What is the Windsor Framework?
The Windsor Framework is the new approach to trade with Northern Ireland post-Brexit. In the years surrounding Brexit, the Northern Ireland Protocol was introduced to set out how trade would be handled going forward. However, there were issues with areas of the Protocol that heavily affected trade to Northern Ireland.
The Windsor Framework has been created to allow smoother trade between Great Britain (GB) and Northern Ireland (NI) in the post-Brexit landscape with the new UK Internal Market Scheme (UKIMS), new ‘Green Lane’ arrangements and smoother supply of medicines.
This new approach, set out in the Windsor Framework, restores the balance needed to uphold the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement in all its dimensions. It puts in place a new legal and constitutional framework, changing the text of the treaty and scrapping a range of EU rules.
How Will the Windsor Framework Impact My Business?
There are different elements to the Windsor Framework:
- Green Lane Movements
- Duty Reimbursement Scheme
- Customs Duty Waiver
- Northern Ireland Retail Movement Scheme
- Northern Ireland Plant Health Label (NIPHL) Scheme
- Pets (Removing Pet Travel Barriers between GB and NI)
- Post and Parcels
Trusted traders will be able to move their goods through a new “green lane”. To access the green lane processes, traders must be authorised under the new UK Internal Market Scheme (UKIMS). If you are registered with the UK Trader Scheme, you will now need to register with UKIMS, which will provide businesses with added protection for internal UK movements along with the removal of certain EU tariffs.
The Trader Support Service, in place since 2020, will still be active to assist customers in their Supplementary Declarations after the arrival of goods into Northern Ireland.
For those moving foodstuffs, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) have put together webinars on how applicable certificates have changed and how to complete them.
When is the Windsor Framework Being Implemented?
The implementation of the Framework commenced in 2023 and will continue through into 2025, to provide businesses with time to adapt to new arrangements. A major part of the Windsor Framework arrangements came into operation on 1 October 2023.
It is advised to be aware that the timeline of implementation can change as the UK Government works through new schemes for traders.
Windsor Framework Timeline
In Place in 2023
Temporary VAT Zero-Rate Introduction
On 1 May 2023 a temporary VAT zero-rate was introduced in Northern Ireland for the domestic installation of solar panels, insulation, heat pumps and other energy saving materials.
Duty Reimbursement on ‘At Risk’ Goods
On 30 June 2023, the Government launched a new reimbursement scheme for EU duty paid on at risk goods that have been sold or used outside of the EU for Northern Ireland.
UK Internal Market Scheme (UKIMS) Launched
UKIMS will replace the UK Trader Scheme with expanded and enhanced details to assist customers, most notably removing the need for EU tariffs.
Northern Ireland Retail Movement Scheme (NIRMS) Enacted
The Northern Ireland Retail Movement Scheme (NIRMS) is enacted, establishing a new way to move prepacked retail goods such as food, drink, cut flowers and pet food from Great Britain) into Northern Ireland.
Expansion of the Customs Duty Waiver Scheme
The maximum value of duties able to be waived over the course of three tax years for ‘at risk’ goods moved into Northern Ireland will rise to €275,000 (£235,000) from the current level of €200,000 (£170,000).
Full ‘Green Lane’ in Operation & New Parcels Arrangements
The full ‘Green Lane’ will take effect for the movement of all goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, expanding the benefits of the UK Internal Market Scheme to end unnecessary bureaucracy.
New arrangements for parcels under the framework will come into effect. Private individuals in Northern Ireland will be able to receive parcels sent by direct transport from friends, family or businesses in Great Britain as smoothly as they do now. There will be no customs declarations, tariffs, or presentation of goods to customs authorities when parcels are sent for personal use.
Parcels sent between businesses will be treated in line with equivalent freight movements and will be able to move using the ‘green lane’ simplifications if they are eligible.
2025 and Beyond
New arrangements for the supply of medicines into Northern Ireland will be in place, ensuring that medicines available in Northern Ireland are approved by UK authorities. This will enable a single license and single pack medicines right across the UK.
How Can I Prepare?
As a business you can apply for UKIMS via HMG. The team at NICTA (Northern Ireland Customs and Trade Academy) have put together a Webinar alongside HMRC, tips and guides as to how to apply to the appropriate schemes.
Get in Touch with Speedy Freight for Import & Export Services
As the Windsor Framework unfolds, businesses can anticipate a more streamlined and efficient trade landscape between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, fostering economic resilience and adherence to key agreements. Staying informed and engaging with available resources will be integral to successfully navigating the evolving regulatory environment. For import and export services, Speedy Freight stands ready to provide assistance and support during this transition.