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Post-Brexit checks on UK-bound EU food imports delayed again — FT

By AFP - Apr 21,2024 - Last updated at Apr 21,2024

In this file photo taken on December 10, 2020, freight lorries are seen queuing to leave after arriving by ferry at the port of Dover on the south coast of England (AFP file photo)

LONDON — Britain will avoid implementing most post-Brexit checks on EU food imports due to start this month so as to prevent major disruption at ports, The Financial Times (FT) reported recently.

The European Union introduced strengthened checks on goods coming from the UK since the country's departure from the bloc entered into force in January 2021.

But London has already delayed implementing some checks and formalities on five occasions amid fears the measures would harm the economy and stoke inflation.

According to a confidential presentation sent by the UK government to port authorities and seen by the FT, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said carrying out all the health and safety checks from April 30 could trigger "significant disruption".

The checks will initially only apply to high-risk goods such as meat to ward off the prospect of huge queues of lorries and delays at ports, the newspaper reported.

The government plans to phase in the rest of the controls depending on traffic levels at different ports, the FT quoted the note as saying without providing a precise timeframe.

In January, health certificates became obligatory for some products of animal and plant origin deemed to be of medium risk, including some cheeses, butter, creams, sausages, ham, cut flowers, roots and tubers. The new checks could cost British businesses almost £2 billion ($2.5 billion) and exacerbate inflation that has driven a biting cost-of-living crises for many Britons, insurer Allianz Trade warned last week.

Trade bodies have called for implementation of the checks to be delayed until at least the autumn.

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