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The deal puts N. Ireland in a uniquely advantageous position with access to both the British and Single markets regardless of whether an EU/UK FTA is ever agreed - but the DUP are too thick to realize that.

And yes, some "miss-documentation" aka "smuggling" may also eventuate, but under the deal it will be the British who will be "policing" the "Border down the Irish sea" in accordance with Single Market rules.

If they want to give EU goods free, un-policed, access to the British market via N. Ireland, that is their business. I doubt the EU would object.  So Boris may even be right that N. Ireland firms will not have fill out customs declarations to "export" to Britain.

But no way will the EU grant GB goods the same privileged access to the Single Market. Therefore there will need to be effective border controls for goods passing from GB to N. I. intended for the Single Market - aka the Republic.

What I can't figure out is what is to prevent GB exports "exporting" control free to N. Ireland, and then for those same goods to be sent across the Irish border invoiced as N. Ireland "exports".

Given that N. Ireland is supposed to maintain "regulatory alignment" with the Single Market, those goods will have to comply with EU standards - policed at the border "down the Irish sea".

The problem may not be so much "chlorinated chickens" bypassing controls, but EU regulation compliant chickens evading any tariffs due by being invoiced first to N. Ireland customers, and then re-invoiced as N. Ireland produce for the Single Market.

In theory, customs "rules of origin" should apply, but who will police them if there is no border within Ireland? Probably some "intelligence led" spot checks at Irish air and sea ports where "unusual trading patterns" have been observed. After all there are only so many "chickens" N. Ireland producers can produce.

The same problem could also apply in reverse. What is to prevent EU goods arriving in N. Ireland via the un-policed Irish land border and being re-invoiced as N. Ireland goods and "exported" control free to the UK?

How long, in the absence of reciprocal agreements, will GB be happy to allow EU goods such privileged access to the GB market via a N. I. "loophole"?

Probably only for so long as the amounts involved are immaterial in the larger scheme of things. Ultimately some kind of "trusted trader" scheme will have to be introduced to enforce rules of origin and prevent N. Ireland becoming a new smugglers "silk road".

But for bona fide N. Ireland producers, access to both markets could put them in a uniquely privileged position, especially in the absence of a comprehensive UK/EU FTA.

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Nov 13th, 2019 at 10:59:03 AM EST
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