The devil is in the detail for the proposed new EU-UK deal on NI and how this will really impact certain sectors of the NI economy, say leading tax advisors Blick Rothenberg.
Simon Sutcliffe, a partner at Blick Rothenburg said: “First and foremost, the checks, non-tariff barriers and customs requirements on processed food products, meat, fish and live animals SPS and products subject to veterinary checks and so called SPS requirements, must be addressed as a priority.
“The complexity and huge costs to traders to meet these requirements has a major impact of goods’ availability and cost. However, the focus still seems to be on issue such as the influence of EU law and the ECJ on the province. In this new deal the concerns and needs of business and customers’ needs to come front and centre.”
He added: “The deal should also ensure safeguards to prevent fraud and smuggling between the EU and GB. Already, we are seeing moves by individuals forming companies or taking control of companies in NI to allow them to use the province to manipulate the current and future declaration process. At the moment traders must state whether goods are ‘at risk’ and ‘not at risk’ of moving to the Republic of Ireland and hence the EU. The incentive for this – bypassing the customs requirements – is when their goods do not meet the EU-UK Trade agreement’s rules of origin and hence attract a payment of customs duty. Hence, if the goods look like they are destined for the NI market but then are moved onwards then this is an advantageous position for those inclined to avoid paying duty in either customs union.”
Simon said: “Using NI companies as a staging post to subsequently illegally springboard goods (on which duty is charged) into the EU and GB, disguising the fact of which final market they were actually meant to be sold within is a real and emerging threat to ensuring that the correct duty is charged.”
He added: “On a positive note, once the deal is in place further negotiations can place between the UK and EU on sector specific areas of the whole UK economy and achieve some real benefits for both sides.”
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