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Ports and Airports are by far the easiest to police although you could have spot checks for commercial vehicles at the land border as well, I suppose, but that would be extremely sensitive politically.
Customs law already requires goods in transit to have certificates of origin specifying where they are primarily manufactured and determining which duties (if any) are applicable. Goods leaving Republic of Ireland air/sea ports for EU destinations would then have to have certs specifying their origin in the Republic (and that they are therefore not goods-in-transit from the UK via N. Ireland). UK authorities might require similar controls at Irish Ports if goods are destined for UK and might therefore attract import tariffs.
A system of online barcoded import/export pre-clearance documents specifying goods, tariffs paid, transporting vehicle no. plate etc. could enable a customs checkpoint not dissimilar to a road toll booth where all the driver has to do is scan the export/import document and go on their way.
Nobody likes road toll booths, but at least they can be very efficient and wouldn't mark out the border as being especially different. Private cars would be exempt - unless they are actually paying a road toll - and so small scale local smuggling would be possible but curtailed with occasional spot checks, as at present at most international borders.
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