Following reports that post-Brexit border checks for EU imports are to be delayed (for the fifth time), Andrew Thurston, Customs Duty & Indirect Tax Consultant at MHA, says inflation has led to the government’s latest border check postponement, but frustration among businesses will be growing with each delay:
“Another post-Brexit border check delay will be no surprise. The government is reluctant to place additional costs on businesses and risk pushing inflation higher. The most likely scenario is that border checks will be delayed by 3-6 months. Those businesses that invested time and money to prepare for the checks, only to see them delayed again, will be frustrated. We should be encouraging firms to think ahead but those who did repeatedly see their good efforts go to waste. While unlikely, there will be businesses who would welcome some form of compensation, particularly as this is the fifth delay to border checks.
“It is very important to understand that the risk for businesses from these checks (when they finally arrive) is not so much additional cost but administrative pitfalls. For example, exporters could see costs of around £200-£250 per consignment once checks are implemented. Yet the addition of any new certification increases the likelihood of errors and delays. Especially if you deal in fresh produce, getting held up at a port can spell trouble for the whole consignment potentially ruining it.”
Government can’t keep kicking border checks down the road
“Smaller businesses with a high exposure to the EU will need to make sure that their certification is up to date regularly. Animal product businesses in particular will need to have several additional documents, including veterinary certificates,” Thurston concludes.