British Brexit minister David Frost
The Tánaiste said it was a “welcome and sensible move which will be good news for Irish exporters and farmers especially at this time of year”.
Leo Varadkar added: “Advice on preparing for future customs checks is available from Enterprise Ireland.”
In a written statement today, EU negotiator David Frost said Britain will temporarily delay implementing customs and veterinary controls on goods moving into Britain from Ireland and Northern Ireland.
Checks on incoming goods from the European Union – covering mainly food and agricultural products – are due to come into force on January 1, bringing post-Brexit customs arrangements with the bloc in line with those with the rest of world.
However, Mr Frost said the existing arrangements would continue on a temporary basis for goods crossing the Irish Sea for as long as the discussions on the protocol are ongoing.
“The government believes that this pragmatic act of good will can help to maintain space for continued negotiations on the protocol,” he said in a written ministerial statement.
“It also ensures that traders in both Ireland and Northern Ireland are not faced with further uncertainty while the protocol arrangements themselves are still under discussion.”
The UK government is seeking major changes to the protocol – which covers the movement of goods from Great Britain to North Ireland – arguing the checks required are damaging business and fuelling community tensions.
Mr Frost said implementing such controls would be particularly complex because of specific treaty and legislative commitments to “unfettered access” for goods from Northern Ireland, and because of current standstill arrangements in place for operating the Northern Ireland Protocol.
He also said customs controls could not be introduced while negotiations on the protocol are still under way.
Mr Frost said those negotiations will not be definitively completed by 1 January.