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UK Confirms Fifth Delay to Post-Brexit Border Checks on EU Food

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UK Announces Further Delay to Post-Brexit Border Checks on Food from EU

The United Kingdom has confirmed a fifth delay to post-Brexit border checks on food coming from the European Union (EU) in order to provide businesses with additional time to prepare for the changes. The new checks, originally planned for October 31, will now begin in January, with further checks being introduced in two stages throughout 2024.

Last week, it was reported that the government chose to enact this delay to avoid further inflationary pressures on the British economy. Businesses had expressed concerns that the new checks at the border would contribute to Britain’s inflation woes by reducing the supply of goods coming from the EU. In fact, the UK currently has the highest inflation rate among the G7 countries, with a 6.8 percent growth in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) in the 12 months leading up to July.

The repeated delays have also put British producers at a disadvantage compared to their EU counterparts. When the UK left the EU’s single market and customs union in 2021, Brussels implemented full border controls for British exports.

Cabinet Office Minister Lucy Neville-Rolfe stated that the new border model would ensure more efficient trading for businesses, protect against biosecurity threats, and crack down on illegal imports such as firearms and drugs. She believes that once fully implemented, these post-Brexit measures will bring considerable benefits to the UK economy and trade, with the government ready to support businesses through this transition.

Under the revised plans, health certificates will be required for imports of plant and animal products considered to be a “medium risk,” including meat, dairy, and fish, as well as high-risk non-animal origin foods from January. New physical checks will be implemented at the UK border from April, followed by security and safety checks for all EU imports in October 2024.

William Bain, head of trade policy at the British Chambers of Commerce, expressed that businesses will be pleased with the announcement, emphasizing the importance of preparedness. He stated that businesses are making long-term investment and supply chain decisions and need confidence that the physical and digital infrastructure at the GB border will be in place on time.

Marco Forgione, director-general of the Institute of Export & International Trade, believes that the new border model helps to address some of the commercial disadvantages faced by UK businesses. He emphasized the necessity for businesses trading into UK markets to prepare for these changes.

The UK government’s decision to delay post-Brexit border checks aims to provide businesses with additional time to adapt and minimize the impact on the British economy. The revised plans seek to strike a balance between ensuring efficient trading, protecting against potential threats, and cracking down on illegal imports. However, concerns remain over the repeated delays and the competitive disadvantage faced by British producers. It is crucial for businesses and traders to prepare themselves for the upcoming changes.

More detail via POLITICO here… ( Image via POLITICO )

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