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Border controls for incoming goods from the EU postponed again

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Published: 14 Sep 2021 Update History

The coronavirus pandemic, global freight transport costs and other pressures on agri-food supply chains are cited as reasons for a further delay to introducing border controls for incoming goods from the EU.

Following the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020, the UK was set to introduce the same border controls on incoming goods from the EU as goods from the rest of the world. To ensure a smooth transition, the introduction of full border controls was originally timetabled to come into effect from 1 July 2021.

To enable recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, it was announced on 11 March 2021 that the timeline for the introduction of full border control processes would be pushed back to 1 January 2022. However, from 1 October 2021 pre-notification requirements for products of animal origin, certain animal by-products and "high risk" foods which are not of animal origin would be introduced with export health certificates required for some of those products (originally planned to come into force from 1 April 2021).

Recognising that the agri-food sector in particular continues to be affected by supply chain issues following the pandemic, a written ministerial statement on 14 September 2021 has set out further revisions to the timetable:

  • The requirement for pre-notification of agri-food imports will be introduced on 1 January 2022, rather than 1 October 2021.
  • The new requirements for export health certificates will be introduced on 1 July 2022, rather than 1 October 2021.
  • Phytosanitary certificates and physical checks on sanitary and phytosanitary goods at border control posts will be introduced on 1 July 2022, rather than 1 January 2022.
  • The requirement for safety and security declarations on imports will be introduced on 1 July 2022, rather than 1 January 2022.

Business should note, however, that the timetable for the removal of the current easements in relation to full customs controls and the introduction of customs checks remains unchanged and will be introduced as planned on 1 January 2022.

Frank Haskew, ICAEW’s Head of Tax, commented: “Supply chains in the agri-foods sector remain under pressure and importers have been concerned about being ready for these new certification requirements. These extended dates for introducing the new rules will provide a valuable beathing space for businesses and help to avoid supply chain issues in the run up to Christmas”.

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