A New Customs agreement for Northen Ireland
On the 27th February the UK Government and EU Commission announced that an agreement in principle had been reached between themselves regarding the Windsor Framework. The Windsor Framework ('the agreement') amends the text and provisions of the original Protocol to uphold Northern Ireland’s integral place in the United Kingdom. The agreement delivers a form of dual regulation that both parties believe will work for business and consumers in Northern Ireland and support the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement.
The new Framework removes what many had regarded as a “hard border” in the Irish Sea between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom - which is to be welcomed. Whilst there are still further details to be provided on how the new systems will operate, it is known that there will be a considerable reduction in customs processes with the introduction of “Red” and “Green” lanes for goods being sent to Northern Ireland. Whilst an ICS Safety and Security Declaration will still be required for goods entering Northern Ireland the amount of data that will be required in the customs declaration will be reduced.
Subsequent Government information released on the 28th February has advised that “Businesses do not need to take any action right now and should continue as per current arrangements which will continue to apply. We will consult and work with business over the coming months ahead of implementing any changes required by these arrangements”