Since January 1, following the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020, the UK has been outside the EU Single Market and Customs Union and this means that a range of customs formalities apply to goods moving to, from or through the United Kingdom, excluding Northern Ireland.
I fully appreciate, as does Revenue, that the new regulatory requirements and customs formalities present significant challenges and impose additional burdens on businesses. Revenue is working with businesses to resolve issues while also being mindful of the responsibility on businesses to comply with EU Customs legislation. Customs requirements can be complex for businesses, but it is essential that Ireland fulfils its obligations as a member of the EU and that we protect public health, food safety and product standards as well as the integrity of the Single Market and the Customs Union.
I appreciate that some businesses have encountered challenges in meeting their customs obligations, but it is also important to recognise that a significant number of businesses have successfully made the transition to the new trading environment and that the majority of goods going through Dublin Port are being green routed on arrival meaning they can leave the port without the need for intervention by Customs or other State agencies.
Where businesses are experiencing delays, I am informed by Revenue that in the majority of cases, the reason for the delays have been because customs documentation has not been provided or has been completed incorrectly and as a result the goods cannot be released from the port for free circulation. To address these challenges, it is essential that businesses enhance their customs knowledge and capability as quickly as possible and that they get a full understanding of their supply chains and the role and contribution of each of the players in the supply chain to the task of completing and complying with the necessary customs formalities. The Government has provided a range of supports to assist businesses in adapting to the new rules and procedures that are now in place, including the Ready for Customs Grant scheme and the Clear Customs training programme. Additionally, since 1 January officials and State Agencies have also been providing support and assistance on a 24/7 basis when practical difficulties and challenges arise for businesses.
I am advised by Revenue that it will continue to engage with individual businesses and with the relevant trade representative bodies to assist them in building the understanding and knowledge of customs formalities. As issues arise, Revenue is working with businesses on a 24/7 basis to resolve issues relating to particular movements, to ensure that the goods can move as quickly as possible. However, businesses must fully embrace the fact that the trading environment between Ireland and Great Britain has changed irrevocably following the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020 and there is no alternative to complying with the relevant customs formalities that are now an integral part of trade with Great Britain.