Irish food exporters could benefit from more leeway before full controls come into force on goods entering the UK market. The UK government is reportedly considering delaying the implementation of comprehensive checks on incoming agricultural products from EU countries, which were due to be in place from July 1.
British ministers are actively considering whether to delay the introduction of full controls on imports from the EU for the fourth time, the Financial Times has reported. This follows warnings about pressures on supply chains and inflation if the new controls take place.
The newspaper reported that senior Downing Street officials were “sympathetic” to the idea of a further extension, particularly in light of inflationary pressures.
UK exports to the EU have been subject to full EU border controls since the first day of Brexit in January 2020, while imports from European competitors have enjoyed much smoother entry into the Kingdom -United. UK import controls were first delayed in June 2020, followed by further extensions in March 2021 and again in September 2021.
The potential extension was “good news for Irish food exporters”, according to Carol Lynch, partner at BDO in Dublin.
If confirmed, it will mean that full physical checks of animals, food and plants and the need for additional documentation and pre-notification of shipments, which are to be phased in from July 1, will be delayed.
“UK food exporters have faced this since January 1, 2021 and have found it very expensive to export their products to the EU,” she said.
In general, Irish exporters of goods to the UK have been exempted for the time being from the imposition of new UK import and customs controls which apply to imports from other EU countries since the beginning of this year.
This means that Irish exporters to the UK do not yet have to complete customs declarations and checks before boarding ferries to the UK. It is unclear for how long this additional wiggle room will apply.