Brexit Update

It’s week 4 of life outside the single market and week 4 of the latest covid lockdown. It is hard to decide which is more depressing and which will get better faster. But let’s be positive and reassured that both WILL get better …eventually

I will be running another Brexit Briefing Session on Friday 5th February at 10am – you can register for this session here. I will be joined by Charles Hogg and his team from Unsworths, one of the UK agents that is supporting a large number of major UK food exporters and has direct experience on the ground in Calais and possibly another guest as well.

We also continue to get our word out in the media and to government. You can read my column in The Times newspaper from Monday this week here and my article for the influential UK in a Changing Europe website from today here.

SITUATION REPORT

There has been a lot of government policy activity this week and there are a number of new pieces of guidance as well as webinar sessions on trade flows. Which I will try to summarise, but first a situation report on the Ports. As of Tuesday reports from the Ports were as follows:

  • UK/France freight traffic volumes are reported to have been up to 70-75% of what they would normally be year on year. it is not clear whether as is reported there is a higher percentage of empty lorries travelling than usual, but suspicion is that this is the case.
  • The amount of vehicles being ‘turned away’ UK side is sub 5% (and turnbacks are largely the result of not having a valid negative covid test)
  • The French, Dutch and Irish authorities continue to report very high levels of ‘non-compliance’ with SPS requirements – however there are some growing questions over what the interpretation of non-compliance is and the UK Government is engaged in bilateral conversation about what is and is not considered compliant.
  • On the other side, Eurotunnel report (today) that there is a substantial improvement in readiness, flow through the terminal and significant improvements in waiting times at the Border Control Post.
  • Generally the traders and hauliers that have been moving goods throughout are now clear on the key things they MUST have in place. 
  • This includes a COMMI (customs/goods representative) in the Port of Calais. We heard from SET CARGO (part of STEF) at our briefing last week who provide this service and we will hear from another one UNSWORTHS at our briefing next week. Eurotunnel have moved to put in place their own service to support this, when I have more details I will share.
  • It also includes ensuring that there is an accurate consistent TRACES NT entry being made on the import side and ensuring it is consistent with the customs documents and the veterinary certificates.
  • The rules on covid-testing for hauliers remain in place – proof of a negative lateral flow test is required within 72hrs for travel to France and within 24hrs to Holland and Denmark. All hauliers can obtain free tests at a range of Brexit Information and Advice Sites across the UK. We are working with one member on clarifying the rules for international hauliers that enter Europe via France, but then travel over road to Holland and Denmark.

In terms of policy developments I include below a suite of new guidance documents on key issues mainly related to NORTHERN IRELAND

GROUPAGE

PRODUCT REGULATION

  • The rules on how you can export goods on the Prohibited & Restricted list (like chilled sausages) are changing from 22 Feb (see guidance here)  you will need to make declarations for these goods even though there is a still a derogation from the outright ban that applies after June.
  • People involved in moving goods from NI into UK and then on to EU don’t need an Export Health certificate (for the NI leg) but they do need a Support Health Attestation to ensure that the vet in GB can sign an EHC – see guidance on this here   

As ever please get in touch with me direct if myself or the team can help in any way. Stay safe and speak soon.

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