Brexit: Moving goods into, out of, or through Northern Ireland

Moving goods from Northern Ireland to Great Britain


Under the Northern Ireland Protocol, there will be no additional process, paperwork, or restrictions on Northern Ireland goods moving to Great Britain.

From 31 December 2020, trade from Northern Ireland to Great Britain will continue as it does now. That will mean no declarations, tariffs, new regulatory checks or customs checks, or additional approvals for goods from Northern Ireland businesses to be placed on the UK market. Those goods will be able to be placed on the market in Scotland, Wales and England, whether certified against EU or UK rules.

This level of access will be available only to Northern Ireland businesses (including businesses headquartered in Great Britain with operations in Northern Ireland). Businesses in Ireland will need to follow the normal process for importing goods into the United Kingdom, including submitting customs declarations and paying any tariff duties that are due. The EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020 includes provision for the Government to define a qualifying status for goods and businesses in Northern Ireland benefitting from unfettered access. The UK Government is engaging with businesses and the Northern Ireland Executive on the means for delivering qualifying status and will set out further details shortly.

There will be a limited range of exceptions to this unfettered access policy. These will apply only in specific instances where goods movements require bespoke processes - such as to take account of binding international obligations, for example, the movement of endangered species. In these cases, the relevant trade for which the procedures apply is extremely limited. Complying with these requirements will, therefore, have negligible implications for trade as a whole. On that basis, goods trade will continue as at present - and access will be unfettered.