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On 17 May 2022, the UK Government has announced its intention to introduce legislation to amend the Northern Ireland (NI) Protocol in order to address some of the challenges businesses based or operating within NI are facing. In July 2021 the UK Government published a command paper ‘Northern Ireland Protocol: the way forward’ detailing the UK’s requests on possible amendments to the NI Protocol. While the EU has responded to some of the issues raised in an attempt to find compromise, it is the UK Government’s view that the EU have not shown enough flexibility. This has solidified into the UK Government’s announcement of their intention to unilaterally suspend parts of the Protocol through proposed legislation, covering:
- removing checks and paperwork on goods moving from Great Britain (GB) to NI that are destined to stay in NI with no risk of moving into the Republic of Ireland and the rest of the EU;
- creating a new dual regulatory system where companies in NI can choose to apply the EU or the UK’s regime for goods, removing regulatory checks;
- ensuring a single tax and spending regime across the UK, allowing GB VAT rates to be applied in NI where currently the EU rules apply;
- changing the governance of the Protocol under the same system as the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement, removing the jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU).
Cosmetic products placed on the market in NI alone currently have to follow EU legislation, while products placed on the market in the UK (including NI) would have to follow the UK legislation (applicable in GB) and the EU legislation (applicable in NI). Under the new proposed system, products placed on the market in NI would be allowed to choose to follow UK legislation, therefore securing access to companies to the entire UK internal market under the UK Cosmetics Regulation. Products destined to the Republic of Ireland and the rest of the EU would still need to comply with the EU Cosmetic Products Regulation.
The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) has communicated that no actions should be taken at this moment, as “standstill” arrangements continue to operate, meaning that goods can be moved in the same way in which they used to, and existing grace periods and easements continue to apply. The UK Government will be detailing the legislation applicable in the near future and CTPA will continue to explore the impact to the cosmetics industry.
For more information, please see here.