In March 2023, the Prime Minister set out the Windsor Framework, intended to address issues with the Northern Ireland Protocol.
The government have now released guidance for the Northern Ireland Retail Movement Scheme, due to come into force on 1st October 2023, outlining how retail goods will move from Great Britain (GB) to Northern Ireland (NI).
How will the scheme work?
Businesses moving goods from GB to NI will be able to benefit from ‘green lane’ easements, avoiding extensive certification and allowing the movement of products that meet UK rules.
Under green lane arrangements, consignments will move on the basis of a single General Certificate and there will no longer be the need for a vet or plant health inspector to approve documentation.
However, this applies to the whole consignment and any movement that does not qualify for the Retail Movement Scheme will have to pass through the ‘red lane’ with normal EU border processes applied.
All businesses responsible for selling or facilitating the movement of food for final consumption in Northern Ireland can benefit from the scheme.
Businesses can pre-register for the Retail Movement scheme until 24th August to ensure fast-tracked scheme membership. Full online registration will launch on 1st September 2023.
The government is aiming for data requirements to be straightforward. The General Certificate will be accessible to traders on the Export Health Certificate Online portal.
To ensure that goods remain in Northern Ireland, there will remain a requirement for the Northern Ireland consignee to confirm receipt of goods within 48 hours.
There will be a significant reduction in visual checks of goods. This will be 10% in October 2023 (compared to 100% level of checks under STAMNI) Currently 100% of all goods are identified visually, before tapering down to 5% by July 2025.
The government will be applying labelling requirements on a phased basis from October 2023. Some food products will need individual product labels with the words ‘Not for EU’.
- Phase 1 – From 1st October 2023 all meat products and some dairy products that move to NI under the scheme will need to carry the label.
- Phase 2 – From 1st October 2024 all milk and dairy products across the United Kingdom will need to carry the label. Additionally, meat and dairy products included in phase 1 that are sold across the United Kingdom will need to carry the label.
- Phase 3 - From 1st July 2025 all composite products, fruit, vegetables and fish moving to Northern Ireland will need to carry the label.
Further details on what products are included in each phase can be found here.
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