New border checks for imports of plant and animal origin

By Paul Kelly in News Posted: 1st, February, 2024

From the 31st January Britain has imposed new border bureaucracy on EU food and drink and imports for the first time since Brexit, with the introduction of health certificates for all EU imports of plant and animal origin.

The introduction of these new border controls means European exporters now face the same pain of border bureaucracy that their UK counterparts have had to overcome since the EU-UK post-Brexit trade deal came into force in January 2021.

Trade associations have been warning of increased costs, delay and frustration as the UK introduces the first stage of its Border Target Operating Model (BTOM), which requires medium and high-risk imports to be accompanied by export health certificates (EHC) from today.

The association point to a shortage of EU vets to sign the export health certificates, the failure to introduce a trusted trader scheme and the continued lack of clarity about the application of some rules and regulations.

The EHC system is arguably not designed for short shelf life products and quick supply chains and it is critical that EU exporters understand the UK’s documentary requirements and are prepared for every movement, to avoid border delays, which would be catastrophic for perishable products where shelf life is critical to their value.

The British government has delayed the introduction of the checks five times since 2021, but now says controls are essential to deliver biosecurity and level the playing field for British business in its interactions with Europe.

Stage two, which is due to be implemented on the 30th April, will add physical checks at the border, but with implementation just months away port operators claim that a lack of clarity from government is creating uncertainty.

We have been been working closely with our customers’ EU suppliers to ensure they are prepared for the post-Brexit BTOM, which now requires health certificates for meat and dairy produce and the majority of plants.

Our customs teams in the UK and EU can guide you on the new import procedures and help you to educate your suppliers, with full support for all your documentary needs.

To learn how we can simplify your customs compliance, please EMAIL Chloe Henshall.

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