Moving Goods from Ireland to Northern Ireland (Northern Ireland Brexit)

Exit day is 31st October (this date is in a Statutory instrument)

[this Blog does not focus on Customs or VAT, this post is made only because the changes are substantive]

Today HMRC updated (in a major way) and reissued its guidance on customs procedures applying in Northern Ireland.

Here

Goods moving between Ireland and Northern Ireland will face different procedures compared to other UK-EU trade.

You will not need to:

• get a customs agent or an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number

• pay Customs Duty or make import or export declarations to HMRC

You should also consider advice issued by the Irish government about their requirements for goods moving into or out of Ireland.

This was the case in the March instructions (see Blog post then).

What is added is information about moving controlled and licensed goods, transitional simplified procedures and moving goods under transit.

HMRC also issued updated instructions on excise duty applying to exports to Ireland and imports from Ireland.

Export – here.

Import – here.

Customs and VAT processes in Northern Ireland will also change if there is an orderly exit. I will be issuing further Blog posts.

Direction of Travel (UK Brexit)

Exit day is 31st October 2019 (this date is set out in a Statutory Instrument)

Today, the UK state issued its text proposal for a new Ireland Protocol (“backstop” in common parlance) to the UK/EU Withdrawal Agreement.

Only the letter and explanatory note are published – here.

The letter shows the direction of travel –

Our proposed compromise removes the so-called “backstop” in the previous Withdrawal Agreement. I have explained the difficulties with this elsewhere, including the fact that it has been rejected three times by the UK Parliament. Equally importantly in this context, the backstop acted as a bridge to a proposed future relationship with the EU in which the UK would be closely integrated with EU customs arrangements and would align with EU law in many areas. That proposed future relationship is not the goal of the current UK Government. The Government intends that the future relationship should be based on a Free Trade Agreement in which the UK takes control of its own regulatory affairs and trade policy. In these circumstances the proposed “backstop” is a bridge to nowhere, and a new way forward must be found.

[my emphasis]

The new proposal would create a complicated situation for traders in Northern Ireland, and for trade into Northern Ireland, plus a consent mechanism necessitating initial and repeated four-yearly approval by Stormont (that is not currently meeting).

The next step is for all parties to review the circulated (but unpublished) detailed text, and for the EU on behalf of the Member States, to indicate if the proposal has merit enough to enter into detailed discussion.

Please look out for further Blog posts.

NB – re Eco-design and Right to Repair – the EU agreed it’s new rules today, it seems in time for the 31st October Exit day – I updated the Blog post issued recently. This matter will be in the October Email Alert to subscribers.

Orderly Exit? (UK Exit)

Exit day is 31st October 2019 (this date is in a Statutory Instrument)

Reports this morning (and last night) identify the UK state will make a new proposal to the EU for an orderly exit (termed “Deal” in common parlance).

In the event that this proposal is accepted, in full or with agreed changes, then an orderly exit would result on Exit day, under the terms of a new UK/EU Withdrawal Agreement (that was ratified by both the UK and the EU Parliaments and all Member States).

If this occurs, then there would be a new Withdrawal and Implementation Bill or Withdrawal Agreement Bill in the UK. In the last round, only a White Paper was published (2018).

This Withdrawal Agreement Bill, if enacted, would change the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018 and delay the action of the Brexit Law on the UK statute book.

The UK would Exit on Exit day, but the effect of the Brexit Law would be delayed.

Some Brexit Law (amended) would take effect on Exit day, and some Brexit Law (amended) would take effect at the end of 2020.

In some topics, and in some geographical regions, UK and EU Law would remain aligned until the end of 2020 (and in some cases to 2025).

Please expect to see further Blog posts.

Retained EU Law (UK Exit)

Exit day is 31st October (this date is in a Statutory Instrument)

The European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 is the governing Law.

Some EU legislation will continue to have effect in the UK legal system post-exit. This is called ‘Retained EU Law’.

EU regulations (not EU directives), certain EU decisions and EU tertiary legislation (now known as delegated and implementing acts), will be retained (converted and incorporated) in the UK legal system as they have effect immediately before Exit day.

EU-derived domestic legislation that reproduces the effect of an EU regulation, decision or tertiary legislation, are not retained. This is to avoid duplication on the statute book after exit.

EU legislation is only converted and incorporated into domestic law “so far as operative immediately before Exit day”.

The default position is that EU legislation is operative if it is in force immediately before Exit day. However, some EU legislation applies in a staggered way over time, and the Act ensures that, so far as a relevant instrument has entered into force and applies before Exit day, it will be converted into domestic legislation.

It is only if the provision is “stated to apply” from a later time, and that time falls on or after Exit day, that the provision would not fall within the ambit of the section. So, where there is a stated date of application, and this date falls after Exit day, the provision is not converted.

This means that, provided it is not expressly stated to apply from a date falling on or after Exit day, EU legislation which is in force before Exit day will be converted even if it has some effect which crystallises after Exit day.

For example the EU fluorinated greenhouse gases regulation [No. 517/2014]. the whole of which is in force and – by virtue of its Article 27 – is stated to apply from 1 January 2015, prohibits the supply of equipment containing certain substances from specified dates, several of which fall after Exit day. These future prohibitions apply now, even though they do not take effect until after Exit day. They are therefore converted under the Act and will take effect on the specified dates.

In the case of EU decisions which specify to whom it is addressed, if the date of notification to the addressee (for example the UK or a person in the UK) falls before Exit day then that decision is converted.

In the case of EU directives – these are not part of EU retained law in any event. EU directives will have dates by which member states should have domestic legislation in place. If these dates are beyond Exit day, then it will be a matter of enforcement of non- implementation by the European Commission (on an action, for example, taken by an aggrieved party).

IP and Brexit (UK Brexit)

Exit day is 31st October (this day is set out in a Statutory Instrument)

This Blog does not post on intellectual property. But, in the interests of completeness, and because the matter of exhaustion of IP rights is a (possibly overlooked) aspect of the circulation of goods, this Blog post publicises the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) instructions on IP and Brexit (updated today 11th September).

Here

Extract

Intellectual property rights give rights holders the right to control distribution and re-sale of a product that is protected by IP after they have been put on the market.

Currently, exhaustion of IP rights occurs in the UK when an IP-protected good is placed on the market anywhere in the European Economic Area (EEA). This means that rights holders (such as the owner of a brand) may not prevent the movement of those goods within the EEA. These goods are known as parallel goods, which are genuine goods (that is not counterfeit).

While the UK remains a full member of the EU, intellectual property rights remain exhausted after the first sale of a good. This is with the right holders permission and within the territory of the European Economic Area (EEA).

If there is a no-deal, the UK will continue to recognise EEA exhaustion so the rules affecting imports of goods into the UK will not change. Goods placed on the market [in the EU], after the UK has exited the EU, will continue to be considered exhausted in the UK. This means that parallel imports of these genuine goods from the EEA to the UK will continue unaffected.

However, there may be restrictions on the parallel export of goods from the UK to the EEA. This is because goods placed on the UK market, after the UK has exited the EU, will not be considered exhausted in the EEA.

Businesses that wish to export IP-protected goods to the EEA that have already been legitimately put on the market in the UK, may need the rights holder’s consent. All businesses may wish to seek legal advice on how this arrangement could affect their business model or intellectual property rights.

Foreign Students (UK Brexit)

Exit day is 31st October (this date is in a Statutory Instrument)

Today, 11th September, HMG announced foreign students would be offered a Graduate Route of 2-year stay for work after study.

Here

This will be a 2-year post-study work visa, open to all graduates.

Students will need to have successfully completed a degree from a trusted UK university or higher education provider which has a proven track record in upholding immigration checks and other rules on studying in the UK.

This will sit alongside the 3-year Euro TLR announced for EU nationals arriving after Exit day. (See recent post)

And the Ireland-UK Common Travel Area (CTA).

UPDATE : A second announcement on the 2-year post-study work visas is here.

Other sector announcements were the creation of a new fast-track visa route for scientists and the removal of the limit on PHD students moving into the skilled work visa route.

Manufactured Goods (UK Brexit)

Exit day is 31st October (this is the date in a Statutory Instrument)

Yesterday (10th Sept) HMG re-published its instructions on Manufactured Goods.

Here

I did Blog post these instructions in March, note the UKCA mark. The UKCA mark is not available yet. CE marks will continue for a temporary period.

The Sept publication has an update reminder that Distributors will be Importers.

By now, everyone should be Brexit Ready.

The specific text re Importers – (note the EEA and Switzerland reference)

If you are currently a UK distributor, you need to confirm whether you or your supplier will become an ‘importer’ once the UK leaves the EU. This will usually be the case if you are the one bringing goods into the UK from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, and want to put them on the UK market after Brexit.

If you are becoming an ‘importer’ you will need to ensure you understand your legal obligations. You will need to make sure:

• goods are labelled with your company’s details, including your company’s name and a contact address (for 18 months after Brexit you can provide these details on the accompanying documentation rather than on the good itself)

• the correct conformity assessment procedures have been carried out and that any good you import carries the correct conformity markings

• the manufacturer has drawn up the correct technical documentation and complied with their labelling requirements

• you maintain a copy of the declaration of conformity for a period of 10 years

• you do not place a good you import on the market if you have reason to believe it does not conform with the relevant essential requirements