Lords say Windsor Framework is an improvement on protocol, but problems persist

According to a House of Lords inquiry, the Windsor Framework enhances the Northern Ireland Protocol but falls short of resolving all its problems.

The framework, established in February, aims to facilitate post-Brexit trade between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

The framework modifies the NI Protocol, which was the 2019 agreement that retained Northern Ireland within the EU’s single market for goods.

Several of its significant operational aspects are scheduled for implementation starting from October.

These aspects encompass the expansion of a trusted trader scheme and the establishment of green lanes and red lanes to manage the flow of goods at Northern Ireland ports.

The purpose of the green lane/red lane system is to streamline bureaucracy for Great Britain (GB) goods that have Northern Ireland as their final destination.

In addition, there will be new labelling requirements for certain food products entering Northern Ireland from Great Britain (GB). These requirements will operate alongside the green lane/red lane system.

The Lords NI Protocol subcommittee, which conducted the inquiry, has cautioned that certain businesses, especially non-retailers, may find the framework processes “more burdensome” when compared to the protocol grace periods.

The grace periods pertain to temporary arrangements during which the protocol was not entirely enforced in certain aspects.

According to Lord Jay of Ewelme, the committee chairman, the Windsor Framework represents a notable improvement over the original protocol. However, it does not address all the problems raised by the protocol.

Businesses stand to benefit from easier movement of goods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland through the green lane.

Baca juga  Initial councils selected for piloting wraparound childcare programs

Under the Windsor Framework, some businesses may find processes to be more burdensome compared to the current operation of the protocol.

In cases of uncertainty, the red lane, with its more intricate procedures, may need to be utilized.

The report highlights significant improvements in areas like medicines, pet travel, and retail goods brought about by the framework.

Nevertheless, a significant concern raised by the inquiry revolves around the handling of “groupage” freight and mixed loads.

Groupage refers to the practice of combining goods dispatched by multiple companies into the same lorry load.

The concern is that if even one pallet within the load contains goods destined for the Republic of Ireland, the entire shipment will need to go through the red lane, resulting in additional bureaucracy and costs.

During the inquiry, Sarah Hards, sales director at AM Logistics, highlighted that groupage was overlooked in the original NI Protocol and has not been adequately addressed in the current framework.

The committee has requested the government to provide clarification on how the framework’s provisions will affect groupage and the movement of mixed loads, as well as to outline the steps being taken to address the concerns of businesses impacted by these issues.

Source : bbc.com