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Border readiness director promises radical overhaul of import regime

[ May 10, 2022   //   ]

The UK will operate slimmed down, proportionate and risk-based import controls when the country’s new customs regime is finally introduced in 2023, says director of border readiness, Stephen Webb.

He told a session organised in London by the Belgian Economic Mission on 10 May that the government planned to take advantage of the latest delay in implementation of full import controls from the EU to radically overhaul the customs regime.

His remarks follow the government’s announcement on 28 April that it would once again delay introduction of sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) checks on food-related imports from the EU into the UK, which were due to be rolled out in July this year, saying that the checks will now be implemented at the end of 2023.

Webb told the gathering: This is not simply a delay. Conrtols will be slimmed down and proportionate and fully risk-based.”

He added that the government was acutely aware that this “was not the right time for new burdens to be imposed on business”.

Deeper analysis of the issues had convinced the government that a better approcjh would be to use IT systems to focus instead on genuinely high risk trade.

There were “extremely exciting opportunities,” he said.

His comments echo earlier remarks by British International Freight Association (BIFA) director general, Robert Keen that the decision to pause import controls were “part of a much bigger picture, that will encompass a review of all frontier policies for all of the UK’s trade with not just the EU, but the rest of world.”

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