UK Government slammed for plans to delay border checks on EU goods for the 4th time
The Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) has described the UK Government’s plans to delay border checks on goods imported from the European Union for a fourth time as a ‘global disgrace’.
Checks on imports from the EU should originally have been introduced in January 2021 when the Brexit transition period came to an end, but the failure of UK governments to prepare border inspection posts meant they were not implemented at that time and have been delayed three times in the subsequent 28 months.
A total of 30 BCPs are being built across the UK to enable physical checks to be carried out on certain goods entering the UK from the EU as required under the Brexit trade deal.
Holyhead has already been confirmed as the location for one of the facilities in Wales but the post isn’t expected to be operational until at least April next year.
The other post is expected to be built in Pembrokeshire, but the precise location is yet to be decided and in January Economy Minister Vaughan Gething revealed the UK Government is refusing to fund the operating costs for the border control posts being built in in Wales.
Responding to the news that Boris Johnson is considering a further delay, FUW President Glyn Roberts said: “EU countries got their act together and started implementing full checks on our exports from the UK on 1 January 2021.
“Yet despite it being more than five years since Theresa May announced that the UK Government intended to pursue a hard Brexit policy, and that such border checks would be needed, the UK is still not ready.
“It’s a global disgrace, as it means we are failing to implement checks on international trade that should be standard practice in order to protect our own industries and population.”
Mr Roberts said that the Government’s failure meant Welsh and UK exporters face significant and costly checks on goods moving to the EU, but that EU products had been waived through our ports and into the UK market without checks for more than a year.
“In other words, our exports, such as Welsh lamb, face extremely costly border bureaucracy while food producers importing from the EU to the UK face nothing of the sort – the Government’s failure to prepare for their own Brexit plan may as well be deliberately aimed at undermining UK farmers and producers,” he added.
Since Brexit, UK food and drink exports in 2021 were 12% below 2020 levels and 16% below 2019 levels – with falls for certain food products such as lamb far greater – mainly as a result of the checks imposed on UK exports entering the EU and associated costs.
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