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Factbox: What’s in the EU plan for future Britain-to-N.Ireland commerce?


BRUSSELS, Oct 13 (Reuters) – The European Union proposed measures on Wednesday that might halve customs paperwork required to maneuver items from Britain to Northern Ireland and lower checks on meals imports by 80%.

Northern Ireland stays in the EU single market regardless of Brexit due to its open border with EU member Ireland. This has snagged commerce between Northern Ireland and the remainder of the United Kingdom and Britain says the association doesn’t work.

The following are particulars of the four-part package deal that will probably be put to Britain, which is demanding a extra in depth overhaul: learn extra


The European Union has a collection of SPS (sanitary and phytosanitary) guidelines to guard animal, plant or public well being that dictate what meals merchandise may be imported and the way.

Imports of meat, dairy produce and contemporary vegatables and fruits have to be accompanied by well being certificates, whereas imports of minced meat and ‘meat preparations’, equivalent to sausages or burgers, are banned outright, except they’re frozen.

Since Northern Ireland is in the EU single market, the similar guidelines apply for imports of such merchandise from Britain.

After the expiry of an unspecified grace interval, supermarkets would now not be capable of provide their Northern Irish shops with merchandise equivalent to sausages coming from Britain and would wish well being certificates for different agri-food merchandise.

The EU plan is designed as a Northern Ireland-specific association, that might cut back bodily checks by 80% – for a variety of merchandise discovered on grocery store cabinets there, equivalent to Cumberland sausages.

In return for fewer checks, the EU would need extra market surveillance and bolstered monitoring of provide chains to make sure the items in query are solely going to Northern Ireland.

In future, a truck bringing, for instance, 100 several types of meals, would require only one certificates stating the varied items, somewhat than 100. Imports of merchandise of animal origin will now not be topic to the similar degree of checks.


British items coming into Northern Ireland which are thought of to be “at risk” of coming into the single market can face in depth customs paperwork. Imports by small Northern Irish producers or suppliers of retail items in Northern Ireland are exempt.

The EU plan would lengthen this exemption from prolonged paperwork to producers with the next turnover and to suppliers primarily based in mainland Britain.

So a Northern Irish automotive seller importing automotive elements from Great Britain would solely want to supply fundamental data, equivalent to the bill worth and events to the transaction, for customs functions, somewhat than a full-set of customs code data.

The EU believes this may lower customs paperwork by over half. Taken with the SPS adjustments, there can be a type of “express lane” to facilitate the motion of products.


Northern Ireland’s place in the EU single market additionally extends to imported medicines, which must observe EU guidelines.

The British Generic Manufacturers Association says the additional warehousing, lab testing and technical specialists will make supplying Northern Ireland unviable in many circumstances, doubtlessly resulting in the withdrawal of two,000 medicines.

Most of Northern Ireland’s medicines come from Britain, with generics seen as most threatened because of their low margins, when a grace interval expires at the finish of the yr.

Under the EU proposal, regulatory features may proceed to happen in Great Britain, which may stay a hub of generic drug provide, and they’d not should relocate infrastructure to Northern Ireland.


In the fourth paper, the EU units out plans to enhance the alternate of knowledge with Northern Irish authorities, companies and society to make the utility of the protocol extra clear.

Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop; enhancing by Philippa Fletcher

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