Post-Brexit customs systems not fit for purpose, say meat exporters

UK meat exporters have claimed post-Brexit customs systems are "not fit for purpose", with goods delayed for hours, sometimes days, at the border.

The British Meat Processor Association said even experienced exporters were struggling with the system.

It said meat exports to the EU were 25% of normal levels for this time of year.

Some meat importers were starting to look at alternative suppliers in Spain and Ireland.

Nick Allen, chief executive of the British Meat Processor Association, said: "Fundamentally, this is not a system that was designed for a 24/7, just-in-time supply chain. The export health certification process was designed for moving containers of frozen meat around the world where you have a bit of leeway on time.

No matter how much better we get at filling in the forms, it's really not fit for purpose. This is going back to the dark ages in terms of a process really, in this digital age."

He added "It's going to be a problem for quite a time until we move forward and hopefully get a better digital system in place and can make it work a bit better, but until then, we've got to put up with all this paperwork and lorries arriving in Ireland with box files full of paper."

After decades of friction-free trade, there are bound to be teething problems. Indeed, the government predicted that there would be "significant additional disruption" as traders, officials and customers became accustomed to new procedures.

HMRC estimates the additional cost to UK business of bog-standard customs declarations alone at £7bn.


Posted on Jan 15, 2021.

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