Events this evening 12th March (UK Brexit)

It will be clear by now that the Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration (and accompanying documents) negotiated and agreed between the UK and the EU has failed for the second time at ratification (in the UK Parliament).

Tomorrow (13th March) the UK Chancellor will make his Spring Statement, a motion will be amendable on No Deal and debated for a free vote on the Government side that day, and various No Deal policies will be published.

These No Deal policies will include the arrangements for the international border on the island of Ireland, and the tariff schedules.

I will issue separate Blog posts on the No Deal policies that will be published.

I will issue another Events this evening Blog post tomorrow, after the vote is made on No Deal.

Agriculture and Plant Products (Ireland Brexit)

If you import or export:

◦ live animals (such as cattle, sheep or horses),

◦ animal products (such as meat, dairy products or fishery products);

◦ plants (such as trees, flowers or vegetables) or

◦ certain plant products (such as fruit, foliage or timber)

from or to the UK, you will encounter new regulatory requirements and customs procedures along your supply chains after 29 March 2019.

The Irish Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has issued instructions – here.

Wooden Pallets (Ireland Brexit)

I posted earlier about DEFRA Brexit guidance on importing and exporting plants and plant products after exit day, and this guidance was updated on 21st February – here.

The UK guidance identifies that all Wood Packaging Material (including pallets) – WPM – moving between the UK and the EU would need to meet ISPM15 international standards by undergoing heat treatment and marking. In addition, WPM might be subject to official checks either upon or after entry to the EU.

In practice, not having the ISPM15 stamp on the pallet on checking is a main cause of goods being resealed and sent back.

The National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) includes the pallet aspect in its Brexit Factsheet on Green Procurement Certification – here.

The NSAI Brexit Factsheet confirms the following :

(1) Unless a ratified withdrawal agreement establishes another date or the European Council, in accordance with Article 50(3) of the Treaty on European Union and in agreement with the UK, unanimously decides that the Treaties cease to apply at a later date, all Union primary and secondary law will cease to apply to the UK from 30 March 2019.

(2) The UK will then become a third country (from 30 March 2019) and as such trade in goods and service between the UK and the EU will be affected. It will have an impact not only on the goods exported from Ireland but also imported goods that come into Ireland from the UK.

(3) In the EU procurement market, economic operators from the UK will have “third party” status as all other economic operators based in a third country with which the EU does not have any agreement and will be subject to the same rules as any third country tenderer.

(4) In the event of the UK leaving the EU in March 2019 without a withdrawal agreement all Wood Packaging Material (WPM) being imported from the UK to the EU (including Ireland) will need to be ISPM 15 compliant which is not currently required.

ISPM 15 is an internationally recognised phytosanitary measure that establishes standards for the treatment and marking of WPM (pallets, crates, dunnage etc.) and affects all WPM used in international trade.

The WPM associated with these products may be subject to official checks either upon entry to the EU (including Ireland) or after entry.

The UK may introduce reciprocal arrangements requiring EU (including Ireland) exporters to the UK to ensure WPM arriving in the UK from the EU is ISPM15 compliant.

(5) The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) is responsible for implementing the ISPM 15 scheme in Ireland. NSAI carries out audits of companies registered to the ISPM 15 scheme on DAFM’s behalf.

Ireland Omnibus Bill (Ireland Brexit)

UPDATE (3) : the Bill is now law and the Irish statute book is now ready for Brexit on 29th March 2019

UPDATE (2) : the Bill has passed the Dail and is now in the Seanad (the second Chamber)

UPDATE : the Bill is here.

Ireland publishes this morning its 15 part Omnibus Brexit Bill (I posted about this Bill coming down the line before). The Irish papers all carry reports of this – the Irish Times report is here.

The island of Ireland is the location of the international land border between the UK and the EU. I am travelling to Ireland again on Sunday, and will spend two weeks in the Borderlands (again).

I will update this Post (the update will not be emailed through, so if you are following this, then check back on the Blog itself), in due course, with a link to the published bill and a summary.

Road Haulage (NI Brexit)

UPDATE : the EU Council has now agreed its position on basic road connectivity – here.

There is uncertainty in the haulage industry about what will happen at EU borders if the UK leaves without a Brexit deal next month.

