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UK Government set to announce delay to post-Brexit checks on EU imports

According to a report published by the Financial Times on 3th August, the introduction of a new regime for checks on imports of animal and plant goods from the EU (and the rest of the world), scheduled to come into force in October this year, will be further delayed.

The new regime was originally due to be introduced in 2021 as part of the post-Brexit changes to the UK's trading arrangements but was delayed to allow more time to fine-tune arrangements and allow for a smoother transition. Checks on exports into the EU have been in place since January 2021, causing some UK food producers to complain about the lack of a level playing field.

The Target Operating Model Draft Plan

On 5th April, The Border Target Operating Model: Draft for Feedback was published by the Cabinet Office.

The proposed timeline for the Border Target Operating Model was as follows:

31 October 2023 - Export health certificates and phytosanitary certificates are introduced for medium risk animal products and plant and plant products imported to GB from the EU.

End of 2023 - permanent waivers introduced from the requirement to submit Safety and Security declarations on certain categories of low-risk movements - fish which have been caught in UK territorial seas and landed outside of the UK, outbound transit and certain outbound freeport goods.

1 January 2024 - Documentary checks and physical and identity checks at the border are introduced for medium risk animal products, plant and plant products imported to GB from the EU. The global model of controls is introduced for rest of the world imports, Health certificates will no longer be required for low-risk goods and pre notification will no longer be required for low risk plant and plant products.

31 October 2024 - Safety and Security declarations are required for EU imports. Alongside this, use of the UK Single Trade Window will remove duplication across pre-arrival datasets where possible.

The main drivers for the new delay are claimed as being a desire to give businesses (both UK importers and EU exporters) more time to get used to the new rules and to implement the required arrangements, as well as concerns that additional costs caused by Target Operating Model would be passed on to consumers in increased prices at a time when the government’s number one priority is fighting inflation.

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