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Ireland will try to get away with implementing customs controls at all Irish land and sea ports with "intelligence led" searches to catch any UK goods trying to get into the EU26 via Ireland but could also expose legitimate Irish exports to a border check.

UK exporters into Ireland coming in via N. Ireland (a very small proportion of total) will be required to become registered "trusted traders" and submit paperwork and any tariffs due in advance. Trucks coming in from N. Ireland will be stopped at random check-points and searched, and any non-compliance punished with maximum fines and publicity to deter others.

As most of such exports are by large firms such as Tesco, Dunnes Stores, Musgraves, Guinness etc. they will have well established traceability, paperwork and tax compliance procedures in place (for VAT liability), and some, like Guinness, already have customs officials on site to ensure compliance with excise duties.

Exports of UK goods by small traders or private individuals in small vans or private cars, although formally required to adhere to above procedures will, in practice, be largely ignored by customs unless a scandal - e.g. chlorinated chickens - comes to light in which case customs enforcement resources will be focused on that sector.

Therefore some smuggling, immaterial in terms of volume in an EU 27 context, will occur, although formally, Ireland will be in compliance with Customs Union and Single Market rules. Any imperfections in the system will be explained by:

  1. Denial that they exist.
  2. They are the best we could do in the short time available
  3. They are only temporary pending a UK/EU trade deal or agreement (by a new UK government not dependent on the DUP) to operating EU supervised customs controls in the Irish sea = Max Fac applied to a different location.
  4. Maximum publicity given to any contraband seized and severe consequences for perpetrators - confiscation, imprisonment, fines and loss of export licence.

Any new EU/UK negotiations will be contingent on the UK agreeing to keep the Irish border open by conducting whatever checks are required down the Irish sea. Which is more important to the UK, trading with the EU or appeasing the DUP?

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jul 1st, 2019 at 09:25:56 AM EST
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