UK Delays Health and Safety Checks on EU Imports Amid Post-Brexit Border Control Concerns

The government has delayed introducing more checks on EU goods entering the UK over fears it will disrupt supply chains and add to rising inflation.

Amid concerns over potential disruption and system readiness, the UK government has reportedly informed port health authorities of its decision to delay the commencement of health and safety checks on imports from the European Union (EU) as part of new post-Brexit border controls.

According to reports, a presentation prepared by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) emphasised the risk of “significant disruption” if the new measures were implemented on schedule, citing system unpreparedness.

To mitigate the risk of delays and disruption, the government outlined plans to initially set the rate of checks to zero for all commodity groups. This decision comes after multiple delays in implementing border controls, primarily due to concerns about potential disruption and inflationary pressures.

Defra’s presentation acknowledged existing “challenges” within its systems for registering imports of food and animal products, which could lead to unmanageable levels of inspections and overwhelm ports.

While the duration of the suspension of border checks was not specified, the presentation indicated a phased approach, with checks progressively activated for different product groups.

Business organizations have advocated for postponing the introduction of new border checks until at least October, citing concerns about system readiness and potential disruptions.

The government’s final phase of changes, scheduled for October, will include the requirement for safety and security declarations for medium- and high-risk imports. Additionally, a single trade window will be introduced to streamline import processes and reduce administrative burdens on traders.

Currently, goods arriving from the island of Ireland do not require physical checks, but the government has indicated that these checks will be introduced at a later date, possibly after October 31.

A spokesperson for Defra emphasized the government’s commitment to prioritizing goods posing the highest biosecurity risk as it gradually implements new border checks. The approach aims to minimize disruption, protect biosecurity, and support traders throughout the transition process.

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UK Delays Health and Safety Checks on EU Imports Amid Post-Brexit Border Control Concerns