Britain has delayed imposing post-Brexit import controls on goods from the European Union until the end of next year, saying retailers were facing too many other cost pressures and it did not want to risk adding more fuel to inflation.
Britain left the EU’s single market in January last year and it has delayed implementation of its full post-Brexit border controls on several occasions since then.
The government said on Thursday that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the recent rise in global energy costs were having had a significant effect on supply chains that were still recovering from the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s vital that we have the right import controls regime in place, so we’ll now be working with industry to review these remaining controls so that they best suit the UK’s own interests,” Jacob Rees-Mogg, Britain’s minister for Brexit opportunities, said.
The government said it would review how best to implement remaining controls, factoring in a better assessment of risk, and using data and technology to smooth the process.
The new plan will be published later this year and the new controls regime will come into force at the end of 2023.
Controls no longer being introduced for EU goods from July included sanitary and phytosanitary checks at the border and requirements for safety and security declarations on imports, as well as restrictions on chilled meats imports.
The changes would save British importers at least 1 billion pounds ($1.25 billion) a year in annual costs, the government said.
Controls introduced in January 2021 on the highest risk imports of animals, animal products, plants and plant products will continue to apply, it said.
The EU introduced its rules for imports of British goods immediately at the start of last year.