I’M baffled by the uproar about goods crossing the Irish border after Brexit and claims that a non-intrusive solution doesn’t exist and may take ages to develop.

There is already a system and it’s in use already. The VAT rates for almost all business commodities differ between North and South, so every trader has to account to the customs/taxation authorities to pay or reclaim the difference.

Every company of any significant size is already registered and accustomed to this system whether or not it trades over the border. Southern Ireland already has a more complicated system than Britain, charging 23 per cent, 13.5 per cent, nine per cent, 4.8 per cent or zero per cent on a wide range of goods and services except those for export. As these systems already require the sharing of vast amounts of information, I fail to see how it is difficult to add another charge, tariffs, to the list.

Adding compliance to regulations is a little more difficult but no more so than dealing with non-EU trading partners. The VAT system already provides registration and there are plenty of international notified bodies whose certification is recognised world-wide; for many things the CE system is already mandated and, at least until UK regulations diverge from EU, can still be used. Paperwork is the curse of most business people’s lives, but surely we can use the systems that already exist without looking for trouble? Are we seeing a case of people looking for problems to further their own policies rather than trying to help?

Anthony J Foster, Peterlee