The Windsor Framework

The Prime minister Rishi Sunak announced the new ‘Windsor Framework’ arrangement for goods moving between Great Britain (GB) and Northern Ireland (NI) alongside European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen.

The Windsor Framework amends the NI Protocol – the agreement signed between the UK and EU to ensure that a hard border was avoided on the island of Ireland following Brexit.

The new deal is aimed at significantly reducing the number of checks with two lanes being created for goods arriving in Northern Ireland from Great Britain:

  • green lane for goods which will remain in Northern Ireland, meaning they face minimal paperwork and no routine physical checks.
  • red lane for goods which may be sent on to the EU, meaning they face customs processes and other checks at Northern Ireland ports.

In order for traders to avail of the green lane, businesses will need to register as a trusted trader under the new United Kingdom Internal Market Scheme (UKIMS).

Businesses, including supermarkets that are current members of an existing scheme will be automatically moved onto the scheme, along with a wider range of other business types now qualifying to register, including those based in Great Britain and which have no physical premises in Northern Ireland.

The current process of the Northern Ireland Protocol meant that traders had to complete supplementary declarations, for goods that were moved from GB to NI, even if they remained and were not ‘At Risk’ of moving to the EU. The new frame work however removes this requirement from traders if they are registered as trusted traders, meaning they can avail of the new green lane.

A new internal market system will be established in the UK in which GB goods bound for sale or use in only NI will travel along a ‘green lane’ and will be “freed of unnecessary paperwork, checks and duties.” This will involve businesses being required to submit a reduced amount of data for their goods, “using only ordinary commercial information rather than customs processes.” The exact format in which this reduced set of data will be submitted has not yet been announced.

Mark Anderson our Customs & Operations Manager here at Westmond Logistics, said that the “Windsor Framework was more that what anyone thought was possible and will bring great possibilities for Northern Ireland and allow supply chains to flow almost like pre-Brexit times.”

The new processes are said to come into effect starting from 27th September 2023 with grace periods being introduced until 2025 for certain rules and checks. As more information is released around how the new framework will work in practice, we will be contacts our clients to ensure that they are prepared for the changes so that they are compliant with the new customs regulations and requirements.

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