Tuesday, 24 September 2019

Questions (120)

Micheál Martin


120. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Finance if he has discussed the introduction of duty free in the event of a hard Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38837/19]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

The UK Chancellor announced, on the 10th September, that the UK Government intends to reintroduce duty-free shopping for passengers travelling to EU countries, if the UK leaves the EU without a deal on 31 October next.

If the UK leaves without a deal, the UK will assume the status of a ‘third country’ in terms of their trading relationship with the European Union. Earlier this year, the Oireachtas passed extensive legislation covering contingency arrangements in relation to the exit of the UK from the EU under these circumstances. The Withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union (Consequential Provisions) Bill 2019 was published on 22 February. It completed all Oireachtas stages on 13 March and was signed into law by the President on 17 March 2019.

The legislation introduced a specific measure relating to Duty Free sales between Ireland and the UK in the event of the UK leaving the EU without a deal. The provision, contained in the Act, was designed as a contingency measure as it was anticipated that a solution to such matters would form part of a future relationship agreement between the EU and UK.

In the Act, I made provision to impose restrictions on duty-free sales in Ireland to UK bound travellers, which I planned to implement if the UK introduced similar restrictions in respect of Ireland bound travellers in the UK. As the UK has now decided, in the event of a no deal Brexit, to apply an unrestricted duty-free scheme, in line with this reciprocal policy Ireland will not now commence the relevant legislative measure. Therefore, European Union Duty Free rules, in relation to passenger travel between the EU and third countries, would apply from 31 October.

This policy is in compliance with EU law and Ireland’s international obligations.