The Northern Ireland Protocol, which is part of the Brexit withdrawal agreement, was designed to address the complex issue of how to manage the border between Northern Ireland (part of the United Kingdom) and the Republic of Ireland (an EU member state) following the UK’s departure from the European Union. While the Protocol (now replaced with the new Windsor Framework) has been a subject of debate and controversy, there are several reasons why it can be seen as beneficial for businesses in the Republic of Ireland:
Maintains the Single Market: The Windsor Framework/Protocol keeps Northern Ireland within the EU’s Single Market for goods. This means parcels and pallets can flow freely between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland without customs checks or tariffs. For businesses in the Republic, this preserves a vital trading relationship with Northern Ireland, a significant Irish export market.
Access to Great Britain: Further to the above, and more interestingly, Republic of Ireland businesses can move stock to a warehouse in Northern Ireland through companies like SJ Henderson Fulfilment. Then, when the Republic of Ireland business sells goods to a GB-based customer, SJ Henderson Fulfilment can ship those goods to GB without any customs or tariffs applied – providing unfettered access. Customs tariffs would apply if that company were to hold stock in the Republic of Ireland instead and move the goods to GB.
Avoidance of a Hard Border: One of the main concerns during the Brexit negotiations was the potential re-emergence of a hard border on the island of Ireland, which could disrupt trade and create economic uncertainty. The Protocol helps to avoid this by keeping regulatory alignment between Northern Ireland and the EU, preventing the need for physical border infrastructure.
Supply Chain Integration: Many businesses in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland have integrated supply chains. The Protocol helps maintain the integrity of these supply chains by ensuring that goods can move freely between the two regions, reducing disruptions and costs.
While the Windsor Framework/Northern Ireland Protocol is presented to have its challenges and complexities, it was negotiated to preserve peace, stability, and economic ties on the island of Ireland, bringing with it a new landscape where businesses can thrive and rise above their competition who do not wish to labour to find a post-Brexit solution.
The Framework/Protocol has enabled our land to enter a new era of harmony and prosperity – cementing meaningful trade relationships whilst facilitating easy access to Great Britain as a market through Northern Ireland companies like SJ Henderson Fulfilment.