In a move that will likely be welcomed by many, the UK Government has announced a six month extension on the plans to introduce a range of post-Brexit border checks on goods imported from the EU, recognising the "teething" issues that businesses continue to face post-Brexit.
In contrast to the immediate introduction of increased bureaucracy on goods exported from the UK into Europe from 1 January 2021, the UK has adopted a more lenient approach in respect of imports from the EU – an approach that was due to expire in the near future. The announcement means that physical checks on goods, which were due to come into effect in June 2021, will now be pushed back to January 2022.
With around 80% of imported food in UK supermarket's deriving from the EU (according to the British Retail Consortium), the importance of ensuring that imports are not significantly disrupted should not be underestimated. This is particularly the case when considering that much of the hospitality sector in the UK is due to open its doors again in the coming months as the UK makes its way out of lockdown.
The UK Government has noted that this extension will allow businesses to focus on getting back on their feet as the economy continues to open up after what has been a difficult year. The move is perhaps also recognition from the UK Government that the infrastructure required for the carrying out of such border checks is simply not going to be fully operation come June 2021.
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