The British government announced on Tuesday it will delay import controls for months on goods from the European Union (EU) to Britain to give businesses more time to adjust because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Trend reports citing Xinhua.
Full customs declarations and controls will be introduced on Jan. 1, 2022 as previously announced, although safety and security declarations will now not be required until July 1, 2022, according to a statement from the Cabinet Office.
Under the revised timetable, the requirements for pre-notification of Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) goods, which were due to be introduced on Oct. 1, 2021, will now be introduced on Jan. 1, 2022.
The new requirements for Export Health Certificates, which were due to be introduced on Oct. 1, 2021, will now be introduced on July 1, 2022.
Phytosanitary Certificates and physical checks on SPS goods at Border Control Posts, due to be introduced on Jan. 1, 2022, will now be introduced on July 1, 2022, according to the statement.
The new timetable came as the COVID-19 pandemic has affected supply chains in Britain and across Europe. This is being felt particularly by the agri-food sector, where new requirements on importing products of animal origin were due to be introduced from next month, the statement said.
“We want businesses to focus on their recovery from the pandemic rather than have to deal with new requirements at the border, which is why we’ve set out a pragmatic new timetable for introducing full border controls. Businesses will now have more time to prepare for these controls which will be phased in throughout 2022,” said David Frost, minister of state at the Cabinet Office.
In response to the new governmental measures, Sean McGuire, Europe director of the Confederation of British Industry, said: “Additional time could help to relieve pressure on supply chains ahead of the traditionally busy Christmas period for retailers, especially given current headwinds. But the impact will be fleeting unless that extra time delivers progress on the challenges firms are facing.”
McGuire called on both sides to consider business’ suggestion for a bespoke veterinary agreement and Britain should use the immigration levers within its gift to alleviate short-term pressures where supply bottlenecks are caused by labour shortages.
Britain departed from the EU on Jan. 31 last year but entered a 11-month transition period to be cushioned from the real impact of Brexit by remaining in the EU customs union and the single market.