Farming News - Disappointment as Britain delays post-Brexit import trade controls for the second time

Disappointment as Britain delays post-Brexit import trade controls for the second time

Britain has delayed the introduction of some post-Brexit import controls for a second time, saying it would phase in checks through next year rather than impose them now when industry supply chains are under strain.

Measures which were expected to come in during October will now be introduced in January and July next year which will see British exports to the EU being subjected to full checks, while imports into the UK by European competitors will continue to be almost free of paperwork.

"We want businesses to focus on their recovery from the pandemic rather than have to deal with new requirements at the border, which is why we've set out a pragmatic new timetable for introducing full border controls," Cabinet Office Minister Lord David Frost said.

"The government remains on track to deliver the new systems, infrastructure and resourcing required" to carry out the controls"

As soon as Britain left the European Union's single market the EU immediately introduced checks on British goods going to Europe which has hit sales hard.

"The repeated failure to implement full UK border controls on EU imports since 1 January 2021 undermines trust and confidence among businesses," Ian Wright, head of the Food and Drink Federation, said. "Worse, it actually helps the UK's competitors."

"Businesses have invested very significant time and money in preparing for the new import regime on 1 October 2021. Now, with just 17 days to go, the rug has been pulled.

"The asymmetric nature of border controls facing exports and imports distorts the market and places many UK producers at a competitive disadvantage with EU producers.”

Shadow Cabinet Office minister Baroness Chapman said: "This announcement shows what we have all known for months - that the government do not have a workable, sustainable answer to tackling delays and red tape at the border...

"We cannot have another year of stop-gap solutions, meaningless deadlines, and threats of even greater disruption and economic damage."