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Dairy Products: Northern Ireland

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN HL9540, tabled on 26 October 2020

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of changes to the sale of Northern Ireland dairy milk products in (1) Great Britain, (2) the EU, (3) nations with which the UK has a trade agreement, and (4) nations with which the EU but not the UK has a trade agreement, that will take effect after 31 December.

Answered on

9 November 2020

The UK Government has guaranteed in legislation, via the Internal Market Bill, unfettered access for Northern Ireland's businesses to the rest of the UK internal market from 1 January 2021, ensuring that trade from Northern Ireland to Great Britain continues as it does now. That will mean no declarations, tariffs, new regulatory checks or customs checks, or additional approvals for goods from Northern Ireland businesses to be placed on the UK market. The UK Government has also laid a Statutory Instrument, ensuring a continuity of arrangements for goods from Northern Ireland moving directly into Great Britain from 1 January 2021. This will be available only to Northern Ireland businesses.

There will be no change to the movement of goods between Northern Ireland and EU Member States, including Ireland. The EU is obliged under Article 5 of the Northern Ireland Protocol (NIP) to guarantee tariff free, frictionless access to the Single Market in any scenario from 31 December 2020.

The NIP ensures that Northern Ireland remains in the UK's customs territory. We will negotiate and deliver trade deals on behalf of the whole United Kingdom. Northern Ireland exporters will therefore enjoy the preferential access we negotiate with trading partners around the world.

As part of the UK's customs territory, after 31 December 2020, Northern Irish producers will no longer be able to access preferential trading arrangements under the EU's free trade agreements. As part of the UK's ability to pursue an independent trade policy, the UK Government has, in under two years, agreed trade agreements with 51 countries that have agreements with the EU. Total UK trade with these countries was worth £144 billion in 2019.