Under its Border Operating Model (BOM), the UK is progressively introducing new checks and controls on its trade with the EU on 1 January, 1 April and 1 July.
From 1 April, the UK will begin to apply documentary controls to the import into the UK of a much wider range of products, including food and agricultural produce. The new UK controls will impact on exporters of all products of animal origin, including all meat, dairy, fish and composite products incorporating products of animal origin, as well as regulated plants and plant products. These changes will also apply to such goods moving via the UK landbridge. In addition, from 1 April, the UK will no longer provide for the import from the EU of fresh meat preparations such as mincemeat and sausages, unless frozen.These changes mean that, on top of the existing customs formalities, Irish exporters exporting to or through Great Britain, will need to comply with a number of new UK requirements from 1 April including pre-notification to the UK authorities and obtaining the appropriate Health Certificate(s) from the Irish authorities. The Protocol on Ireland / Northern Ireland means that no new checks and controls apply to trade between the EU, including Ireland, and Northern Ireland.Departments and agencies have been in ongoing engagement with their UK counterparts to understand the BOM’s requirement. A major national communications campaign to make exporters aware of these additional Brexit-related changes is underway. This is complemented by outreach by Ministers and more detailed stakeholder engagement by Departments and State Agencies. Indeed, the new requirements was one of the topics discussed at the recent Brexit Stakeholders Forum which I chair. A number of webinars for exporters are taking place throughout February and March 2021 including joint webinars from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and Revenue Commissioners and webinars together with their UK counterparts (DEFRA, HMRC). Sector-specific information and training are also being provided by Enterprise Ireland, Local Enterprise Offices, Bord Bia and Bord Iascaigh Mhara.
While I understand many businesses may still be working through the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and earlier Brexit changes, it is crucial that exporters fully understand these new UK requirements. Exporters must ensure everyone in the supply chain, including the importer and logistics provider, is clear on their roles and responsibilities and can meet them. I would urge all exporters to avail of the range of Government supports that are available, including training and grants. Further information on these and other supports is set out at Gov.ie/Brexit.