Alcohol sales from Amazon are no longer available in Northern Ireland
Amazon has stopped selling wines, beers and spirits to its customers in Northern Ireland as it wrestles with new customs rules post-Brexit.
The online retailer is concerned that excise duty - a tax - will now have to be paid twice on all shipments of alcohol which are sent from the British mainland across the Irish Sea.
At the moment there is a grace period in place for supermarkets and bigger suppliers. Amazon is concerned that the burden of the extra customs paperwork coupled with the requirement for physical checks will be too costly and disruptive, running the risk that lorries carrying thousands of Amazon parcels - many of which won’t require EHCs - get held-up at the border.
According to industry sources, Amazon is considering halting the sale of a large number of other products to Northern Irish customers - including pet food, organic food supplements and some over-the-counter medicines - before the end of March when customs regulation becomes more onerous.From the 1st April, all deliveries of products of animal origin, sent from mainland Britain to Northern Ireland, will need to be accompanied by Export Health Certificates (EHC) which need to be signed-off by a vet.
The result is that, since the UK left the EU’s Single Market and its Customs Union at the end of last year, trade across the Irish Sea has been significantly disrupted. TK Maxx, Dunelm, and John Lewis, have responded to the cost and inconvenience of extra customs paperwork by cancelling online deliveries.It is striking that even Amazon - the most successful retailer in the world with its own formidable logistics network - is having problems making the new rules work.
A government spokesperson said: “These goods will not be taxed twice, and we will issue new guidance clarifying the position to ensure any remaining issues are addressed."