According to a recent National Audit Office (NAO) report more is needed to implement import controls, relieve pressure on traders, and resolve the uncertainty in Northern Ireland.
The study found that while the majority of the systems, infrastructure, and resources required for import controls affecting traders and hauliers were on schedule for the new date in January 2022, there were several areas where delivery was compromised and departments may have had to deploy contingency plans. The decision to postpone import controls has alleviated some of the immediate strain on traders and hauliers, but there is still a major risk that they will be unprepared for full import controls.
The Northern Ireland Protocol’s future arrangements remain uncertain, since the UK government proposed a new plan for implementing the Protocol in July 2021, and the EU responded with its own recommendations in October 2021. The UK and the EU are presently in negotiations.
Gareth Davies, the Head of NAO, stated: “We recognise the significant achievement of government, departments and third parties in delivering the initial operating capability needed at the border for the end of the transition period.” “However, this was done in part by using interim measures and by delaying the introduction of full import controls.
“Much more work is needed to put in place a model for the border that reduces the risk of non-compliance with international trading rules, does not require any temporary fixes, and is less complicated and burdensome for border users.”
The report can be found at: https://www.nao.org.uk/report/the-uk-border-post-uk-eu-transition-period/