Delays and bureaucracy in goods shipped between the UK and Northern Ireland (NI) will increase significantly after the failure of an important meeting between the UK and the EU, says home delivery expert ParcelHero.
At a UK-EU Joint Committee meeting on Wednesday, the grace period for the introduction of new bureaucracy and tariffs on parcels and groceries, which ends on April 1st, could not be extended. The British government had requested that the delay be extended until 2023.
David Jinks MILT, Director of Consumer Research at ParcelHero, said, “If the new regulations are rolled out in a month’s time, the impact on Northern Ireland parcel delivery and supermarket groceries will be significant.
A customs declaration waiver for packages sent from the UK to Northern Ireland will expire on March 31st. This is followed by certification requirements for supermarket goods that are ramped up. Last week ParcelHero urged the government to do everything in their power to renegotiate these deadlines with the EU. On Wednesday, however, talks to postpone these draconian measures ended without an agreement. Unless there is a last minute deal, this is extremely bad news for NI citizens as well as anyone sending packages to Northern Ireland.
‘Packages sent from the UK to Northern Ireland valued at over £ 135 will endure the ongoing chaos that has hit UK-EU shipments since the beginning of the year. Customs declarations are required for all such packages, which is frankly ridiculous considering it is a domestic shipment from the UK. If there is no evidence that goods originated in the UK, these items will face significant new duties.
‘When the Brexit deal was finalized on Christmas Eve, it was hailed as a free trade agreement. The reality has proven to be very different. These new measures will introduce new bureaucracy and fees in the UK itself and between the UK and the EU. No Brexit voter could have imagined this result.
“Already, Northern Irish companies importing over £ 135 worth of goods have faced the bureaucracy of joining the UK trading system, which shows that their goods cannot be shipped across the Irish border into the EU. Only then can your “imports” from Great Britain still be duty-free.
‘In addition to the new tariffs, the delays will worsen since the beginning of the year. For some companies this is already becoming unbearable. According to the State Bureau of National Statistics, 44% of retailers and wholesalers said the volume of goods they shipped to Northern Ireland decreased significantly in the two weeks from January 25th to February 7th compared to the previous fortnight is. 31.5% of manufacturers said their export volumes to Northern Ireland decreased during the reporting period. Of all companies that had sent or planned to send goods from the UK to Northern Ireland in the past two weeks, 38% said they were sending fewer goods.
A joint statement issued after the meeting mentioned a “new operational plan for supermarkets and their suppliers”. We sincerely hope that this new plan can somehow reflect the current regulations, although the hassle-free adjustment of the upcoming changes is clearly the most effective solution.
“It’s not like these problems are unpredictable. As early as 2016, our pre-referendum report “Delivering Brexit: The Real Costs of Exiting the EU” predicted that SMEs would incur Brexit costs of around GBP 163,000 and a typical purchase price increase of 30% in the first year in the EU with components outside Europe.