Meat & Livestock News

UK to Implement Border Controls Similar to EU’s Post-Brexit Measures

Following Brexit, the UK plans to introduce border controls that mirror those the EU implemented immediately after the UK’s departure on January 1, 2021. The Border Target Operating Model (BTOM) will require sanitary certificates for meat and dairy, phytosanitary certificates for plant products, and initiate physical inspections at UK borders, aligning with the controls at EU borders.

Originally scheduled for April 2021, with physical checks to follow in June 2021, the implementation of these health certificates for entry into the UK was postponed due to unpreparedness and concerns over rising food costs for UK consumers. These checks, mandated under World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules, aim to ensure fair trade, maintain biosecurity, and protect plant, animal, and human health.

The UK government plans a ‘bedding in’ period from January to April 2024, focusing on providing warnings and advice rather than rejecting goods. From April 2024, physical checks will commence, and regulations will tighten.

The introduction of BTOM is expected to cause significant disruption and additional costs for goods entering the UK, similar to the challenges UK exporters faced post-Brexit. Trade with the EU saw a dramatic decline of more than 40% following the EU’s implementation of similar measures, with many smaller UK exporters ceasing to export due to the financial burden of certification, inspections, and delays.

UK meat and dairy producers have largely welcomed these measures, anticipating a more level playing field with EU counterparts. However, the increased costs for EU produce might not necessarily benefit UK producers due to domestic challenges, such as labour shortages and limited processing capacity in the meat and dairy sectors, which could restrict the ability to displace imported goods.