarding adequate checks on both sides, remain ongoing.
Lord Frost has previously called it the “biggest source of mistrust” between the UK and the EU.
Currently, one of the biggest stumbling blocks of the NI Protocol relate to livestock movements and sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) goods such as seed potatoes and horticultural produce.