Revenue’s annual report has confirmed the massive increase in red tape now involved in trade with Britain.
Revenue say they collected €215m of customs duty on imports from Britain last year, even before the full impact of Brexit comes into force. That’s equal to nearly half the €526m total of customs duty collected on goods from all other non-EU markets combined last year.
Before Brexit there was no duty owned on imports from the UK and under the terms of the UK’s EU withdrawal Agreement trade between the Republic and Northern Ireland remains exempt.
The Revenue data shows the growing number of barriers to British firms selling into Ireland since Brexit and helps explain why goods imports into Ireland from the UK as a whole have plummeted by 45pc in the past year, while imports from Northern Ireland doubled.
The full impact of the UK withdrawal is still not being fully felt, in significant part because the Britosh government has continually delayed full implementation of the agreement. As of this week non-Irish EU food, animal and plant products shipped to the UK must be pre-notified to British customs, although safety declarations, health certificates and physical checks will not be required until July (or September for dairy products).
Irish firms have been exempted from the rules until the EU and UK resolve outstanding issues with the Northern Ireland protocol, but it is only a temporary reprieve, business groups warn.
Last year however did see Irish trade with its historically biggest partner for imports and exports begin to be effected.
Revenue’s annual report shows 23,000 businesses here registered for new Economic Operators' Registration & Identification (EORI) numbers, a new measure required to trade across the Irish Sea.
In 2021 a total of 18 million individual packages from the UK were subject to new customs declarations before they could be delivered here.
The rules mean deliveries ranging from container loads to individual packages for home delivery, even gifts from family, are subject to the declarations. The number of British linked declarations is nearly double the number from the rest of the world (7.6 million) and the total was up 14 times the 2020 level.
On just one day, November 30th, Revenue processed a record breaking 300,000 import declarations.
Revenue Commissioner and Director-General of Customs, Gerry Harrahill, said the UK’s exit from the EU has fundamentally changed the trading environment between the two countries, but he said most trade goods are arriving with minimal disruptions.
“Looking at the full year data, 86pc of all freight vehicle movements from Great Britain into Ireland were green routed on arrival meaning they passed freely through the relevant port without the need for any additional interaction with Revenue or any other State agency."
In 11pc of cases cargoes were ‘orange routed’ meaning the goods needed a documentary check or similar control and 3pc of cases were ‘red routed’ meaning there was a requirement for a physical examination or inspection of the goods.