Last reviewed 22 May 2020

The Cabinet Office has published a paper, setting out the Government’s approach to implementing the Northern Ireland Protocol, by upholding Northern Ireland’s place in the UK while respecting the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement.

It confirms that businesses in Northern Ireland will have unfettered access to the rest of the UK market.

Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove said: “Implementing the Protocol in this way will ensure we can support businesses and citizens, and protect Northern Ireland’s place in the UK’s customs territory while upholding our commitments to the EU’s Single Market. Northern Ireland will benefit fully from its access to the UK and EU markets.”

The Protocol will remain in place until at least 2024 when a vote will be held in Northern Ireland’s elected institutions on its continuance. If the vote is in favour, it will be repeated after a further four-year period.

Available at, the paper explains that no tariffs will be paid on goods that move and remain within the UK customs territory.

Implementation of the Protocol will not involve new customs infrastructure, it states, with any processes on goods moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland kept to an absolute minimum so that the integrity and smooth functioning of the UK internal market is protected.

The Cabinet Office paper also sets out plans to establish a new business engagement forum, which will meet regularly to allow Northern Ireland’s businesses to put forward proposals and provide feedback on how to maximise the free flow of trade.

The Northern Ireland Executive will be invited to join the forum.