The British government will not introduce new checks or controls on its side of the border in the event of a No Deal, it has confirmed.
The government today set out its ‘strictly temporary’ approach to avoiding a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland if the UK leaves the EU without a deal on March 29.
They said that this can only be a temporary measure due to challenges and risks for ‘maintaining control of our borders, monitoring the flow of goods into the UK, and the challenge posed by organised criminals seeking to exploit any new system’.
Ministers said that the unique social, political and economic circumstances of Northern Ireland must be reflected in any arrangements that apply in a no deal scenario.
In a statement they said: “Today we are confirming a strictly unilateral, temporary approach to checks, processes and tariffs in Northern Ireland. This would apply if the UK leaves the EU without a deal on 29 March.
“The UK government would not introduce any new checks or controls on goods at the land border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, including no customs requirements for nearly all goods.”
A UK temporary import tariff announced today would therefore not apply to goods crossing from Ireland into Northern Ireland.
“We would only apply a small number of measures strictly necessary to comply with international legal obligations, protect the biosecurity of the island of Ireland, or to avoid the highest risks to Northern Ireland businesses - but these measures would not require checks at the border.”
The UK government cautioned that because these were unilateral actions, it could not influence what would happen on the southern side of the border.
“These measures do not set out the position in respect of tariffs or processes to be applied to goods moving from Northern Ireland to Ireland,” they said.
The British government remains of the view that a “negotiated settlement” is the only means of sustainably guaranteeing no hard border and protecting businesses in Northern Ireland.
“This is why we are, first and foremost, still committed to leaving the EU with a deal. In a no deal scenario, the UK government is committed to entering into discussions urgently with the European Commission and the Irish Government to jointly agree long-term measures to avoid a hard border.”