Meat and other animal products will still be able to move between Northern Ireland and the rest of Britain in the new year, after Michael Gove negotiated a concession to the Northern Ireland Protocol as part of the Withdrawal Agreement with the European Union.
Speaking in the House of Commons on 9 December, Gove said food businesses will be given a three month period from 1 January to get ready for the export health certificates that will be required on animal products. In addition, a six-month grace period will be in place specifically for chilled meats.
The deal, said Gove, “protects Northern Ireland supermarket supplies. Our agreement also prevents any disruption at the end of the transition period on the movements of chilled meats. British sausages will continue to make their way to Belfast and Ballymena in the new year. And we have also got time for reciprocal agreements between the UK and EU on agri-food to be discussed in the months ahead.”
In addition, Northern Ireland supermarkets will be able to use a trusted trader scheme for food crossing into GB, meaning there will be no tariffs whether or not there is a Free Trade Agreement with the EU. It was not clear whether this would include all food businesses, or just retailers.