Food disruptions feared as new rules kick in

UK companies confronted with New Year Brexit import controls

From January 1, British firms are confronted with the much-delayed post-Brexit border control checks, which will affect businesses importing $314 billion of goods a year from the European Union. EU businesses sending goods to Britain will now need to supply full customs declarations while traders will also have to prove that goods are allowed to enter tariff-free under rules of origin requirements.

Britain's departure from the world's biggest trading bloc has already had an impact on British exports to Europe, after the government's Brexit deal meant companies had to fill out lengthy documents and pay fees to move goods across the border. cites a survey by the British Chambers of Commerce in October, that showed that 45% of companies found it very or relatively difficult to trade goods with the EU, up from 30% in January when the deal came into effect.

A leading food industry body has warned that the new border controls could lead to food shortages. The British Frozen Food Federation said this week the new restrictions on animal and plant products from the EU could result in major delays at ports in the New Year because some in the supply chain -- especially logistics companies on the EU side -- may not be prepared for the changes.

“We are concerned that not enough planning has been done to ensure the new requirements are understood by everyone in the food supply chain,” said Richard Harrow, the federation’s chief executive.

The new measures require businesses to complete the correct paperwork at least four hours before goods can arrive at U.K. borders, or they risk being turned back at the border. Animal and plant-based products must also have statements of origin certificates.


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