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Trade expert warns of inspection chaos at ports

[ June 8, 2020   //   ]

UK exporters may need to bring in inspectors from the EU after January 1 to certify that their exports meet EU regulations and ensure that they can leave ports for mainland Europe without being subject to technical checks at the other end, says UK Trade Policy Observatory (UKTPO) economist Dr Peter Holmes. This would apply even in the event of a Free Trade Agreement between the UK and EU.

He warns that chaos may ensue for British port authorities in the first days of the new trading arrangements – particularly if French officials insist on checking if the UK has continued to uphold international obligations on health and safety regulations on food products through physical inspections.

Dr Holmes is advocating an implementation period to follow the end of the transition period on 31 December to smooth the changeover.

He said: “On the day the transition period ends, the British Government, if it has its way, will lose all legal obligation to enforce the EU technical regulations. But that means its new ‘light touch’ testing regime could kick in at once.”

The EU or the French Government could well refuse to accept certificates issued after the end of transition.