The Northern Ireland Protocol, part of the Brexit withdrawal agreement, primarily addresses the trade relationship between Northern Ireland and Great Britain while preserving an open border on the island of Ireland – maintaining Northern Ireland as part of the EU single market for goods and, importantly, the UK. However, it can also benefit EU businesses seeking to trade with Great Britain. Here’s how the Protocol can be beneficial for EU businesses:
1: Access to the UK Market via Northern Ireland:
EU businesses can use Northern Ireland as a “backdoor” to access the UK market, as goods can move freely from Northern Ireland to Great Britain without customs duties or taxes payable on this movement. Therefore, EU products can enter GB via Northern Ireland without the same customs checks and tariffs that apply to goods transiting directly from the EU to GB.
2: Reduced Customs and Regulatory Barriers:
For goods intended for Northern Ireland, EU businesses face fewer customs and regulatory barriers compared to goods from the EU to GB. The Northern Ireland Protocol allows for the free movement of goods between Northern Ireland and the EU, like before Brexit, enabling EU businesses to streamline their trade operations.
3: Supply Chain Integrity:
EU businesses with supply chains that involve both the EU and the UK can utilize the Protocol to maintain the integrity of their supply chains and reduce disruptions when trading with Great Britain, thus increasing competitiveness.
4: Access to the UK via Irish Land Bridge:
The Republic of Ireland, as an EU member state, maintains an open land border with Northern Ireland. EU businesses can also use the Irish land bridge to transport goods from the Republic of Ireland into the UK via Northern Ireland, taking advantage of the Protocol’s provisions.
5: Market Presence in Northern Ireland:
EU businesses can establish a presence in Northern Ireland, formally via creating a company using Companies House and/or using a fulfilment company like SJ Henderson Fulfilment – benefiting from the Protocol’s provisions for trade between Northern Ireland and the EU. This allows them to access the local market and use Northern Ireland as a base for trade with Great Britain.
The Northern Ireland Protocol is a unique arrangement to balance the interests of all parties while preventing a hard border on the island of Ireland. Businesses from the EU and Great Britain can easily use companies like SJ Henderson Fulfilment in Northern Ireland to warehouse and move their goods and navigate the new trade landscape effectively, making the most of this new opportunity.