The United Kingdom left the European Union on 1 February 2020 after the EU and the UK concluded a Withdrawal Agreement which facilitated an orderly UK departure from the EU. The Withdrawal Agreement provided for a transition period, intended to give time to both sides to prepare for the changes that arise on 1 January 2021. From this point, the UK is outside the EU Single Market and Customs Union, and EU law no longer applies to or in respect of the UK.
The Withdrawal Agreement includes the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland which means that different arrangements apply to Northern Ireland. The Protocol provides that Northern Ireland is legally part of the UK customs territory but subject to certain provisions of EU law, including EU food law. This means that there will be no change to the current procedures for trade in food between Ireland and Northern Ireland.
With the exception of these specific arrangements for Northern Ireland, from 1 January 2021 Irish businesses that buy any food product from the UK and place it on the Irish market will need to adhere to the rules and requirements for importing food from outside the EU Single Market and for placing these products on the EU Single Market. Irish businesses that wish to sell any food product in the UK will need to adhere to the rules and requirements for exporting outside the Single Market, as well as to UK import requirements.
You need to know what this means for your business: