1.The purpose of this proposed negative instrument is to end the application of directly effective rights that flow from EU Treaty provisions which prohibit the imposition of quantitative restrictions, such as administrative or regulatory requirements, that restrict free movement of non-harmonised goods within the EU, or between the EU and Switzerland or the EU and Turkey. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) says that the UK intends to have its own regulatory regime for goods after the end of the Transition Period (TP) and that the intention of this instrument is to ensure that there is no barrier to diverging from EU rules should Great Britain (GB) chose to do so after the end of the TP. BEIS adds that repealing the rights that flow from the prohibition of quantitative restrictions is necessary as the rights could otherwise form the basis for claims by GB manufacturers if regulatory divergence does create trade barriers.
2.The Department also states that the instrument will not be of practical application in Northern Ireland (NI), as the NI Protocol to the Withdrawal Agreement will govern NI, and the movement of goods between the EU and NI and between NI and GB will be provided for in accordance with the Protocol and UK domestic law. At the same time, BEIS says that it engaged with the Devolved Administrations as some goods potentially affected by this instrument fall under devolved competence, and that it was waiting for formal consent from all three Devolved Administrations. The Department told us that NI had questioned how this instrument would impact on the flow of goods between NI and GB and that while the instrument would not remove any protections in relation to the flow of goods between NI and GB, these protections are to be confirmed in a future instrument and in the upcoming UK Internal Market Bill. Given the sensitivities around NI’s access to the GB market and the political significance of any future diversion from EU regulations and potential trade barriers, the House may welcome an opportunity to explore these issues. On balance, therefore, the Committee is of the view that the instrument should be subject to the affirmative procedure.