Revenue Update: 6 months post-Brexit
Today (1/7/2021), 6 months on from the UK’s departure from the EU, Revenue provided key information and insights into the very different trading environment between Ireland and Great Britain.
Commenting on the extent of the changes Brexit has brought about, Revenue Commissioner and Director General of Customs, Mr Gerry Harrahill, said:
“The significant and permanent change in trading arrangements with Great Britain since 1 January last represents the biggest challenge for trade and business in Ireland in almost 30 years, since the creation of the EU Single Market. Customs formalities and other regulatory requirements and checks now apply to goods moving to, from and through Great Britain. These checks form part of Ireland’s responsibility as a member of the EU to maintain the integrity of the Single Market and the Customs Union. In practical terms this means that goods simply cannot seamlessly move from Great Britain to Ireland as they did when the UK was a member of the EU.”
Mr Harrahill acknowledged that businesses have made enormous progress in adapting to the new requirements in the last 6 months, with many now successfully trading with or through Great Britain or changing their supply chains or supply routes so as to eliminate the need for compliance with customs and other regulatory formalities.
“There have been over 186,500 freight vehicle movements into Ireland from Great Britain via Dublin Port and Rosslare Europort since 1 January 2021. 84% were green routed on arrival meaning they passed freely through the relevant port without the need for any additional interaction with Revenue or any other State agency. 12% were orange routed meaning the goods needed a documentary check or similar control and 4% were red routed meaning there was a requirement for a physical examination or inspection of the goods. It’s important to note that certain goods requiring a check does not necessarily equate to non-compliance with the new formalities. Mandatory checks for certain types of goods are now simply a reality of trading with Great Britain.”
Building on the significant engagement with businesses in the lead up to 1 January 2021, over the past 6 months Revenue has continued to engage with and support businesses, large and small, in overcoming the challenges and adapting to the new requirements arising as a result of Brexit. In addition to regular stakeholder meetings with ferry operators, hauliers and the Retail Forum, Revenue has participated in 36 trade webinar events since the start of January, providing key information and practical advice to over 6,600 attendees. The majority of these sessions were recorded and are available for further viewing through the relevant trade body website. Revenue has also engaged one-to-one with impacted businesses on an on-going basis.
Commenting on the benefits of positive engagement and collaboration with businesses, Mr Harrahill said:
“The valuable insights we have gained from our intensive engagement with businesses and trade representative bodies has enabled Revenue and the other State agencies including the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and the Health Service Executive to streamline processes and improve our services with, for example, several enhancements to the Customs RoRo service already delivered. These enhancements individually and collectively serve to further cement the cohesive approach between State agencies, provide increased visibility of critically relevant information to all parties in the supply chain and automates key messages to hauliers and ferry operators. While it is not and will not be possible to eliminate the operation of formalities and checks, the enhancements have minimised, in so far as possible, some of the challenges first faced in January last.”
While many businesses have made enormous progress in adapting to the new requirements in the last six months, Revenue is aware that some businesses continue to be challenged in adapting to the need to comply with customs and other regulatory formalities. To further assist these businesses, Revenue along with colleagues in the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) and the Health Service Executive (HSE) will hold a webinar on Wednesday 7 July 2021. This information session will seek to ensure a full understanding of the operation of customs controls and other formalities, provide an overview of the most common challenges experienced by businesses since 1 January and provide advice on the practical steps businesses can take to manage these challenges while at the same time complying with the necessary requirements when trading with or through Great Britain.
Mr Harrahill encouraged businesses trading or who are thinking of trading with Great Britain to attend the webinar:
“Over the last six months, all the stakeholders including the State agencies have experienced the practical and everyday challenges brought about by the UK’s departure from the EU. We are using this webinar as a forum for sharing these experiences, to outline how things like ensuring your supply chain operates and functions as an integrated whole can minimise potential delays. We will also use this opportunity to remind businesses of the different reliefs, measures and facilities available to assist them in managing and, in some cases mitigating, the financial implications now associated with trading with Great Britain. These are valuable insights that can assist any business in operating effectively in a more complicated and perhaps still unfamiliar trading environment. Information on how businesses can register for this event will be available shortly on the Revenue website.”
Finally, businesses are reminded that Revenue’s Customs helpline can be contacted on a 24/7 basis on 01 7383685. Additionally, a range of Government supports are available, including training and grants, to help businesses deal with these changes. More information on the supports available can be found on the Government website.