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Accountants plead with Johnson for NI customs solution



British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Photo: REUTERS

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Photo: REUTERS

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Photo: REUTERS

Tax practitioners have written to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to urgently seek some temporary mechanism to ease custom disruption between Ireland and Northern Ireland at the start of next year.

Chartered Accountants Ireland (CAI), which represents accountants on both sides of the Irish border, said that every option possible must now be considered given the problems that may arise when the Brexit transition period ends on December 31.

CAI also sent versions of the letter to Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Northern Ireland first minister Arlene Foster and deputy first minister Michelle O'Neill.

"There are already long-standing special arrangements within standard EU regulations for trade between territories with historic associations," the letter said.

"It may be possible to secure crucial time bound derogations from customs requirements, for instance on food products, to allow time for the customs infrastructure to be developed to address the particular needs of Northern Ireland.

"Every conceivable option now needs to be explored because time is very short indeed."

The letter predicted "enormous disruption to unfettered access" between Northern Ireland and Britain and trade on the island of Ireland in general if there is no deal.

"Even a very limited deal on the application of tariffs and quotas between the EU and the United Kingdom after 1 January next would mitigate the disruption," it said.

Brexit trade talks between Britain and the EU resumed in London late last week although gaps remain between both sides.

Talks had stalled after Johnson's deadline for a deal passed earlier this month. Key issues include fishing rights and state subsidies.

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