Is the UK ready for the Brexit import controls, and will these push up prices?

The proposals from the UK government for its new post-Brexit border strategy - beginning this autumn - will require all goods arriving from the EU that are subject to sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) controls – including fruit, vegetables, meat, dairy, and plant – to pass through ports or government-operated facilities such as its new inland border control post at Sevington in Kent.

In addition, under the government’s border target operating model (TOM) proposals, a charge of between £20 and £43 – known as the “common user charge” – will be levied on each consignment of food or plant imports arriving in the UK from January, whether or not they need to be checked.

The government’s border proposals state that this charge will be payable on “each consignment which enters through Port of Dover and Eurotunnel that is eligible for SPS checks.” “The charge would apply to all eligible consignments, whether or not they are selected for a BCP (border control post) inspection.”

Companies that transport and distribute fresh produce from overseas across Britain say this will reduce choice and increase cost. Some fear that the reliance on government-operated checkpoints at the introduction of the new border strategy will be an “absolute disaster.” They predict that long delays at government BCPs for import controls – critical for perishable goods – could lead to fresh gaps on supermarket shelves, while the extra expense and administrative burden could see some exporters stop sending products to the UK.


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