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Q14: There is an intention to make shipments from NI to GB report to GVMS. What is the legal basis for this and how is that 'unfettered'?
A: We have delivered our commitment to introduce phase 1 of unfettered access for Northern Ireland business at the beginning of this year. The first phase of the regime applies to all goods in free circulation in Northern Ireland.
Our key priority for phase 1 was to avoid disruption and ensuring the maximum continuity from the end of the Transition Period for businesses in Northern Ireland. This reflects the broader approach we are taking this year for GB to EU trade.
For phase 2 of unfettered access we have listened to concerns in Northern Ireland that this definition should be tightly drawn so that only genuine Northern Ireland businesses benefit from unfettered access. That is why we will bring in a long-term regime which focuses its benefits on those businesses established in Northern Ireland.
We will implement a light-touch identification scheme for 'qualifying' traders who will be eligible to move goods under unfettered access.
This will ensure that goods moved by an NI qualifying trader will continue to be treated like domestic movements, whilst goods coming from the EU or Rest of World to GB via NI will be regarded as imports and be subject to customs controls, including for example import and ENS declarations.
Q13: How quickly will the Specialised Committees get to work? We have some immediate practical problems in fisheries as a consequence of the TCA deal on quota shares, and this needs to be an urgent priority for the SC on fisheries.
A: The UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement provides for a number of Specialised Committees which sit underneath the Partnership Council. The Specialist Committee of Fisheries will provide a forum for discussion and operation in relation to sustainable fisheries management . These include, but are not limited to:cooperation ahead of annual fisheries consultations, multi-year strategies, data-sharing and monitoring and compliance. Now that the TCA has been ratified, work is ongoing to agree the date and agenda for the first meetings of each committee with the EU.
Q12: Will unfettered access remain between NI & GB?
A: The UK Government has been and remains unequivocal for unfettered access for Northern Ireland goods moving to the rest of the UK market. This has been guaranteed in legislation.
Q11: How likely are future TCA amendments to better align rules on technical things like international catering waste and animal and plant health controls? If possible when might this take place especially given the likely problems in 2022 when import controls are enforced in the UK?
A: The Partnership Council is able to amend some parts of the agreement by mutual agreement, including parts of the chapters and annexes. The TCA also obliges parties to regularly review their SPS measures to ensure these do not create unnecessary barriers to trade, and the SPS Specialised Committee will provide a forum via which we can agree to further SPS measures and related border controls to reduce barriers to trade without compromising biosecurity. We are discussing the EU on the date and agenda for the first meeting. We are also engaging the EU and Member States ahead of the introduction of import border controls next year to ensure the changes are understood.
Q10: How quickly can Government look to implement the easements agree in the TCA such as EHC simplification or creating a single window for border processes?
A: The Government is committed to developing the UK Single Trade Window which is in the 2025 Border Strategy. The UK Single Trade Window will create a single digital front door for the border for traders. It will allow them to submit data and documentation once through a single portal (either digitally through their existing customs software or potentially through a user interface on GOV.UK). It will remove the need to submit data multiple times and will provide traders with a single release message from the Government. It will not replace existing border systems but will instead sit on top of them creating a single entry point for data that will then be shared across the relevant systems automatically. The first of the features for the UK Single Trade Window is currently in beta testing with industry.
Q9: Is there any progress with BCP construction in Kent?
A: The full list of BCPs can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-border-control-posts-animal-and-animal-product-imports/live-animals-animal-products-and-food-and-feed-of-non-animal-origin-border-control-posts-bcp-in-the-uk
The Port of Dover BCP can be found at Dover Cargo Terminal (deep sea terminal), Dover Cargo Terminal (Western Docks), Union Street, Dover, Kent, CT17 9FJ
Q8: Do you support a shift of emphasis on Border 2025, to move away from businesses submitting information to government harvesting it?
A: The 2025 Border Strategy outlines the Government's ambition to develop a Single Trade Window that will streamline stakeolder interactions with border agencies and enhance the data sharing between border agencies. The Single Trade Window will create a single border data portal that minimises the need for businesses and their intermediaries to submit information and improve the use of data within Government.
Q7: The new arrangements for import control that Local Authorities are being asked to manage transfer a significant financial risk to them. Whilst DEFRA have underwritten the risk for the first year, the delay in implementation has lengthened the duration of the risk. Will Government underwrite that risk to Local Authorities for the first 3 years of operations?
Q6: E-Commerce and the implementation of the VAT reform as of 1 July 2021 will put a set of challenges to UK E Commerce, what initiatives are taken to guide UK exporters in that perspective? Are specific talks on going with regards to NI and VAT reform which needs to be according UCC rules?
A: The EU's e-Commerce reforms will be introduced on 1 July and affect the movement of goods between Northern Ireland and the EU and imports of low value into the EU or Northern Ireland. The reforms will also introduce new rules for supplies made through online market places, which is similar to the rules introduced in the UK from 1 January that already apply in Great Britain and partly in Northern Ireland.
In Northern Ireland, the existing individual EU distance selling threshold set by each Member State will be replaced with a single EU wide distance selling threshold of £8,818 (10,000 EUR). This threshold applies to supplies of goods and certain electronically supplied services. However, as the Northern Ireland Protocol only applies to goods, the UK's implementation will only apply to supplies of goods in respect of Northern Ireland. This means businesses selling B2C goods from Northern Ireland to the EU and from the EU to Northern Ireland above the distance selling threshold will be affected by the new rules.
The changes also apply to imports of (non-excise) goods into the EU and Northern Ireland in consignments not exceeding an intrinsic value of £135 (150 EUR) and online market places that facilitate these supplies. The UK implemented similar requirements related to imports into Northern Ireland from outside the UK and the EU on 1 January 2021.
To ease burdens on businesses, two new online schemes will be introduced to simplify accounting for and paying for VAT in each Member State where businesses have customers; the One Stop Scheme (OSS) can be used to account for VAT on the supply of goods to customers between EU Member States and NI on a single quarterly OSS return with one payment; and the Import One Stop Scheme (IOSS) can be used to acount for import. VAT on the supply of non-excise goods to customers across the EU on a single monthly IOSS return with one payment. Both of these schemes are optional. The UK will be taking a phased approach to the introduction of these online schemes. HMRC has published guidance on how this will apply in NI on 13 May which can be found here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/eu-e-commerce-package/eu-vat-e-commerce-package EU guidance on the e-commerce reforms can be found here https://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/business/vat/vat-e-commerce_en
The UK is implementing the EU's e-Commerce reforms in Norhtern Ireland in accordance with the UK obligations under the Northern Ireland Protocol, where EU VAT rules with respect to goods continue to apply.
Q5: Do you anticipate any change to the current deadline of 30.06.21 regarding EUSS?
A: The deadline for applying to the EU Settlement Scheme is 30th June 2021 and this will not be extended. Individuals must usually have started living in the UK by 31 December 2020. The deadlines however are different in some situations, for example if: the individual is applying to join a close family member, the individual is a family member of a British citizen ('Surinder Singh' applications) or the individual is no longer exempt from immigration control. The status an individual gets may depend on when they apply. Late applications will be accepted where there are reasonable grounds for the failure to meet the deadline. Further detail can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families