UK and EU reach agreement on trade data sharing

Brexit | | MIC Customs Solutions |

A new agreement on data sharing for goods traveling between the UK and EU could help pave the way for progress on the Northern Ireland protocol.

The EU and the UK have come to an agreement for the real-time sharing of trade data on goods moving between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.

It will enable the EU to access the UK's IT systems and was agreed following talks between UK foreign secretary James Cleverly and EU commission vice-president Maroš Šefčovič.

A joint statement described the discussions as "cordial and constructive", while underlining a shared commitment to protecting the integrity of both the EU single market and the UK internal market.

"While a range of critical issues need to be resolved to find a way forward, an agreement was reached today on the way forward regarding the specific question of the EU’s access to UK IT systems," it continued.

Such agreements are seen as crucial in reaching a wider deal on cross-border trade with Northern Ireland and paving the way for greater cooperation between the EU and UK.

Relations have been cold for some time between the parties, with the status of the Northern Ireland protocol - and in particular checks on goods traveling to the country - one of the biggest sticking points. However, it is hoped that progress on issues such as data sharing can help move discussions forward and lead to a permanent solution.

Indeed, the joint statement on the latest agreement described it as a "critical prerequisite to building trust" between the two sides.

To solve the dispute, the UK has proposed a 'green channel' at ports that would allow items intended to remain in Northern Ireland to be shipped from Great Britain with no paperwork or customs checks, with a separate 'red channel' for goods headed on to the Republic of Ireland.

While the EU has recognized the need for a 'lighter touch' for goods remaining in the UK, it wants companies to continue filling out paperwork to provide more information on the status of items entering the single market.