Get ready for the NI Windsor Agreement processes

The Windsor Framework was agreed in February to ease post-Brexit trade between Northern Ireland (NI) and the rest of the UK, but concerns remain about a continuing lack of clarity over the details of the Windsor Framework – which begins to come into force from the 1st October.

Prior to the Windsor agreement the process for movements to NI is under the TSS (Trader Support Scheme) with shippers submitting a simplified declaration, under the UK Trader Scheme (UKTS). 

However, this only complied with the Safety and Security declarations required by the Ferry operators and a second supplementary declaration is made in NI, with commodity code, value of goods, and additional information statements specific to goods.

Most critically of all a percentage calculation of goods “at risk of moving to the South” are applied and duty invoiced to the Consignee for potential sales not actual.

As a result of the Windsor Framework, the Government is able to introduce a scheme to reimburse the payment of EU customs duties paid on goods moved into NI that were not sold or used in the EU – The Customs (Northern Ireland: Repayment And Remission) (Eu Exit) (Amendment) Regulations 2023.

The agreement establishes a new UK Internal Market Scheme (UKIMS) for the movement of goods from the UK to NI and is being phased in from 30th September. 

The existing UKTS will be replaced by the new UK Internal Market Scheme (UKIMS) with effect from 30th September 2023. This will enable businesses established in Great Britain to join and declare goods “not at risk” if they are brought into Northern Ireland for sale or final use by end consumers in the UK.

Traders who join UKIMS will be able to declare their goods as ‘not at risk’ which means they will not be charged duty if entering NI from free circulation in Great Britain. They will, however, be charged UK duty if entering Northern Ireland from outside the EU and the UK, or if the goods were not in free circulation in GB.

Green Lane

The ‘Green Lane’ will significantly expand the range of businesses who can benefit; end the requirement for traders to provide customs commodity codes; scrap supplementary declarations; and ensure that businesses can move their goods using commercial information.

It is worth noting that both lanes are ‘virtual’ and no physical lanes, or markings exist.

Regulatory easements in the green lane do not exist for all types of goods. The focus is on those goods with the most onerous SPS compliance obligations, including pre-packaged products of animal or plant origin, food and food products.

Meat and fresh dairy products are to be labelled ‘Not for EU’ from October 2023, all other dairy products from October 2024, and composite products, fruit, vegetables and fish from July 2025.

Traders will need to be registered on the Northern Ireland Retail Movement Scheme (NIRMS) for SPS goods and the UK Internal Market Scheme (UKIMS) for general goods. 

For goods moving on or after 30th September 2023, the UK Trader Scheme authorisation will no longer be valid and traders must use the UK Internal Market Scheme (UKIMS) authorisation to declare your goods ‘not at risk’ of entering the EU, if the applicable EU duty is greater than zero.

Green Lane Process
Trader uses commercial info and submits to TSS
Haulier obtains GMR
Goods are moved

Red Lane
Goods not for final consumption in Northern Ireland must go through a red lane
‘At risk’ goods will be charged the applicable EU duty

Red Lane Process
Haulier completed Entry Summary Declaration (ENS)
Simplified Frontier Declaration (SFD)
Haulier obtains GMR
Goods are moved
Supplementary declaration
Pay duty

Key dates
June 2023 – Traders can register for UKIMS
September 2023 – UKIMS must be used for no duty to be applied (Green Lane)
October 2023 – STANMI replaced by NI Retail Movement Scheme (NIRMS)
September 2024 – Full Green Lane implemented

A number of questions remain outstanding including…
– Who will run the Trusted Trader Scheme and what are the costs involved?
– How long will the government fund the TSS – the Trader Support Service (03 10 23 – HMRC confirm extension 31 12 24)
– How will the red and green lanes work in practice, especially where groupage loads are concerned?

At the moment it appears that trailers containing a mix of cargoes eligible for the green lane, will need to go through the red lane, even if just one consignment entering NI is in the red lane.

Retailers, especially the supermarkets, are likely to be the largest users of the Green Lane; while manufacturers in Northern Ireland appear more likely to use the red lane, so that goods can be shown to comply with applicable EU law and so be processed and sold on within the EU market.

HMRC UPDATE, 3rd OCTOBER 2023 – HMRC has confirmed the extension of the Trader Support Service until 31 December 2024, as a free to use service, educating traders on applicable processes and supporting them to submit customs and safety and security declarations.

We will continue to share information on the new framework and processes as they become available.

Our customs team are working directly with affected clients, to ensure that they are prepared and compliant with new customs processes, declarations and requirements.

If you have any questions or concerns about the Windsor Agreement and trade with NI/IE please EMAIL Andy Fitchett, Brokerage Manager, who will be happy to review your situation.