UK delays post-Brexit border checks on EU imports

In a written statement released on Tuesday 14 September, the government announced that it will delay border checks on goods coming from the EU until next year, advising that the ‘revised timetable will give businesses more time to adjust to new processes.’

The statement included:

The pandemic has had longer-lasting impacts on businesses, both in the UK and in the European Union, than many observers expected in March. There are also pressures on global supply chains, caused by a wide range of factors including the pandemic and the increased costs of global freight transport. These pressures are being especially felt in the agrifood sector.

In these circumstances, the Government has decided to delay further some elements of the new controls, especially those relating to Sanitary and Phytosanitary goods. Accordingly:

  • The requirement for pre-notification of agri-food imports will be introduced on 1 January 2022 as opposed to 1 October 2021.
  • The new requirements for Export Health Certificates, which were due to be introduced on 1 October 2021, will now be introduced on 1 July 2022.
  • Phytosanitary Certificates and physical checks on SPS goods at Border Control Posts, due to be introduced on 1 January 2022, will now be introduced on 1 July 2022.
  • The requirement for Safety and Security declarations on imports will be introduced as of 1 July 2022 as opposed to 1 January 2022.

The timetable for the removal of the current easements in relation to full customs controls and the introduction of customs checks remains unchanged from the planned 1 January 2022.

William Bain, Head of Trade Policy at the BCC, said:

“Border arrangements for inbound goods to Great Britain need to be well planned, certain, efficient and deliverable to minimise supply chain disruption.

“The announcement of this delay is sensible given the ongoing issues with ensuring trader readiness, the need to build more border control posts and the skills shortages crisis. Food checks would come in at the time of year with the lowest imports from the EU.

But businesses want certainty from Government. Ministers need to show them how they plan to step up rates of EU trader readiness for the new controls.

“They also need to know when the remaining border infrastructure, needed across all of Great Britain’s ports, will be completed and operational.

“And finally, they need to deliver efficient border arrangements for inbound goods to meet this new timetable.”