The Daily Telegraph
Border checks on EU goods delayed until mid-2022
BORIS JOHNSON has been accused of boosting Britain’s European competitors as the Government yesterday confirmed new border checks will not be fully implemented until mid-2022.
British exporters last night hit out at ministers after Lord Frost announced the deadline for implementing checks on EU agrifoods and products of animal origin entering the UK from the bloc would be delayed again.
It is the second delay to the new border regime, which was also pushed back by six months in March, despite UK exporters to the EU being affected by post-brexit red tape from January.
The decision was taken after businesses reliant on European imports said red tape would exacerbate the supply chain crisis in the run-up to Christmas.
But it also means EU firms will enjoy a lighter-touch customs regime up to 18 months after the UK left the bloc, which critics argue will prolong the “competitive disadvantage” faced by their British competitors exporting the other way.
In a statement, Lord Frost said the Government had been “on track” to have the infrastructure and personnel ready at ports and border posts, but argued the move was necessary to ease pressure on businesses.
“The pandemic has had longerlasting impacts on businesses, both in the UK and in the EU, than many observers expected in March,” he said.
“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.”
Additional paperwork requirements for EU agrifood imports, due to commence in three weeks’ time, will be pushed back to January next year, while new export certificates will be pushed back further until July. The full raft of physical checks on EU agrifoods, due in January, will also be pushed back to July, although some customs controls and checks will be implemented as planned.
Minette Batters, of the National Farmers’ Union, said the delay would do little to address the “long-term trade frictions farmers are experiencing. Negotiators must seek to achieve a level playing field with equitable checks on imports and exports as quickly as possible.”