Operate after Brexit

Trade with Northern Ireland

Trade with Northern Ireland

Since the Northern Ireland Protocol came into effect on 1 January 2021, there have been changes to the way goods move between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

The Northern Ireland Protocol

The UK Government has published an explainer document covering the actions businesses need to take. There is also a full formal set of guidance on moving goods into, out of, or through Northern Ireland on GOV.UK.

The Customs Declaration Service should now be used for declarations on the movements of goods to or from Northern Ireland, including goods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland. The Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system can still be used in some instances.

The Government has published guidance on the customs declaration completion requirements for the NI protocol. 

  • The Protocol includes some new administrative processes for traders. Notably, traders now need to adhere to new digital import declaration requirements, and digital safety and security information, for goods entering Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK.
  • The UK Government has established a new, free service, the Trader Support Service (TSS) which will provide an end-to-end service guiding traders through all import processes. Traders can also use the TSS to complete digital declarations at no additional cost.
  • The new conformity assessment process changed on 1 January 2021 following the end of the transition period, which means goods being placed on the Northern Irish market will require both the UKNI marking and the CE marking.



What does my business need to do?

HMRC support

HMRC has launched the UK Trader Scheme to support businesses moving goods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.

If you are bringing goods into Northern Ireland which you know are not 'at risk' of moving to the EU, you can use the UK Trader Scheme to apply for authorisation and declare them so. This means EU duty will not be payable on those goods.

Check if you can declare goods you bring into Northern Ireland as not 'at risk'

Accompanying guidance on how to apply can be found on GOV.UK.

Applications received after the end of February 2021 will be processed as normal. This can take up to a month, so you must ensure you apply one month before you plan to declare goods not ‘at risk’.

Information on the movement of goods from 1 January 2021

From Northern Ireland to the UK

Moving goods will take place exactly as it did previously - with no additional process paperwork or restrictions - except in very limited circumstances. These circumstances include international obligations or goods being held in duty-suspension, i.e. endangered flora or fauna and excise goods such as alcohol or fuel products.

From Northern Ireland to and from Ireland

Trade in goods will continue unaffected, with no change at the border, no new paperwork, no tariffs and no regulatory checks.

From Northern Ireland to and from the rest of the world

Trading will continue broadly as it did previously. Northern Ireland will benefit from future UK Free Trade Agreements and the UK Global Tariff (UKGT) will apply to imports, except in the case where goods are considered ‘at risk’ of moving to the EU.

From the UK to Northern Ireland

Goods are now subject to new declarations and may be subject to duties if considered ‘at risk’ of moving to the EU (including Ireland). Please remember this if you use a common sea route such the Cairnryan to Larne and Belfast routes.

Northern Ireland Transit Routes

Goods are now subject to specified 'transit' processes. 'Transit' can be used to move goods from the UK, via Ireland to Northern Ireland. This would mean they were 'in transit' whilst in Ireland. 'Transit' declarations would apply, and some traders would need to use sealed trucks.

UKNI mark guidance

What is the UKNI marking?

The UKNI marking is a new conformity marking for products placed on the market in Northern Ireland (NI) which have undergone mandatory third-party conformity assessment by a body based in the UK.

The UKNI marking is not used if you are able to self-declare your goods are compliant, under the relevant EU legislation that applies in NI, or if you use an EU Notified Body for any mandatory conformity assessment/testing. In these cases you can still use the CE marking to place goods on the Northern Ireland market. For more information on CE marking please see our article on conformity assessment process and product labelling.

Read UK Government guidance around placing manufactured goods on the market in Northern Ireland and what you need to do to comply with regulations.

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