Boris Johnson’s government will delay checks on EU goods entering the UK until mid-2022, but UK goods entering the EU will be fully screened.
The development is a huge boost for Irish food exporters and the national food industry, taking into account the food import / export balance Ireland-United Kingdom of a value of 1.1 billion euros per year to this country. The latest decision by the London government eases the threatens the loss of tens of thousands of jobs in the Irish food industry.
The move will delay a request from Irish exporters to the UK for more “administrative papers” from at least October 1 to January.
Given that so many Irish livelihoods depend on the outcome of this Brexit mess, no one wants to be too triumphant, but it’s hard to avoid noting that the UK’s demand for a divorce from the EU was meant to “take back control” – and for now at least they’re doing the exact opposite.
On a more positive Irish note, for the first time Since the decision to leave British voters in June 2016, there is a welcome sign of a thaw in Brussels-London relations. The public “mouth war” continues, but actions on the ground suggest that both sides are seeking a more pragmatic outcome.
This major delay in the UK’s border control regime appeared quietly in a written response to a parliamentary question from Brexit Minister David Frost on a topical day dominated by Covid-19 issues.
“We want businesses to focus on their recovery from the pandemic rather than having to face new demands at the border,” Mr. Frost said.
He added that the new timetable for border controls was “pragmatic”.
Mr Frost said the delay in checks, which will particularly affect food and agricultural products, was a response to supply chain issues, which he blamed on the Covid-19 pandemic.
Critics of the UK government have argued that Brexit has exacerbated pandemic problems, particularly Britain’s labor shortage. Britain’s Labor Party has said the delays in border checks were mainly due to the London government’s inability to tackle Brexit supply chain issues.
Some Brussels diplomats have said the UK border control regime is not yet quite ready for a new post-Brexit import-export system, but Mr Frost insisted that his government was “on the right track” in providing the new systems required.
According to his proposals, customs declarations and controls will be introduced on January 1, but safety and security declarations will not apply until July 1.
The delay in enforcing import controls on EU food exports – including those from Ireland – appears designed to ensure that there will be no obstacles to the introduction of food products. Christmas in UK stores.
New requirements for export health certificates, which were to be introduced on October 1, will now be introduced on July 1. It’s been 18 months after Brexit came into full force at the start of this year.
However, there was some frustration in the UK food industry, where companies that had invested heavily in an earlier, more serious diet once again accused London of ‘moving the goalposts’ without much warning.
Yet there are other signs of “damage limitation” from the EU and UK.. In early summer, Brussels quietly extended “grace periods” for tighter controls on goods entering Northern Ireland from England, Scotland and Wales.
When the UK decided to further extend the imposition of these tighter controls beyond October, Brussels quietly indicated it could live with it.
The longer these delays persist, the more hope will grow that a more lasting compromise can emerge. It is always a question of limiting the damage.