Brexit: Northern Ireland Protocol

At the end of the transition period, the Northern Ireland Protocol (the Protocol) will take effect. The Protocol is a practical solution to avoid a hard border on the island whilst ensuring the UK, including Northern Ireland, leaves the EU. Small firms are advised to familiarise themselves with how Northern Ireland trade will change after the transition period.


Great Britain to Northern Ireland 

Goods will be subject to new declarations, and may be subject to duties if considered ‘at risk’ of moving to the EU (including Ireland). 

Northern Ireland to 
Great Britain 

Moving goods should take place as it does now, with no additional process, paperwork, or restrictions – except in extremely limited circumstances to take account of international obligations or duty suspension. 

Northern Ireland to and from Ireland 

Trade in goods will continue unaffected, with no change at the border, new paperwork, tariffs, or regulatory checks. 

Northern Ireland to and from the Rest of the World 

Trading will continue broadly as it does today. Northern Ireland will benefit from future UK Free Trade Agreements, and the UK tariff regime1 will apply to imports – unless goods are considered ‘at risk’ of moving to the EU.  

Transit routes 

Goods will be subject to specified processes. Transit can be used to move goods from GB to Northern Ireland via Ireland. Transit declarations would apply, and some traders would need to use sealed trucks.  




The UK Government has established the free-to-use Trader Support Service to support businesses, from both sides of the border, with the changes to Northern Ireland trade which take effect on 1 January 2021. The free-to-use service will provide guidance and training, a digital service to support declarations, and support from customs experts.


You may want to sign up for the free Trader Support Service which:

  • will help if you move goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, or bring goods into Northern  Ireland from outside the UK
  • is free to use and will guide you through any changes to the way goods move between Great Britain and Northern Ireland
  • can complete declarations on your behalf

It can help if you:

  • are moving the goods yourself
  • act on behalf of someone
  • send parcels between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, or bring parcels into Northern Ireland from outside the UK

Trader Support Service will not

  • Provide a personalised advisory service to individual traders typically offered by customs brokerages
  • Replace services offered by an existing intermediary market
  • Raise non-standard documentation e.g., health certificates and cover other licenses

Visit here for more information.

To learn more about the UK’s approach to the Northern Ireland Protocol visit here.

To learn about the consequences of VAT post Brexit see here.


To learn more on how to prepare for Brexit visit



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In this issue
SFA Fortnightly Update
SFA in the media
Brexit: Northern Ireland Protocol
New research on the importance of investment in 5G technology
Input needed: "Coping with COVID-19: Exploring Resilience Strategies of Irish Entrepreneurs"
Age Discrimination – WRC Case | Mandatory Retirement Age
Changing Terms and Conditions of Employment
GDPR two years on – A webinar with the Data Protection Commission
An Evening with Prof John Fitzgerald & SFA AGM
Brexit Webinars