New Brexit legislation on food imports from the EU which were due to begin in April have been pushed back until October, the Government has revealed.
Food manufacturers in the UK were set to face millions of pounds of extra costs from next month as a result of new legislation on food imports from the EU.
However, full controls on animal products, which were due to come into force from April, have now been pushed back until October and other customs declarations which were scheduled to start from July have been rescheduled to January 2022.
Announcing the decision to delay the new protocols, Minister Michael Gove said Covid-19 had created great disruption than expected and added that the move would ease pressure at the border.
Ian Wright CBE, chief executive of the Food and Drink Federation (FDF), said the new legislation would have made exporting “unviable” for his members.
“In amidst this positive news, we should also pause to think about the ongoing unfairness that will be experienced by UK to EU food exporters, who will continue to face a hard border with all its costs and uncertainties.”
Cold Chain Federation chief executive, Shane Brennan, said business across the supply chain servicing UK retailers and hospitality will avoid the potential disruption and uncertainty of friction at the UK border.
He said: “Businesses across the food supply chain will breathe a sigh of relief that the looming prospect of additional red tape and uncertainty has been delayed past the crucial spring and summer months.
“Ensuring shops, restaurants and cafes have the supplies they need will be a vital part of helping them respond to unpredictable customer demand and this decision will help ensure supply chains are more resilient and responsive to their needs.
“It is also fair to say that this decision was necessary because we did not have confidence that the systems and infrastructure needed to meet the 1st April and 1st July deadlines are on course to be ready. We hope and expect that the additional time will be well used to finish the border inspection posts, employ and train the necessary people to run them and work with industry to ensure readiness is high.
“In amidst this positive news, we should also pause to think about the ongoing unfairness that will be experienced by UK to EU food exporters, who will continue to face a hard border with all its costs and uncertainties and see their equivalents continuing to benefit from de facto unfettered access to their domestic market. It is not clear how this action will give the EU an incentive to be more willing to discuss ways to reduce the burdens on UK exporters.”