What’s the score with border checks on imports from the EU?
Full border checks on imports to Great Britain will no longer be immediately introduced on January 1 when the Brexit transition period ends.
The U-turn blamed on the economic chaos caused by the coronavirus pandemic means checks will instead be phased in over six months.
The “flexible and pragmatic approach” announced by the Cabinet Office means businesses need three key dates in their diaries for next year:
– January 1:
All goods will be eligible for tariff payments from this date, but traders will have six months to complete customs declarations and make the payments on standard goods, such as clothing and electronics.
But controlled goods such as alcohol and tobacco will not get the exemption and will need to be declared in full right away.
Physical checks will also be required at destination on all high-risk live animals and plants.
– April 1:
Meat, pet food, honey, milk, egg products and all other products of animal origin will require pre-notification and the relevant health documentation. So too will regulated plants and plant products.
– July 1:
Tariff payments and declarations at the point of importation will be required, as will full safety and security declarations, while there will be an increase in physical checks.
Inspections for animals, plants and their products will begin taking place at Britain’s border control posts.
– What about Northern Ireland?
The Cabinet Office’s new plan affects only trade between Great Britain and the EU. It does not cover trade between NI and the Republic of Ireland, or NI and Britain.
The department said those trade routes would be covered by the NI protocol of the Withdrawal Agreement, which says there will be no customs requirements for goods going directly from the nation to the EU.
– What about exports to the bloc?
Brussels will determine the factors surrounding checks on exports to the EU.