LONDON – The British government is being asked to explain whether it will continue to introduce new Brexit border controls in October.
Gareth Thomas, shadow trade minister for the opposition Labor Party, said the government’s handling of the issue had been “absolutely chaotic”, while business groups told POLITICO that companies desperately need guidance on whether the planned changes will go ahead. will take place in six weeks.
Great Britain was planning to implement the first stage of the new post-Brexit border model starting in October, with new stages implemented throughout 2024 that would see more controls on food and animal products entering the country from the European Union.
The Cabinet Office, the government department leading the plan, has said for the past three weeks that guidance on the border regime would be forthcoming soon, but there has been none.
Thomas, from the Labor Party, said: “With only months to go until the deadline for the new controls, it is unacceptable that companies have not received a clear update from the government on whether the new border arrangements will be introduced. Conservative trade barriers are hampering economic growth.”
William Bain, a trade expert with the British Chambers of Commerce business group, said members of his group “would have expected to see the final version of the Border Target operating model by now.”
“That would have been well before any proposed introduction of export health certificates for incoming products to (Britain) at the end of October,” he said.
Marco Forgione, head of the Institute for International Trade and Export business group, warned that “continued delays will prolong this uncertainty for all those involved in importing Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) products into the UK, from the EU and beyond. of the world.”
Forgione also pointed out that British companies will continue to be at a disadvantage compared to their EU competitors until the border system is implemented.
The EU imposed full border controls on British imports when the UK left the single market and customs union in 2021.
A Cabinet Office official told POLITICO that the government will publish the results of its TOM consultation “imminently.”
A government spokesperson said: “We are reflecting on the valuable feedback provided by a range of companies and industry stakeholders and will publish the Border Target Operating Model shortly.”
And a spokesman for the ruling Conservatives accused Labor of “just shouting from the sidelines without a plan yet again: the only sector they understand is ‘union’.”