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Windsor Framework Summary

Date: 15/03/2023

Key elements of the Windsor Framework

  • Sets out new arrangements for a UK internal market scheme
    • Establishment of a ‘green lane’ for goods shipping from the UK to Northern Ireland that are deemed not at risk of movement into the EU
      • Traders would need to register under a trusted trader scheme – providing detailed information on operations and supply chains to validate that the end consumption of goods will be in the UK and not the EU.
      • For businesses eligible to move goods under the green lane arrangement, full EU customs code (Union Customs Code, UCC) rules will not apply and instead a simplified set of commercial information can be used to move goods.
      • UK will provide the EU with real time data access to its IT system.  This allows the EU to monitor goods moving into NI and to flag any suspicious movements that then can be checked by HMRC where necessary.
    • Red lane and goods 'at risk' of moving into the EU
      • For goods that move from GB into NI for onward movement to the EU, normal EU customs rules will apply
      • Requirement for supplementary declarations, as has been the case since the Protocol became operational in January 2021.
      • These movements will also potentially be subject to EU tariffs where the goods are destined for the EU.
    • The factors that will determine whether goods fall into the ‘at risk’ category under the Windsor Framework will remain as they were under the Protocol but with minor modifications
  • Simplified arrangement for certain agri-food retail products which are moving into NI for final consumption.
    • Goods that can move using the new internal market scheme, or green lane can avail of simplifications around regulatory procedures and checks
      • Use of a general certificate for mixed loads of agri-food goods, which would significantly reduce requirements around export health certificates and other documentation.
      • Identity checks will be significantly reduced
      • UK public health standards will apply for goods moved for end consumption to NI. This will allow certain products such as chilled meats and sausages to move into NI from GB, which was only provided for up to now as part of a grace period
  • Stormont Brake
    • Under the protocol, some EU law applied in Northern Ireland, but politicians had no formal way to influence the rules
    • European Court of Justice continues to be the final arbiter in disputes over these remaining rules
    • Deal introduces a "Stormont brake" which allows the Northern Ireland Assembly to raise an objection to a new goods rule
    • Process would be triggered if 30 MLAs (representatives in the Stormont Assembly) from two or more parties sign a petition
    • 14 day consultation period would follow, after which, if 30 MLAs still support it, there would be a vote in the assembly
    • To pass, it would need support from both unionists and nationalist representatives
  • Cessation of unilateral actions
    • UK Government will no longer proceed with the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill, as the UK and EU have come to a negotiated agreement
    • Similarly, the agreement will mean the EU withdrawing all of the legal actions it has launched against the UK.
  • Approval and implementation
    • Will need to be formally approved in EU and by UK parliament
    • Phased implementation thereafter starting as early at the second half of 2023 but continuing into 2024

What does this mean for Irish Food and Drink manufacturers?

  • No real change in access to Northern Ireland and GB Markets
  • Increased certainty around trading arrangements with UK
  • Reduction in political and trade threats from UK unilateral actions and EU counter measures
  • Paves the way longer term to the UK rollout of its Border Operating model – expected to be announced in 2023 for rollout in 2024 and beyond
  • Potential that some of the simplifications / trusted trader arrangements could be included for consideration as part of this model