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Avoiding a hard border in Northern Ireland in a no deal scenario

by Politicker 0 Comments

The UK Government has set out its approach to avoiding a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland if the UK leaves the EU without a deal on 29 March.

Published: 13 March 2019
Last updated: 14 March 2019



  • Compliance with international legal obligations
  • Protecting the biosecurity of the island of Ireland
  • Avoiding the highest risks to Northern Ireland businesses
  • Where can I find more information?

The unique social, political and economic circumstances of Northern Ireland must be reflected in any arrangements that apply in a no deal scenario.

This government is committed to the Belfast Agreement and to do everything in our power to ensure no return to a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland.

Today we are confirming a strictly unilateral, temporary approach to checks, processes and tariffs in Northern Ireland. This would apply if the UK leaves the EU without a deal on 29 March.

The UK government would not introduce any new checks or controls on goods at the land border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, including no customs requirements for nearly all goods.

The UK temporary import tariff announced today would therefore not apply to goods crossing from Ireland into Northern Ireland.

We would only apply a small number of measures strictly necessary to comply with international legal obligations, protect the biosecurity of the island of Ireland, or to avoid the highest risks to Northern Ireland businesses – but these measures would not require checks at the border.

Because these are unilateral measures, they only mitigate the impacts from exit that are within the UK government’s control. These measures do not set out the position in respect of tariffs or processes to be applied to goods moving from Northern Ireland to Ireland.

Tariffs on imports after EU Exit

The Government is publishing information on essential policies which would need to be in place if the UK were to leave without a deal.

This approach was outlined by the Prime Minister in the House of Commons on 12 March 2019 to ensure MPs are fully informed before the vote on No Deal on 13 March 2019.


The information, aimed towards business, includes the government’s approach to customs duty, which is a tax you pay when importing goods.

The rate of customs duty you pay is known as the ‘tariff’.

If the UK leaves the EU with no deal, you may need to pay different rates of customs duty (tariffs) on imports. These rates would only be applied if the UK were to leave the EU with no deal.

The UK government would set temporary rates which would:

  • apply from 11pm on 29 March 2019
  • be in place for up to 12 months from 29 March 2019

Here is a list of the temporary rates of customs duty (tariffs) on imports after EU Exit.

MFN and tariff quota rates of customs duty on imports if the UK leaves the EU with no deal

Preferential tariff rates
A preferential tariff rate would apply if the country:

  • has a free trade agreement with the UK
  • is part of the Generalised Scheme of Preferences
  • If a preferential tariff rate applies, this is the rate of customs duty (tariff) you would pay.

    Most-favoured-nation (MFN) tariff rates

    If a preferential tariff rate does not apply, this is the rate of customs duty (tariff) you would pay.

    Tariff quota rates (TRQ)

    If a tariff quota rate applies, you could apply to import a limited amount at a reduced rate of customs duty (tariff). You would need to claim for the tariff rate quota using the TRQ order number.

    Implications for business and trade of a no deal exit on 29 March 2019

    by Politicker 0 Comments

    A document was published today that explains the Government’s latest assessment of the implications for business and international trade in the UK, if it leaves the EU without a deal on 29 March.

    The Government’s primary aim is to ensure that the UK leaves the EU on 29 March with a negotiated deal which will honour the result of the referendum. However, as a responsible government, it continues to plan for all eventualities, including one in which the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

    This paper summarises Government activity to prepare for no deal as a contingency plan, and provides an assessment of the implications of a no deal exit for trade and for businesses, given the preparations that have been made.


    Document at

    Implications for Business and Trade of a No Deal Exit on 29 March 2019 (pdf)

    Some interesting excerpts:

    17.Evidence suggests that individual citizens are also not preparing for the effects that they would feel in a no deal scenario. UK citizens travelling to or living in the EU would need to complete a number of administrative tasks to ensure that their interactions with the EU are as unaffected as possible. These range from renewing passports, to applying for a car insurance green card and International Driving Permit to drive in the EU. As of February 2019, despite a public information campaign encouraging the public to seek out the Government’s advice on preparing for a “no deal”, noticeable behaviour change has not been witnessed at any significant scale. Based on DExEU survey data from January 2019, 55% of UK adults did not expect to be affected by a no deal exit.

    despite a public information campaign Has anybody actually seen this ?

    24.When the UK leaves the EU, it will leave the Single Market and the Customs Union, and, in the absence of a trade agreement, the EU will treat the UK as a third country for trade in goods. On exit, this could affect the availability of goods in a number of ways, including customs administration and delays at the border. In the absence of an alternative agreement, UK citizens would be treated as third country nationals by Member States, and potentially be subject to full Schengen checks. This would mean they would no longer be able to use e-gates, and checks to enter EU Member States could take longer than they currently do

    Longer queues at immigration/passport control – although there were always long queues before Brexit.

    29. One of the most visible ways in which the UK would be affected by delays in goods crossing the Channel is our food supply, 30% of which comes from the EU. Although our food supply is diverse, resilient, and sourced from a wide variety of countries, the potential disruption to trade across the Short Channel Crossings would lead to reduced availability and choice of products. This would not lead to an overall shortage of food in the UK, and less than 1 in 10 food items would be directly affected by any delays across the Short Channel Crossings. However, at the time of year we will be leaving the EU, the UK is particularly reliant on the Short Channel Crossings for fresh fruit and vegetables. In the absence of other action from Government, some food prices are likely to increase, and there is a risk that consumer behaviour could exacerbate, or create, shortages in this scenario. As of February 2019, many businesses in the food supply industry are unprepared for a no deal scenario.

    This would not lead to an overall shortage of food in the UK unless the public panic buy …

    48. …UK nationals would still be able to travel to the Schengen Area visa-free, for 90 days in every 180, but would not be able to undertake paid activity during this time…

    EU no-deal Plans for the withdrawal of the UK from the EU

    by Politicker 0 Comments

    A document was published by the EU Commission on 13 November 2018 “Preparing for the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union on 30 March 2019: a Contingency Action Plan“.


    The document was largely overlooked by commentators where their main focus was on the flurry of activity around finalising the Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration.

    Today, 19 December 2018, the EU has published the final version of the original document fomally known as


    Preparing for the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union on 30 March 2019: a Contingency Action Plan


    In addition they have also published a Q&A document

    Questions and Answers: the consequences of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union without a ratified Withdrawal Agreement (no deal Brexit)


    Copies of these documents are also available here



    Points of note

    It appears that these contingency measures will not apply to Gibralatar

    By virtue of Article 355(3) TFEU and to the extent provided for in the 1972 Act of Accession of the United Kingdom to the European Communities, Union law applies to Gibraltar as a European territory for whose external relations a Member State is responsible. Article 355(3) TFEU will no longer apply to Gibraltar when the United Kingdom is no longer a Member State. As a consequence, contingency measures will not apply to Gibraltar.

    Does the EU intend to close their border with Gibraltar?

    No visa requirements for UK citizens visiting EU countries (for up to 90 days in a 180 day period)

    For short stays (up to 90 days in a 180 day-period) the Commission has adopted a proposal for a Regulation13 which exempts UK nationals from visa requirements, provided that all Union citizens are equally exempted from UK visa requirements.

    Proposals to avoid full interruption of air traffic to and from the UK

    A proposal for a Regulation to ensure temporarily, for 12 months, the provision of certain air services between the United Kingdom and the EU27 Member States, allowing air carriers from the United Kingdom to fly across the territory of the Union without landing, make stops in the territory of the Union for non-traffic purposes, and perform scheduled and non-scheduled international passenger and cargo air transport services. This is subject to the United Kingdom conferring equivalent rights to air from the Union, as well as to the United Kingdom ensuring conditions of fair competition.

    A proposal for a Regulation regarding aviation safety to extend temporarily, for 9 months, the validity of certain existing licences, to address the specific situation in the aviation safety sector where the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) can only issue certain certificates on the basis of a licence issued in a third country, while the United Kingdom can only issue licences as of the withdrawal date, when it has re-gained the status of “State of design”.

    Further details can be found in the referenced document.