Genuine GB-NI trade movements should not be subject to customs controls, says Academy dean

irish border

The Dean of the UK Customs Academy, Professor David Widdowson, has said genuine NI-GB trade should not be subject to customs controls.

Writing for ‘The UK in a Changing Europe’ he said there were two ways for NI-GB trade to be handled, in the event of the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol coming into play after the transition period.

One is to apply full customs requirements to goods movements over the border. The second approach is for customs intervention in intra-UK transactions to “be restricted to situations where there is a specific risk-based reason to do so”.

He writes that this approach “reflects contemporary customs practice” and is “similar to the red/green lane system at airports, where those who select the green lane are only checked if there is a specific reason to believe they have something to declare.”

Once the UK leaves the EU at the end of the transition period this year, unless a special arrangement is introduced for Northern Ireland, the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol agreed to in the Withdrawal Agreement last year will come into effect.

This will allow free trade within the island of Ireland but trade between the EU and Great Britain moving through Northern Ireland must be treated as imports or exports and therefore be subject to full EU customs controls.

You can read Professor Widdowson’s full article here.

The professor is also the chief executive officer of the Centre for Customs and Excise Studies at Charles Sturt University, Australia.

Scroll to Top