Last week, the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill was introduced to parliament and the Government published a document, setting out the issues facing Northern Ireland and how the Bill will seek to resolve them. For now, current arrangements for the movement of goods into and out of Northern Ireland will remain.
The document highlights such issues as trade disruption and diversion, significant cost and bureaucracy for businesses and areas where people in Northern Ireland have not been able to benefit fully from the same advantages, as those in the rest of the UK.
The document’s proposals are aimed at sustainability and addressing the full range of issues raised by the Protocol. In summary, the proposals are to:
- Establish new “green channel” arrangements for goods staying in the UK – fixing the burdens and bureaucracy caused by the application of EU customs and SPS rules to all goods at present
- Establish a new “dual regulatory” model to provide flexibility to choose between UK or EU rules – removing barriers to trade and managing risks of future divergence between UK and EU rules
- Ensure the Government can set UK wide policies on subsidy control and VAT – overcoming constraints that have meant Northern Ireland has not benefited from the same support as other parts of the UK
- Deal with the Protocol’s unequal governance, removing the role of the CJEU in dispute settlement and providing the means for UK authorities and courts to set out the arrangements which apply in Northern Ireland
The document also addresses the fact that there are elements of the Protocol which are operating well and so should be preserved. Either way, the Government is committed to avoiding a hard border on the island of Ireland and to respecting the protection of the EU Single Market.
The document is in four sections, detailing the perceived problem, why the Protocol is required to change and the UK solution. The four sections are as follows:
- Trade: customs and agrifood
- Tax and spend
For more details on the four sections, the full document can be found here: