The new Brexit trading arrangements in Rishi Sunak’s revised Northern Ireland protocol could take more than two years to be fully implemented, government sources have confirmed.
The Guardian reports that businesses in Northern Ireland say they expect a mass educational campaign to be launched across the country by His Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and other government departments to help them put the deal announced in Windsor February 27 into operation if it is approved by parliament.
But with legislation required to bring the Windsor framework into force, the first of the new measures could take months to become operational.
A phased introduction over 2023 and 2024 is planned, but the introduction of updated labeling for products traveling across the Irish Sea via the new customs “green lane” will be staggered, with the last stage being implemented as late as July 2025. The government has promised swift reimbursement to cover the cost.
Businesses are still trying to work out what the deal means for them. Labeling products as “not for the EU” will be one of the most visible changes to result from Brexit in Northern Ireland and the rest of the U.K.
Read more: Brexit Has Had a Negative Impact on the U.K. Economy
Legislation may be needed for some elements of the deal such as the application of U.K. VAT rules and alcohol duties in Northern Ireland, but sources say that could happen swiftly.
Farmers will also be looking for a swift enactment of the Windsor clauses that reverse bans on the importation from Great Britain of seed potatoes and 11 native British trees, along with a relaxation of rules regarding secondhand farm machinery.
Months after the protocol came in in 2021, the Woodland Trust was forced to cancel the purchase of 22,000 trees for communities and schools in Northern Ireland because of the restrictions.
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