Today its been reported that the EU and UK are working towards a time-limited “Grace period”. This grace period is said to allow retailers to adjust to new rules to the post-transition period in Northern Ireland.
Boris has been on the record as saying he wouldn’t be extending the transition period. However, now both sides are in talks to allow a grace period for businesses to adapt to the rules under the Northern Ireland Protocol.
According to reports, the grace period would mean retailers wouldn’t be subject to extra costs and paperwork. The Northern Ireland Protocol signed by Boris last January told NI would continue to remain part of the EU’s single market.
Chief executive of Sainsbury’s, Simon Roberts, said: “If we don’t get greater clarity on the Northern Ireland situation then we will see a restriction on the ranges of products we can sell.”
“This is not one or two products in store I am talking about, it is a substantial number of products and quite key, everyday products too.”
“Customers expect to have access to a full range but won’t be possible to make that available unless something changes.”
Last week, DUP leader Arlene Foster and deputy first minister Michelle O’Neill sent a joint letter to the EU commission. The letter read: “Hence, we would ask you to recognise how important it is that the current consideration of the deal of how the Protocol will be applied takes our unique context into account.
“Last week, there was a meeting that included representatives from our main supermarkets here.
“These representatives have emphasised how critical the current situation is, with a real threat to the continuity of the supply of existing food and other products to our market unless these issues are urgently addressed and solutions found.
“This is an unacceptable situation for us to be in, especially so late in the process.”
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