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UK Government proposals could lead to confusion for cross-border exporters

The Chairman of Chartered Accountants Ulster Society has warned that the UK Government’s ‘no deal’ plans could put Northern Ireland businesses at a competitive disadvantage to those in the Republic of Ireland.

Niall Harkin said: “The open border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland is very welcome from a supply chain perspective. However, though the proposals suggest no tariffs and very limited checks on trade from Ireland into Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, as part of the EU, will have to fulfil its obligations under the Union Customs Code.

“This could involve quality assurance checks and even tariffs on goods going into the Republic of Ireland from Northern Ireland under this scenario. This will potentially put traders in Northern Ireland at a competitive disadvantage to traders in the Republic of Ireland and give rise to a confusing arrangement for cross-border exporters particularly those with integrated cross-border supply chains.”

Mr Harkin also said more detail would be needed on the quality control checks that would be implemented in the case of a ‘no deal’ Brexit: “More clarification is needed about how, for example, foodstuffs are going to be regulated for quality control purposes. The tariff regime announced doesn’t deal with the question of how the UK will manage the regulation and quality control of food coming into the UK market.”

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