The UK Government has today announced a new Traders Support Service to assist Northern Ireland businesses bringing in goods from Great Britain, and has published guidance on the movement of goods between NI and GB. FSB NI Head of External Affairs, Roger Pollen has welcomed the support, but noted that we now need agreement and clarity on precisely what the Northern Ireland Protocol means for businesses.
Commenting, Roger Pollen said:
“Small businesses will welcome the commitment from the Government of significant funding to assist with customs procedures, when the new trading relationship commences in January. It is entirely just that business should not have to pick up the bill for any additional costs which may emerge.
“While further guidance was published today, businesses still lack much detail about the practicalities regarding any changes they need to make ahead of the Northern Ireland Protocol coming into force.
“We await more clarity on issues such as how ‘unfettered access’ will be determined and what goods may be considered ‘at risk’ and potentially subject to tariffs.
“Many small businesses are facing an incredibly tough time currently as a result of the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is paramount that an agreed implementation of the Protocol is based on common-sense and does not unduly harm the NI small business community in what is already a difficult period.
“The support announced today was a positive step forward, however with many unanswered questions, there is a great deal of work and pragmatism required in the weeks ahead to ensure the new trading arrangements are fit for purpose.”