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UK delays more Brexit border checks

Paperwork requirements due in October have been delayed and  physical inspections of EU food imports due to start in January 2022 have now been put back to July 2022, with requirement to pre-notify border staff of arriving food products also been delayed, the government announced this week.

Introducing the new import checks was likely to put additional pressure on supply chains at a time when supermarkets are already struggling with shortages. But the delay is unlikely to provide any real benefit to retailers, as it merely delays the change and creates more uncertainty for retailers, who are having to deal with an ever-changing legal environment.

The trade believe that repeated delays to implement full UK border controls on EU imports since the 1st January of this year, undermines trust and confidence in the government’s director and the uneven nature of border controls distorts the market and places many UK shippers and producers at a competitive disadvantage with their EU counterparts.

From October, food products from the EU were also due to require extra paperwork to enter the UK, but that requirement will now come into force 1st January 2022. 

Goods being imported from the EU will still have to be accompanied by customs declarations, a new paperwork requirement coming into force on the 1st January 2022.

The UK logistics industry had warned of a shortfall of veterinary professionals in the EU to provide the necessary documentation for food, and also about a lack of readiness of infrastructure at Britain’s ports to handle the new customs checks, though the government dispute this.

Full UK/EU border checks

HMRC’s original  six-month delay on declarations for imported goods from 1st January aimed to reduce strain on the system and provide importers sufficient time to adjust to post-Brexit procedures, but many are already struggling to cope with the easements already in place and, as many importers are new to the customs environment they may not realise their agent used the delayed declaration scheme and they will have failed to retain sufficient records or copies of E2/C88s, providing proof of authorisation to import or export.

UK exporters have been subject full EU border controls since the beginning of the years, but are UK importers of European goods “sleepwalking” into disaster, as the UK’s second six-month moratorium on customs declarations comes to an end on the 1st January 2022.

The delayed declaration scheme process is actually quite complex and, we believe, fundamentally problematic, which is why we would opt for full clearance and consequently no offset liability to HMRC.

Our customs advice and solutions are optimised continuously, in line with the regimes in force on both sides of the Channel; preparing and submitting customs declarations, for efficient and compliant border processing in either direction. 

Contact us now to learn more about HMRC’s schemes and ensure that your EU supply chains will not be interrupted when full UK/EU border controls are implemented on the 1st January 2022.