Goods brought from the EU into the UK will not be subject to sanitary and phyto-sanitary checks until at least January 2024, the Government has said, as it confirmed post-Brexit checks are to be delayed for a fifth time.
In an update on its Border Target Operating Model, the Government said the implementation has been pushed back ‘having listened to the views of industry.’ However, the British Poultry Council (BPC) said the move would fuel food inflation. The planned three month delay was first reported in the Financial Times at the start of August.
“The Government has agreed to a delay of three months for the introduction of remaining sanitary and phytosanitary controls, as well as full customs controls for non-qualifying Northern Ireland goods, which will now be introduced from January 2024,” the government said in a statement. “To give stakeholders additional time to prepare for the new checks, further controls have a revised timetable. These include checks on medium risk animal products, plants, plant products and high risk food (and feed) of non-animal origin from the EU, implemented in April 2024, and safety and Security declarations for EU imports, implemented in October 2024.”
The BPC condemned the move, claiming it would undercut domestic production with cheap imports and push up UK food prices.
BPC Chief Executive, Richard Griffiths, said: “The concerns that importers have expressed are what BPC members have endured since Day One. Additional administration, like OV-signed export health certificates, have cost industry £55 million a year since leaving the single market and customs union. The repeated failure to implement full import controls on product coming into the UK from the EU means EU exporters have paid £0 in certification costs, handing them the competitive advantage.
By no means do we ‘want’ checks, per se. We ‘want’ to fix problems putting pressure on production costs and our supply chains. That starts with equalising trade between importers and exporters.”
The cost of not having reciprocal checks is greater than the burdens that come with them. To preserve the viability of British poultry meat businesses, we must make relations with our largest and most important trading partner as efficient as possible by establishing fair and reciprocated checks to equalise trade between importers and exporters – particularly in the absence of an SPS Agreement, in which these burdens could be addressed and checks potentially scrapped altogether, Griffiths added.