Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Questions (426)

Brendan Howlin


426. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs his views on the checks that will apply to trucks transiting the UK post 1 January 2021; if France is availing of flexibilities in the regulations for the movement of products of animal origin; if all French ports will be designated BCPs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38619/20]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

From the end of the Brexit transition period on 31 December 2020, the UK will be outside the EU single market and the customs union. This means that new rules and procedures will apply to goods moving to, from or through the UK, excluding Northern Ireland.

New rules and procedures will apply when moving goods across the UK landbridge between Ireland and the EU. Operators will still be able to move goods across the landbridge, but the way they use the landbridge will change. The UK's accession to the Common Transit Convention (CTC) is welcome. It allows EU goods to move under transit through Great Britain without undergoing full import and export formalities on entry and exit. However, to avail of the benefits of the Convention, a number of new administrative steps must be completed in Ireland, Great Britain and at the port of re-entry. Each consignment must also have a financial guarantee during the movement.

In addition, Official Controls Regulation (EU) 2017/625 means certain goods, including animals and products of animal origin, are subject to controls on re-entering the EU and must be pre-notified to the Border Control Post (BCP) of re-entry to the EU ahead of arrival.

The mechanism by which prior notification of a shipment containing animals or products of animal origin is provided to the BCP is at the discretion of each Member State. Flexibility in EU legislation, expected to be adopted shortly, allows Member States to use systems other than TRACES NT (the EU’s official SPS platform) for the provision of this prior notification. France have indicated that, as their IT system relies on data from TRACES NT, they require prior notification of products of animal origin (POAO) through submission of Part I of a CHED on TRACES NT.

Ireland has undertaken substantial engagements at political and official level across the EU to ensure EU goods moving under transit are not subject to additional and unnecessary checks and controls. For the vast majority of consignments transiting the landbridge, documentary checks will be performed electronically in advance of the consignment re-entering the EU and once the correct paperwork is in place, transit goods should be “green-routed” to leave the Port. Identity and physical checks will only be necessary where the authorities suspect non-compliance. It is therefore vital that operators have the correct administration work in place, in particular in relation to prior-notification.

France will list a number of additional Border Control Posts which will be in operation from 1 January 2021. These include Caen-Ouistreham, Calais port, Calais Eurotunnel, Calais Boulogne-sur-Mer, Cherbourg, Dieppe, Roscoff, and Saint-Malo.

We have noted the likelihood of delays in UK ports for some time now, including in our Brexit Readiness Action Plans of 2019 and 2020. Operators should plan accordingly and consider switching to direct route options. No new procedures will apply to goods moving on direct routes to the EU