The UK governments range of new import control measures are nearing as we close in on their introduction in October 2023. These measures are designed to ensure that goods imported into the UK meet the necessary standards and regulations (we leave this as no comment…for now).
These new measures will cover a wide range of goods, including food, animals, plants, chemicals, and machinery. They will require businesses to provide documentation to prove that their goods meet the required standards. In some cases, businesses may also need to have their goods inspected by a third party.
Although the government has said that the new measures are necessary to protect consumers and businesses from unsafe and substandard goods, the UK itself is seeking to diverge further from EU standards which appear to be substantially higher.
They have also said that the measures will help to level the playing field for UK businesses and make it easier for them to export their goods to the EU. However as a mainly importing country we should be aware that even higher prices than now for our foods can be expected.
Talking in Farming Weekly this week, Shane Brennan, chief executive of the Cold Chain Federation, which represents the temperature-controlled supply chain in the UK, warned there would be disruption as a result.
“It’s not about us being ready, it’s about European food producers being ready,” he said.
“They don’t have any awareness of this stuff. We are telling them now, but they’re only going to listen when it actually happens and they suddenly realise Brexit hasn’t happened at all for them yet.
“It’s going to be a pretty rude awakening.”
The controls have been postponed four times over the past 18 months already for fear of the consequences, but this time it looks likely the extra checks will go ahead, despite the problems it’s going to create. If EU food producers aren’t sufficiently prepared we will, once again, see more shortages. The problem is for UK consumers is that our own internal food supply chain is already under staffed and under cost pressure. Many already struggling have either decided to pivot to other business ventures or have simply closed.
Those that are involved in the industry have expressed concerns about the cost and complexity of the new measures and also the support needed in vital areas such as veterinary, where there are a severe lack of resources. Brexit continues to impact heavily on UK exporters, and now it’s the turn of UK importers.
The government has said that it will provide support to businesses to help them comply with the new measures. This support will include guidance, training, and financial assistance but it’s unclear how this can prevent increased prices at consumer level appearing at our shelves.
The new import control measures are a significant development in the UK’s post-Brexit relationship with the EU and due to the major impact on businesses importing goods into the UK, It is important for businesses to start planning now. This will ensure they are ready to comply with the new measures when they come into force in September 2023 and can examine their contingency strategies when it comes to border delays.
Here are some of the specific measures that will be introduced in September 2023:
Physical checks: Businesses will need to provide documentation to prove that their goods meet the required standards. In some cases, businesses may also need to have their goods inspected by a third party.
Risk-based targeting: The government will use a risk-based approach to decide which goods will be subject to physical checks. This means that some goods will be more likely to be checked than others.
Data sharing: Businesses will need to share data with the government to help them target their checks. This data will include information about the goods being imported, the supplier, and the destination.
Penalties: Businesses that fail to comply with the new measures could face penalties, including fines and seizures.
In the end despite what the media has said, Brexit still hasn’t been ‘done’. Come September though we will start to see what having 3rd country status with the EU really means.
If you need any advice or assistance with these forthcoming regulations do not hesitate to speak to our customs team here who are working daily with businesses to prepare them for these changes.
The Jordon Team