New ‘Windsor framework’ agreed on NI protocol
An agreement to overcome the trade barriers with Northern Ireland since Brexit has been announced by Prime Minster, Rishi Sunak. It will be called the ‘new Windsor framework.’
The substance of what’s been announced is yet to be revealed but Meat Management understands the principles are:
- Green and red lane routes will be established
- Goods staying in the UK will use a green lane to avoid customs bureaucracy
- Goods moving to the EU will use a red lane.
Head of policy at AIMS, Norman Bagley said: “Having read the Windsor Framework and specifically the Food Green Lane Sector Explainer: Food_Retail_Green_Lane_-_Sector_explainer.pdf (publishing.service.gov.uk) we welcome the removal of the bans on British products moving to Northern Ireland which had included supermarket and foodservice staples such as chilled sausages, chilled pigs in blankets, chilled chicken in garlic butter, Scottish Haggis, black pudding etc. And the phased approach to labelling.
“The Windsor Framework also states that “traders will only need to complete a single, digitised certificate per lorry movement” and we now urge the Government to move swiftly to introduce greater digitisation to all exports of meat and poultry, wherever they are destined for in the world.
“The negotiation to get to today’s announcement has clearly taken a long time during which members of AIMS have faced considerable administrative and cost burdens simply to trade with their customers in Northern Ireland and we urge all politicians from all UK political parties to endorse the Windsor Framework.”
A spokesman for the BMPA added: “Rishi Sunak’s Windsor Framework not only provides clarity and surety for companies carrying out trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, but also represents a big step forward for the UK’s trading relationship with the EU.
“While much of the operational detail on how exactly the new system will work is yet to be published, the benefits are clear. The movement of retail packed meat products destined for supermarket shelves or other consumer-facing organisations like schools, prisons and food service will essentially be able to return to a more normal delivery system via the new green lanes. Although suppliers will still need to be registered as a trusted trader and notify when goods have been delivered to their destination, much of the bureaucracy will be removed.
“Any other meat that will be going on for further processing in Northern Ireland, and so could end up in the EU, will go through the red lane as it would if it was being sent to Calais or Rotterdam.
“The EU have been able to offer these concessions because we’re still aligned with their standards, which gives the reassurance needed be able to loosen border controls. If in the future the UK decides to diverge, then further negotiations will be necessary.
“Perhaps the thing that is most encouraging is that, in negotiating the Windsor Framework, Mr Sunak and his team have provided a blueprint for future collaborative and productive trade negotiations with Europe.
“For now, though, it is in the hands of the politicians, and we hope that pragmatism and the national interest rather than politics will be driving the process.”
Wider food industry
Speaking for the wider food industry head of International Trade, Dominic Goudie told Meat Management: “We are pleased that an agreement has been reached on the Northern Ireland Protocol. Any deal to improve the movement of goods is welcome, after the significant uncertainty food and drink manufacturers have faced over the past two years.
“We look forward to seeing the details of this agreement, and how it will provide a pragmatic and business friendly solution that will ensure Northern Irish consumers can continue to enjoy the full choice of quality UK products, without facing higher prices.”
Rupert Ashby, chief executive of the British Frozen Food Federation commented: “The British Frozen Food Federation welcomes the conclusion of the negotiations between the UK Government and European Commission. The settlement reached on the Northern Ireland Protocol is good news for businesses throughout the frozen food supply chain which are looking forward to more efficient trade relations within the UK and to the EU.
“For frozen food producers, distributors and retailers which have faced difficulties since the Withdrawal Agreement, this marks the beginning of a positive new chapter.
“Frozen food has become an increasingly popular choice for consumers looking for high quality and affordable options in their weekly shop and I know that our members will seek to reach more of the Northern Ireland and EU markets through this renewed opportunity.”