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British Government Delays Border Controls

On 11th March, Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove announced in a written statement, that import controls have been delayed at the British borders for at least six months in order to provide businesses with more time to prepare for the new regulations.

This has come as a response to businesses’ concerns related to the new rules and Covid-19. "We have listened to businesses who have made a strong case that they need more time to prepare”, he said.

The delays announced in the government’s revised timetable, will impact key areas such as checks on Agri-food and Feed (delayed until 1st October 2021), Entry Safety and Security (ENS) declarations, and checks on live animals and plant products (delayed until March 2022).

Customs Declarations

Businesses currently have 6 months after the goods have been imported to submit the full import customs declaration, up until 1st July 2021. Import declarations will continue to be required, however, the deferred declaration scheme will be extended until 1st January 2022. From 1st January 2022 businesses will have to submit a full import customs declaration prior to the goods arriving in the UK.

Business Concerns

Andrew Opie, policy director of food and sustainability at the British Retail Consortium, told the Guardian last week that the delays had come “in the nick of time”.

He emphasised: “Until the infrastructure is in place, with IT systems ready and established processes for checks and paperwork, it would be foolhardy to introduce full requirements for export health certificate documentation, pre-notification of imports, physical checks and more”.

Business imports and exports have been impacted significantly by the new regulation since January 2021.

The Manufacturing organisation Make UK said, “almost three-quarters (74%) of companies have experienced or are experiencing difficulties in the past 3 months”. Among these, “over half (51%) say this has led to increased costs and over a third (35%) have lost revenue with one in five losing potential business”.

Make UK’s CEO Stephen Phipson also raised concerns:

“The government needs to move smooth out difficulties at UK ports so that shipments can easily be delivered. We are encouraged that the government is already working to train more high-quality customs officials and to give more assistance with customs paperwork, but this needs to be driven forward at speed to give the quickest possible assistance to British companies already struggling to get back to normal as trade recovers from the Covid pandemic”.

Government support

Michael Gove said that the government would "continue to engage extensively with businesses to support them to adjust to the new requirements already in place and to prepare for the new requirements”.

In the next couple months, it will be critical for border and business to take action, in order to be ready for the new timetable.

GMCC Support

The Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce is also committed to helping businesses overcome the current challenges, and thus we are offering the services bellow:

For further information please contact the team at

Sources: Make UK and The Guardian

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