More clarification needed on quality control checks in the event of a no-deal

Mar 14, 2019

While the UK government’s temporary proposals for a no-deal Brexit comprehensively cover tariffs, little is said about regulation or quality assurance checks on goods going into the UK.  In a press release issued this week, Director of Public Policy and Taxation at Chartered Accountants Ireland, Brian Keegan said:  “More clarification is needed about how, for example, foodstuffs are going to be regulated for quality control purposes. The tariff regime announced doesn’t deal with the question of how the UK will manage the regulation and quality control of food coming into the UK market.”

On the proposals for Northern Ireland, Mr Keegan said: “The open border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland is very welcome from a supply chain perspective. However, though the proposals suggest no tariffs and very limited checks on trade from Ireland into Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, as part of the EU, will have to fulfil its obligations under the Union Customs Code. This could involve quality assurance checks and even tariffs on goods going into the Republic of Ireland from Northern Ireland under this scenario. This will potentially put traders in Northern Ireland at a competitive disadvantage to traders in the Republic of Ireland and give rise to a confusing arrangement for cross-border exporters particularly those with integrated cross-border supply chains.”

Many of the products that Ireland exports to Great Britain would become more expensive under temporary tariff proposals. Metals, chemicals, textiles, footwear and machinery are all included in the schedules.

“While the tariffs proposed by the UK in the event of no-deal will apply across the board to all imports into the UK, they are likely to hit Irish exporters the hardest because many of them start from a higher cost-base than suppliers coming from locations such as South America. Tariffs on agri-food under the proposals could be up to 60 percent of the EU’s Most Favoured Nation rate. These additional costs will severely impact Irish exporters who could see their competitiveness severely impacted. ” said Mr Keegan.

Cróna Clohisey spoke about the impact of the UK’s proposed tariff regime on Newstalk’s Breakfast Business with Vincent Wall yesterday morning (listen at 13:30).