Back in November, the UK Government issued guidance to UK hauliers stating that they “might need ECMT permits to transport goods in the EU and European Economic Area (EEA)” if there is no deal by 29 March.

The European Conference of Ministers of Transport (ECMT) permits can be used in a list of 43 countries which have signed up to the international arrangement.

The deadline for 2019 applications expired on 18 January 2019 and on Saturday night, many hauliers were informed on whether or not they were successful. I posted earlier about the deadline.

ECMT permits were over-subscribed and allocated on a points-based system, with higher scores awarded to firms who make a larger number of journeys into EU member states.

It would appear the Department for Transport (DfT) did not take into account journeys to the Republic of Ireland from Northern Ireland operators, whereas English, Scottish or Welsh hauliers were credited with their journeys to the Republic of Ireland.

Just over 1,200 permits were available for the UK as a whole and it is likely only 60-70 were made available to Northern Ireland firms.

In its guidance issued last year, the Government said it expected that Northern Ireland hauliers “will not need an ECMT permit” to drive to or through the Republic of Ireland.

It stated it would not require Republic of Ireland hauliers to have ECMT permits to operate in Northern Ireland.

It added that the UK was seeking a reciprocal agreement from the Irish government to allow Northern Ireland hauliers to travel across the Irish border without a permit.

I posted earlier that the European Commission (in its Contingency Plan) has proposed legislation that would allow UK hauliers basic rights (on a reciprocal basis) to conduct operations to, from and through the EU for a limited period of nine months after exit, if there is no deal.

“The Commission’s proposal will need to be agreed by the Council and European Parliament, and is being considered by both institutions urgently.” (UK Transport Minister, by statement last week)

The minister said he laid legislation before Parliament last week to provide for that access. [this will be included in the Brexit Law List, added to Cardinal Environment EHS Legislation Registers and Law Checklists]

HSA Brexit Guide (Ireland Brexit)

From 30th March 2019, the UK will become a “third country”. The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) is the Competent Authority for a range of EU Regulations and Directive in Ireland.

The HSA has now issued a Brexit Overview document – here.

Cardinal Environment will be setting up a Brexit Law List for Ireland EHS Legislation Systems and Checklists, shortly. We will place this and other guidance on that list.

This HSA Brexit Overview reminds :

(1) Products imported from the UK from 30 March 2019 need to be EU compliant.

(2) Irish companies need to know the full supply chain for all their products (for example machinery, chemicals) and how it is linked to the UK or NI, including via distributors.

(3) Unless Irish companies can source their product from another EU supplier, the Irish company may become an EU importer after Brexit, with additional legal responsibility for compliance of the product with EU law. I posted about this recently.

(4) After Brexit, Irish companies will no longer be able to rely on notified bodies based in the UK to undertake 3rd party conformity assessments required under relevant EU law. They will need to source a notified body legally designated to carry out conformity assessments in the EU27.

This applies to Chemicals, Machinery, Transportable Pressure Equipment, and other classes of Industrial Products.

The above also applies in the rest of the EU27, and in the EEA.

Sourcing Products from the UK (Ireland Brexit)

The Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation (Ireland) has (5th Feb) reminded companies in Ireland sourcing products from the UK that they will take additional responsibilities as EU importers after Brexit. Here

In this communication, the Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Pat Breen TD said “Before the UK leaves the EU, it is critical that businesses assess all aspects of their potential exposure. After Brexit, companies in Ireland will no longer be able to rely on UK-based Notified Bodies to undertake third party conformity assessments required under relevant EU law. They will instead need to source an EU-based Notified Body legally designated to carry conformity assessments. A list of Notified Bodies is available on the EU ‘NANDO’ website”.

Irish businesses are also advised that

• Products imported from the UK post-Brexit need to be EU compliant.

• Businesses need to understand the vulnerabilities in their supply chains. They need to know the full supply chain for all their products (machinery, chemicals, etc.) and how it is linked to the UK, including via distributors.

• Irish companies sourcing their product from the UK after Brexit may become an EU importer with additional legal responsibilities for compliance of the product with EU law.

• When UK leaves, UK registrations, authorization or notifications under REACH and CLP will not be valid. This means the role of businesses in Ireland may change from being a downstream user of chemicals to an importer.

The communication references the useful EU issued Q&A for Businesses (industrial products) – here.