حفلة 2024

Post-Brexit border checks challenge U.K. industry

U.K. businesses are raising alarms about potential post-Brexit trade disruptions, attributing this to E.U. exporters’ lack of preparedness for U.K. customs changes starting this month and the potential unpreparedness of Britain’s port infrastructure, Reuters reported on Tuesday.
In January 2021, Britain exited the European Union’s single market and has continually postponed the implementation of checks on E.U. imports.
On the other hand, the E.U. promptly applied its rules, causing port delays in 2021, which led some British exporters to initially stop selling to the bloc.
Make U.K., a representative body for manufacturers, reported in December that 90% of surveyed firms continue to encounter difficulties in conducting business with the E.U., primarily due to customs and clearance issues.
Marco Forgione, the Director General of the Institute of Export and International Trade, said that while large E.U. firms are likely to adapt to Britain’s new rules, smaller entities, like specialist food exporters, could face challenges.

He added that some of them might decide it has become too complicated to trade with the U.K. and stop exporting, which leads to price pressure and the possibility of scarcity.
Due to concerns about port disruptions and the cost-of-living crisis, Britain has delayed the complete enforcement of its post-Brexit border controls on food and fresh products five times.
However, the new Border Target Operating Model (BTOM) will be implemented starting January 31 in three stages, where E.U. exporters of animal and plant products, including items like eggs, dairy, meat, and berries, must submit Export Health Certificates (EHCs) to U.K. authorities.
Physical inspections of shipments will commence on April 30, and by October 31, exporters will need to provide safety and security certificates.
William Bain, the Trade Policy Head at the British Chambers of Commerce, warned of potential congestion and delays when inspections commence in April.
During the winter, up to 70% of Britain’s fresh food comes from the E.U., a figure that drops to around 30% in the warmer months. Every day, as many as 1,000 trucks arrive at its ports.
Bain expressed concerns about the government’s approach to enforcement, questioning whether the government would block materials lacking an electronic EHC at the UK border or allow entry and then enforce regulations by contacting the involved companies afterwards. He noted that the government has not clarified its intended actions.
The British Meat Processors Association fears that insufficient veterinary resources in the E.U. could cause delays in health certification.
James Barnes, the Horticultural Trades Association’s chair, expressed concerns about the U.K.’s new border infrastructure, processes, and IT systems potentially not being ready by April, a crucial month for plant shipments.
However, the government assured that all systems and infrastructure are set or on course to be ready by April, with careful implementation of checks to prevent delays.

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