Bang goes Christmas fun in Northern Ireland as crackers caught up in EU red tape




  • In World
  • 2021-10-20 00:41:27Z
  • By The Telegraph
Prime Minister Boris Johnson pulls Christmas crackers with staff members during a visit to IG Design Group in South Wales on the last day of the 2019 general election.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson pulls Christmas crackers with staff members during a visit to IG Design Group in South Wales on the last day of the 2019 general election.  

Christmas crackers exported to Northern Ireland must be exempt from Brexit red tape in the same way as British sausages, Tory and DUP politicians said on Wednesday.

British cracker makers face burdensome regulations for the first time this Christmas if they want to export to Northern Ireland because of Brexit and the Irish Sea border.

The dinner diversions are subject to new paperwork and testing rules because the UK left the EU on December 31 after the Brexit deal was struck on Christmas Eve last year.

Northern Ireland continues to follow some Single Market rules, including those on pyrotechnics, from non-EU countries, to prevent a hard land border with EU member Ireland under the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Brexiteers said Brussels should spare crackers the onerous obligations in talks over the 2019 treaty, which the Government says disrupts British trade.

The European Commission said British sausages exported to Northern Ireland could have an exemption for "national identity goods" to stave off the UK-EU sausage war.

In the summer, the UK and EU teetered on the edge of a trade war over EU rules banning chilled meat from non-EU countries, which were set to come into force when a grace period to the Protocol expired.

'It's crackers because Northern Ireland is part of our own country'

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, the leader of the DUP, on Wednesday urged the EU to agree to "sensible and practical solutions" over crackers, which are not widely popular in Europe.

He said: "I would encourage the EU to choose this route and find outcomes which work for everyone rather than continue with an approach where they're happy to cancel Christmas just to punish the UK for Brexit."

"Crackers are a British tradition and should be treated in the same way as Cumberland sausages," added David Jones, the Tory deputy chairman of the European Research Group of MPs. "It's crackers, because Northern Ireland is part of our own country."

EU officials said crackers could benefit from simplified customs declarations under proposals for the reworking of the Protocol if they stayed in Northern Ireland.

Brussels has offered to dramatically cut the number of border checks on British goods to break the deadlock over the Protocol, with talks expected to last until early November.

Hannah Bidmead is the founder of Kent-based Nancy & Betty, which makes handmade, luxury and sustainable crackers. It supplies the House of Commons, Harrods, Claridges and Fortnum & Mason, and delivers to Northern Irish customers.

"We spend more time on paperwork and we are paying our staff who are spending longer on doing it, and that's time that could be spent packing up other orders," she said. "We will still fulfil orders we get from Northern Ireland but it might take us longer because of the paperwork, and we might get to the point where we need to say 'no' when we get nearer to Christmas."

UK exports risk being damaged

Crackers exported to Northern Ireland from mainland Britain must now include labelling showing the importer's names, registered trade name or trademark and postal address on each cracker or box of crackers.

They now also need to be sent to an EU testing lab for safety checks. Before Brexit, the tests could be done at a UK lab, which could certify for the whole bloc.

Northern Irish or Irish manufacturers do not face the same requirements, handing them a potential competitive advantage.

Next year, manufacturers must add the new UK Conformity Assessed (UKCA) mark to boxes, which can be displayed alongside the EU's CE conformity mark, which is needed to show a product meets the bloc's rules before export.

Nancy & Betty also delivers to North America and Australia, which are the major markets for crackers outside of Britain and Ireland.

Brexit and its new requirements also risk damaging long-standing exports to British expats in EU countries, who can face unexpected customs handling charges, Ms Bidmead said.

The entrepreneur, who set up her business in 2009, said that if she was starting over, she would find the new red tape "daunting" and a deterrent to exporting.

Mike Cherry, the national chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said one in five of his members had halted sales to the EU.

"Small businesses are expected to get across the detail of these changes and prepare while working flat out over a make-or-break festive season," he said.

COMMENTS

More Related News

End your
End your 'sausage war' on British bangers, UK to tell EU
  • World
  • 2021-11-30 15:28:17Z

The EU's ban on British sausages must be overturned, UK officials will tell Brussels in talks over the Brexit trade deal.

Ireland examining more than 10 suspected Omicron cases
Ireland examining more than 10 suspected Omicron cases
  • US
  • 2021-11-29 13:22:01Z

Ireland is studying more than 10 suspected cases of the new Omicron coronavirus variant after initial tests showed they had a trait distinguishing it from...

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: World