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Round 7 in the series: this week we are looking at EU to NI…..and it might surprise you!

The Northern Ireland Protocol was introduced to avoid a border on the island of Ireland and to allow free movement of goods between NI and ROI (and vice versa). To achieve this NI, although remaining in the UK customs territory, will operate to the EU customs code (UCC). Whilst this was originally designed to avoid any physical infrastructure on the island of Ireland it also means that NI has the same relationship with the rest of the EU (otherwise the EU will have annexed part of the Union).

What does this mean on the ground?   Essentially NI is in the EU and the UK.  This creates some very unusual customs requirements, you might need to read the list below more than once (I know I did when I first had sight of the NI arrangements)

ROUTE 7 : EU to NI 

  1. EU supplier raises commercial invoice and quotes NI importer’s VAT number.  
  2. No export declaration required
  3. No VAT is charged as the transaction is intra-EU and can therefore move under the normal reverse charge system (this is yet to be fully confirmed but hard to see how else it would work)
  4. EU supplier arranges a T2 transit document to allow the goods to travel through GB without being customs cleared (transit not required if shipment avoids GB, for example Zeebrugge to Dublin)
  5. Transit document closes when goods arrive in NI
  6. No import declaration is required (as essentially EU to EU movement)
  7. No duty to pay in NI regardless of what is shown in the UK Global Tariff
  8. Goods are now free to move on the island of Ireland 
  9. ALL of the above applicable from 1st January 2021 unless shown otherwise

Have not mentioned SPS controls but technically the movement from EU to EU (through GB) requires that the re-entry to EU is through a BCP (Border Control Post).  This would require TRACES NT, CHED and export health certification.   There is talk of a relaxation in respect of mainland EU to/from Republic of Ireland.  It is not clear if this relaxation would also apply to NI.  Hard to see that it would not but equally odd to have EU deciding whether or not UK requires SPS controls (as it stands GB to NI would require SPS controls).

The unusual situation (EU to NI) may mean that you have to re-examine your EU to UK flows.  It is not unusual, for example, for stock to move from EU to GB and eventually be despatched  NI (or ROI).   This could mean that you pay duty in GB when you didn’t need to.   This can be avoided by using alternative customs regimes for the initial import.  Of course, this is only relevant if GB applies a duty to imports from EU.

It should be noted : wherever we mention BCP (Border Control Post) the rule is that the BCP should be advised 24 hours prior to arrival.   If this does not change then the BCP booking process needs to be early in the chain.

 Coming next week: ROUTE 8: from Great Britain to Northern Ireland

Former parts of the series:

Route 1: Great Britain to the Republic of Ireland

Route 2 : shipping from GB directly to FR

Route 3: shipping from Britain to Italy

Route 4: shipping directly from Ireland to Great Britain

Route 5: shipping from Ireland to Great Britain via Northern Ireland.

Route 6: shipping from France to Great Britain

Photo: Pixabay

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