Government Delays Expected Import Controls

Jacob Rees-Mogg announced last week that the remaining import controls on EU goods will no longer be introduced this year, which includes those due to go live on 1st July 2022.

In a written statement, the Minister for Brexit Opportunities and Government Efficiency referred to the war in Ukraine, energy increases and the rise in cost of living as key factors for this decision, going on to suggest that this decision will save British businesses up to £1 billion in annual costs.

Rees-Mogg suggested that businesses can stop their preparations for July now. Instead, the government will set out their new regime of border import controls by publishing a Target Operating Model this Autumn, with any new procedures expected to go live at the end of 2023.

Import controls that have already been introduced will remain in place, but the following controls planned for introduction from July 2022 will not be introduced:

  • A requirement for further Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) checks on EU imports currently at destination to be moved to Border Control Post (BCP).
  • A requirement for safety and security declarations on EU imports.
  • A requirement for further health certification and SPS checks for EU imports.
  • Prohibitions and restrictions on the import of chilled meats from the EU.

While this may be good news for importers, this news has angered many of the UK’s port operators. To support the government’s original plans, they have reportedly invested over £100 million in facilities as preparation for 1st July.

Port associations are seeking urgent engagement with the government, with some suggesting legal action to recover what they fear is now wasted time and costs to develop white elephants.

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