Boris Johnson’s plans to replace the Irish backstop have been leaked by RTE News.
According to the Irish newspaper the UK will propose up to ten customs posts along both sides of the Irish border .
Plans sent from London to the European Union – extracts of which have been leaked – show how customs posts will be erected on both sides of the border, but located perhaps five to ten miles ‘back’ from the actual land frontier.
Goods moving from a so-called “customs clearance site” on the northern side of the border to a similar site on the southern side would be monitored in real time using GPS via mobile phone data, or tracking devices placed on trucks or vans.
The ideas are contained in one of four ‘non-papers’ submitted by UK officials during recent technical discussions in Brussels.
Under the British proposals, traders would have a choice of either a straightforward customs declaration which would have to be lodged and cleared on either side of the border, or the so-called ‘transit’ system.
Under a transit scheme, the exporter becomes a registered ‘consigner’ at base, and the importer becomes a registered ‘consignee’.
The method requires a bond from a financial institution to guarantee that the relevant customs duty, excise and VAT have been paid and that the goods do not go illegally off the beaten track en route.
The alternative arrangements, reportedly put forward by Johnson, are thought to include trusted traders schemes, technology, transit and exemptions from EU customs rules.
The authorities would decide on the basis of the data provided which truck or consignments to check.
These checks would take place at traders’ premises or at “inland customs clearance sites”.
According to the plans, larger companies could apply for Authorised Economic Operator status, which would minimise the level of customs checks.
However, micro-businesses and SMEs would, according to recent testimony from freight and industry figures, find such status expensively prohibitive.