Government may delay Post-Brexit food checks again

By Paul Kelly in News Posted: 3rd, August, 2023

The government has said it is assessing its post-Brexit border control plan after the Financial Times reported that it was going to delay the introduction of import checks on goods coming from the European Union, due to inflation fears.

The planned inspection regime has already been put back several times and now the government are concerned about the impact of additional red tape on prices.

Britain left the bloc’s single market at the start of 2021 and while goods from Britain have faced EU checks and paperwork since, the UK has repeatedly delayed introducing reciprocal checks on EU food and plant goods, even though they form part of the FTA with the bloc.

The government said in April that it would require health certifications on some EU animal products, plants and food and feed products from the end of October, with physical checks and safety declarations due to be introduced in stages through 2024.

Under the proposed controls that were due to be introduced in October, EU exporters of food products to the UK would have required “export health certificates” costing several hundred euros each and requiring a physical sign-off by a veterinary surgeon.

The food industry warned last June that plans to charge a flat-rate inspection fee of up to £43 on each consignment of food coming from the EU would drive up food prices, with the government estimating total additional costs of EU controls at £420mn a year.

The Financial Times said ministers were set to announce a further delay to the border controls over fears that the extra bureaucracy for imported goods would fuel inflation.

The government has previously cited the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine as reasons for delaying the new checks.

A new timetable has not yet been signed off by ministers, but the start of the new regime is expected to slip into next year. It was originally supposed to have started in July 2021.

We will advise further when the government confirm the delay OR if the FT’s report turns out to be incorrect and the border checks do come into effect on the 31st October.

Global Forwarding have the customs expertise, resources and capability to simplify the most complex food and foodstuff supply chains.

To review your customs requirements or to discuss the implications of the UK’s border strategy EMAIL Chloe Chloe Henshall, our Customs Compliance Manager.

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