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Post-Brexit Trade Developments

Global Trade News | Customs & Trade alert

Brexit is far from over. While not being in the news every day the Brexit process continues to take place and the effects of it are in full swing.

Implementation of UK Import Checks

Since 1 January this year, business has no longer been able to defer making customs declarations for goods entering the UK. Goods now have to have a completed declaration and duties have to be paid when the good is moved into the United Kingdom. There have also been changes to Rules of Origin at the beginning of this year and there will be further changes to checks made at the UK Border in July 2022.

However, the UK government has announced that the current customs arrangements for products moving from Ireland and Northern Ireland to Great Britain will remain the same as long as the negotiations on the Northern Ireland Protocol are ongoing. Therefore, the enforcement of full customs controls and the requirements to submit customs declarations does not apply to goods entering in Great Britain from Ireland and Northern Ireland. 

So far there have been limited reports of border queues for entering the UK, however, it is still very early, and we have yet to see the full impact that the new checks have had on UK-EU trade. The government has published guidance to help business to adapt to these changes here

Brexit Negotiations

The UK’s lead Brexit Negotiator Lord Frost resigned over the Christmas period. In his resignation letter Frost stated that “Brexit is now secure” and that the challenge facing the government was to “deliver on the opportunities it gives us”. Frost’s resignation was prompted by concerns about the current direction of travel with regards to Covid measures and the post Brexit regulatory landscape in the UK.

His Successor is Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, who met with Europe’s lead negotiator, Maroš Šefčovič, on 20th of December. The talks between the EU and the UK officials are resuming this week. Foreign Secretary Truss warned that the “UK’s position remained unchanged, and that it is “prepared to trigger Article 16 safeguards to deal with the real problems in the Northern Ireland Protocol”. Despite Truss’ use of this language the government’s position on NIP seems to have softened over the course of 2021, with a renewed focus on finding solutions through talks. 

Progress emerged from the talks shortly before Frost’s resignation, when the European Commission announced that it would allow UK approved medicines to enter NI without additional labelling or testing. On the 22nd of December the UK government issued updated guidance on this subject.