Adam Henson warns of threat of foreign imports to UK farming
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The news comes as the EU has already introduced a series of checks on goods travelling from Britain to the bloc. Companies and businesses that import goods from the bloc could face hundreds of pounds of extra charges upon the introduction of the next level of checks. From July, numerous goods will be subjected to the new conditions, adding another level of paperwork, bureaucracy and cost to imports.
Animal and plant products such as food being imported from the EU will need export health certificates and could be stopped for costly inspections by border authorities.
The chief executive of the British Ports Association, Richard Ballantyne has warned that the move towards physical checks, for example, paying for vet inspections and cleaning could run into the hundreds of pounds, per inspection.
Speaking of the situation, Mr Ballantyne said: “If your goods are inspected, there is a cost … that obviously is then passed on to the importer and ultimately, that is passed on to manufacturers and consumers.”
He added: “If you’re thinking about transporting a lorry from the Continent to here, that might be quite substantial.”
With the new customs rules of Brexit on food products entering the UK from EU taking effect from January 1, the British Frozen Food Federation indicated that January will be a difficult month as the UK could face food shortages.
It is pertinent to mention that the UK is reliant on EU imports for fresh fruits and vegetables.
Richard Harrow, chief executive of the British Frozen Food Association said: “At least 90 percent lettuce and 85 percent tomatoes come from the EU, which will be largely disrupted due to substantial delays at ports due to inadequate planning to secure steady supply chain flow.”
The latest set of post-Brexit trading rules was brought in on January 1 with the new customs controls causing only minor problems.
The rollout of the latest rules has largely been smooth but port sources say some lorries have been turned back over problems inputting data.
However, the changes on July 1 are expected to be more disruptive, potentially leading to higher costs for consumers and firms rethinking supply.
James Sibley, head of international affairs at Federation of Small Businesses, speaking to The Telegraph said: “The changes that we saw on New Year’s Day carry administrative burdens but what’s coming in July is another level.
“You will have a physical inspection of products of animal origin at border inspection posts, which could be very disruptive. Then also with your suppliers, you’re relying on them to provide these export health certificates which if they don’t, basically the system doesn’t work.”
He added that smaller firms will be less able to absorb the “quite high costs” associated with the inspections.
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While the EU imposed full post-Brexit border rules last year, the UK has phased in and repeatedly delayed its checks amid fears of trade disruption.
A Government spokesman said: “We have always looked to take a pragmatic approach when introducing import controls, balancing the need to allow more time for businesses to recover from the pandemic and maintaining our high biosecurity standards.
“That is why we will be phasing in full sanitary and phytosanitary checks from 1 July 2022 and we will continue to work closely with traders to ensure these are introduced smoothly.”
Many analysts have dealt a scathing attack on the extra costs and loss of business that has followed Brexit, suggesting small companies have lost out financially.
The changes in regulations for exporting British goods has seen the reaction by such industry leaders hit hardest.
Exports to Ireland, the UK’s biggest overseas market, fell 21.2 percent compared to 2020 and 25.1 percent compared to 2019 – a loss of nearly £0.75bn.
Exports to non-EU markets grew 11 percent compared to 2020, with the FDF saying this was driven by a return to strong growth in China, Canada, Singapore, Japan and the Gulf. However, this is not sufficient to offset the decline seen since 2019, and sales were still down by around 4 percent hen compared to that year.
Mark English, a former head of media for the European Commission in London, told The National Wales: “Another Brexit triumph … blatantly obvious you can’t replace exports to Europe of often perishable food and drink with exports to the other side of the world, even if there was enough demand and/or tariff-free access… there is often neither!”
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