As we had been saying for a few weeks now, the UK has now unilaterally taken a standstill on GB-NI trading arrangement which was announced by Lord Frost in a Ministerial Statement. It says:
“Following on from this, to provide space for potential further discussions, and to give certainty and stability to businesses while any such discussions proceed, the Government will continue to operate the Protocol on the current basis. This includes the grace periods and easements currently in force. Operational and other guidance will be updated to reflect this approach”
That means we will not have further SPS controls brought in in 1 Oct nor parcel controls on 1 Nov. However all current controls will continue to be in place.
The EU has responded as we expected and has said that At present, the Commission is not moving to the next stage of the infringement procedure launched in March 2021, and is not opening any new infringements for now.
The standstill is open ended from the UK side. The EU have told us however that they see the negotiation phase lasting only until the new year. That’s one of the reasons that we have put our emphasis on the need for an implementation period no matter what is decided. I am chairing a meeting with business and Vice President Sefcovic in person on Thursday and I will make our points and be able to give a fuller update then.