Plans to delay controls, as reported in the Financial Times, defers, rather than confronts, the consequences of the Brexit that this Government said they would deliver, the British Poultry Council (BPC) said.
BPC chief executive Richard Griffiths said British poultry meat exporters had just seven days to prepare for the conditions of the Trade and Co-operation Agreement, signed on December 24, 2020.
Mr Griffiths said: “We all want to avoid the stress import checks risk posing on food supply chains but the impact of having unreciprocated, unfair checks is just as great a problem.
“EU firms sending product into the UK continue to enjoy a competitive advantage over British businesses sending goods the other way. A repeated failure to implement full UK border controls is helping UK competition.”
He continued: “Delaying controls both imposes more burdens on UK exporters and hands the EU a clear commercial advantage. Citing “supply chain stress” as the reason for delaying controls is redundant; a good portion of this supply chain stress is underpinned by the costly, burdensome bureaucracy faced when trading with the EU.
“Continually putting UK producers at a competitive disadvantage via an ongoing lack of reciprocity means there is real risk of normalising unfair trade with our largest and most important trading partner.”
Mr Griffiths said a level playing field is crucial for fair and competitive trade.
“Government must engage with the realities of third country trade and recognise this: either remove checks for product entering the EU from the UK or apply full controls from 1st July to ensure a fair, competitive marketplace,” Mr Griffiths said.
“Kicking the can down the road is only adding more burden to British businesses and putting them at a commercial disadvantage. We don’t want to end up in a position where the Government finds it has simply put off the disruption it maintains that it wants to avoid.”