The UK and EU have come to a renewed Brexit agreement concerning the Northern Ireland Protocol. Called the Windsor Framework, the aim is to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland (which is part of the UK) and the Republic of Ireland (which is an EU member state) by keeping Northern Ireland aligned with some EU rules and regulations.
The agreement will introduce green and red lane trade routes, where goods staying in the UK will use a green lane to avoid customs bureaucracy, while goods moving to the EU will use a red lane, reported Drapers.
In a joint press conference with the European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: "I’m pleased to report that we have now made a decisive breakthrough. Together we have changed the original protocol and are today announcing the new Windsor framework.
The Windsor Framework could have several implications for the fashion industry in Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.
If goods are unchecked and have free movement, there will be little delays. However the framework includes provisions for customs checks and regulatory controls which could lead to additional costs for fashion brands that rely on cross-border trade.
Compliance with regulations
The framework also requires Northern Ireland to continue to follow EU regulations on certain goods, including products related to the fashion industry such as textiles and clothing. This could mean that fashion brands operating in Northern Ireland will need to comply with different labelling or safety standards than those in the rest of the UK.
Northern Ireland will remain part of the EU single market for goods, which could create opportunities for fashion brands to access this market and benefit from the EU's preferential trade agreements with other countries.
The framework could also create opportunities for fashion brands to invest in local production in Northern Ireland, as it remains part of the EU single market for goods.
Overall, the impact of the Windsor Framework on the fashion industry will depend on how it is implemented and enforced in practice. Brands that operate in or trade with Northern Ireland will need to stay up-to-date with the latest developments and adapt their strategies accordingly.