The Customs piece of the New Brexit deal appears to be saying that duty will be payable on goods going from UK mainland (or indeed anywhere outside the Union) to Northern Ireland if;

“that good is at risk of subsequently being moved into the Union, whether by itself or forming part of another good following processing”.

The “risk” is further defined –

“a good brought into Northern Ireland from outside the Union shall be considered to be at risk of subsequently being moved into the Union unless it is established that that good:

(a) will not be subject to commercial processing in Northern Ireland; and

(b) fulfils the criteria established by the Joint Committee…….

For the purposes of this paragraph, ‘processing’ means any alteration of goods, any transformation of goods in any way, or any subjecting of goods to operations other than for the purpose of preserving them in good condition or for adding or affixing marks, labels, seals or any other documentation to ensure compliance with any specific requirements.”

Provisions of the Union Customs Code will apply to Northern Ireland.

Reimbursement/reclaim processes will be developed and introduced (with some guards against the risk of “illegal state aid.”)

So…does this mean Customs warehousing and IP etc remain valid? I think so, but without the detail that the “Joint Committee” will provide, it’s difficult to provide a concrete opinion.

It does sound like the proposal that was put forward right at the beginning of this journey by HMG about the UK effectively managing the EU’s external border …and I remember lots of us on this side of the table saying that the process appeared to raise the potential specter of “diversion fraud”.

We all need to think about how the future controls will be applied to guard against this.

Lorenzo Rossetti is General Manager, UK Customs for BluJay. He has spent his entire career in the UK customs world, including 17 years as Customs Development Director for Grosvenor International, now a BluJay Solutions company. Lorenzo can be reached at +44 (0)1689 818000.

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