UK presents 'roadmap' to EU on plans to implement NI Protocol rules while easing trade friction

Thu 1 Apr 2021
Posted by: William Barns-Graham
Trade News

ni protocol

The UK has presented a “roadmap” to the EU indicating how it plans to fully implement the Northern Ireland Protocol while minimising trade friction in the region.

Following the UK’s decision to unilaterally postpone the introduction of rules relating to agrifood products and parcel deliveries last month, the EU launched legal action and called for the UK to deliver a document that detailed how it planned to proceed. 

No EU comment

Brexit minister Lord Frost and his European Commission opposite number, Maros Sefcovic, have been in contact over the past week, according Guardian Brexit correspondent Lisa O’Carroll.

She tweeted that the “European Commission is not expected to comment officially until it has studied document - so probably next week”.

Both sides will remain in regular contact over the coming weeks in a bid to resolve the outstanding problems, according to the Belfast Telegraph.

Hospitality struggles

The discussions come amid fears that Northern Ireland’s hospitality sector will struggle to adapt to new rules under the Protocol when re-opening post-lockdown. 

Haulage, hospitality, and food wholesale industry groups have been warned that the sector was not covered by the UK’s extension of grace periods on checks on goods entering the region

'Enormous complexity'

UK government officials told industry leaders at a meeting last week, reported by the FT, that customs officials would no longer turn a blind eye to food wholesalers using the authorised trader scheme for the hospitality and public sectors.

The Food and Drink Federation warned that if grace periods were not extended to hospitality it would “add enormous complexity” for food manufacturers in Great Britain supplying the Northern Irish hospitality market, and some might simply stop.