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UK Government Delays Brexit Import Checks

The UK government has announced its decision to delay the introduction of post-Brexit import checks by six months.

Checks were originally due to be introduced from 1 April and from 1 July. However, following weeks of concern that the introduction of new formalities would result in the collapse of supply chains and product shortages, these delays have been introduced to give hauliers and businesses more time to adapt.

In a statement to the House of Commons, the minister for the Cabinet Office Michael Gove said:

“Although we recognise many businesses have been investing time and energy to be ready on time, and indeed we in government were confident of being ready on time, we have listened to businesses that have made a strong case that they need more time to prepare.”

He also added that the disruption that has been caused by COVID was a key factor in the government’s decision, highlighting the need to ensure the UK economy is able to recover fully.

Pre-notification requirements for products of animal origin (POAOs), certain animal by-products (ABPs) and high-risk food not of animal origin, as well as export health certificates for POAOs and ABPS, will now be implemented in October instead of April. Control procedures originally scheduled for 1 July and the deferred declaration scheme will not come into force until January 1 2022.

Road Haulage Association (RHA) Chief Executive Richard Burnett welcomes the decision and says the announcement will buy extra time for hauliers who are still dealing with the additional red tape that has beset them since the end of the transition period. He has, however, raised some concerns about whether operators will even be ready by October 1 due to a shortage of skilled customs agents and veterinarians across the EU to complete the relevant documentation.

“Despite these reservations, I am pleased that Mr Gove and his team have acknowledged the many challenges currently being faced by British hauliers and traders and we look forward to working with government to resolve the issues.”

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