LONDON – Britain has delayed the second imposition of some post-Brexit import controls, saying it would phase out checks through next year, rather than implementing them now when the industry’s supply chain is under strain.
The UK left the EU single market in early 2021 and the introduction of immediate checks on British goods going to Europe has hit sales badly.
The logistics industry warned it would face problems stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic and a shortage of truckers until Christmas by introducing import checks on goods arriving in the UK.
After a six-month delay in their introduction from April 1, the government has now pushed back the requirement for full customs declarations and controls to January 1, 2022. Safety and security declarations will be required from 1 July next year.
Industry sources in the logistics and customs sector have said that the government’s infrastructure was not ready to conduct a full investigation by October 1.
While the move would be welcomed by some in the logistics industry, the food and beverage trade body attacked the government for the late announcement. The new checks on food products were to be implemented in 17 days.
“The repeated failure to implement full UK border controls on EU imports from January 1, 2021 undermines trust and confidence among businesses,” said Food and Drink Federation head Ian Wright. “Worse, it actually helps the UK’s competitors.”
The industry argues that while European producers can still sell to Britain without the additional cost and hassle of full customs duties, British producers face the opposite. It says that first-half sales of food and drink in Germany, Spain and Italy were up almost half as of 2019.
The government said it has introduced a new “practical” timetable to give companies time to recover from the pandemic.
British businesses and customers have complained in recent months that labor shortages in logistics, driving and warehouses have led to protracted delays in deliveries, with some supermarkets and restaurants struggling to stock the entire chain.
“Traders will now have more time to prepare for these controls that will be phased out throughout 2022,” said Brexit Minister David Frost.
Britain opted for a full customs threshold with scrutiny of goods and lengthy paperwork, due to the nature of the divorce it agreed with Brussels, opting for full autonomy over its regulatory matters as opposed to closer alignment with the bloc.
by Kate Holton
This News Originally From – The Epoch Times