The increase in Customs compliance regulations in the New Year will cause more confusion for traders and may not help power sharing in Northern Ireland, according to tax and advisory firm Blick Rothenberg.

Commenting on this, Blick Rothenberg customs expert and partner, Simon Sutcliffe, said: “His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs are now increasing their compliance functions. Companies doing business between the UK and the EU need to make sure that they get their houses in order.

“They will ramp up their checks on UK importers to make sure that they hold accurate evidence for claiming Tariff Preferences and that they are using the most appropriate method of customs valuation – especially between EU and UK related entities.”

Simon said: “These are being styled as ‘Customs Audits’ as HMRC look to catch-up after all the immediacy of the post Brexit customs easements in 2020/21 – when political drivers such as the potential for empty shelves and idle factories overtook trade compliance.”

He added: “In January the latest version of the Border Target Operating Model (BTOM) will bring into force oft-delayed changes.

“These January changes include deferred entry scheme for goods from Ireland and NI, a whole raft of changes to SPS goods and the UK’s IPAFFS IT system for moving low, medium and high-risk foodstuffs. HMRC are also launching several pilot programmes for Authorised Operator Schemes and Accredited Trusted Trader schemes. This may bring more confusion and added bureaucracy for traders and further interrupt the process to resume power sharing in the province.”

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Sutcliffe concluded: “The UK will be looking to sign improved and extended trade agreements with existing non-EU trade partners to increase tariff-free movement of goods.

“It will be interesting to see whether a potential Labour Government seek to renegotiate the Trade and Co-operation Agreement with the EU and raise the question of having access to the EU’s Single Market?”