UK proposes new Irish Sea food product checks from October

In a new Brexit proposal, the UK is suggesting to phase in new Irish Sea border checks on food products in four stages from October.  All details are contained in a Northern Ireland Protocol roadmap shared with the EU. The protocol is the part of the Brexit deal which creates a trade border between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

In March, the UK delayed introducing some new border processes without EU agreement. That resulted in the EU starting legal proceedings against the UK. The UK sent the roadmap to the EU, which sets out how the two sides should work together to implement the protocol. It has formed a starting point for ongoing technical talks between officials.

This weekend, the UK's chief negotiator, Lord Frost, urged the EU to rapidly "find a new approach and new solutions". The UK roadmap document covers more than 20 separate issues including medicines, access to databases, pet travel and the VAT treatment of second-hand cars.

If the UK's scheme for sending supermarket goods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland is going to be phased in during 2021 and 2022 (and possibly 2023), then the UK will probably have to ask the EU for another extension to the grace period before European laws will be fully respected, which won't go down well in Brussels.

The BBC reports that the movement of food products from Great Britain to Northern Ireland has been the biggest practical challenge of the sea border. Northern Ireland has remained a part of the EU's single market for goods while the rest of the UK has left. That means food products entering Northern Ireland from Great Britain need to be professionally certified and are subject to new checks and controls at ports.

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