IOE and IT warns businesses against complacency on EU-to-GB import controls

Wed 30 Mar 2022
IOE News

sps checks

With three months to go before new EU-to-GB import controls are scheduled to come into force –though media reports suggest ministers a delay - importers are being warned not to be complacent about the changes.

Since leaving the EU, controls have been implemented for goods coming into Great Britain from the EU on a phased basis.

While most post-Brexit customs formalities and controls have now been introduced, 1 July is scheduled as the date for introducing sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) checks – in various stages – on agrifood goods from the EU at the UK border.

IOE&IT warning

The Institute of Export & International Trade (IOE&IT) has warned businesses they need to act now to be ready for the changes.

Importers of plant and animal-origin goods will be required to produce phytosanitary or export health certificates at the GB border and goods will need to be physically checked. These controls will be implemented in different stages between 1 July and 1 November 2022 (see image below).

sps timeline

'Be ready’

Director general of the IOE&IT Marco Forgione said: “It is imperative that importers are ready and aware that these changes are coming. If you trade animal-origin or plant-based products with the EU, you need to understand these new measures.”

He continued: “We have already seen a significant shock to the global food supply chain due to the war in Ukraine and the Covid-induced logistics issues. If food importers in Great Britain are not fully prepared for these changes, we could see a further rise in the cost of living for families and shortages of Continental food staples in GB supermarkets, as well as long delays at the GB border.”

Understanding the changes

The IOE&IT is hosting a free webinar on 7 April for business to fully understand what they need to have in place by the scheduled 1 July deadline. Businesses and individuals can register for the webinar entitled ‘Countdown to new sanitary and phytosanitary rules for agrifood traders’ here.

This webinar will cover:

  • When new SPS rules and checks are being introduced
  • How to identify which rules apply to your goods
  • Requirements for animal-origin goods - including export health certificates
  • Requirements for plants and plant-based products - including phytosanitary certificates
  • Where border checks are being completed

Education is key

Director of the academy at the IOE&IT, Aimee Maltman MIEx (Grad), said: “It is vital that businesses educate themselves about what they need to do to ensure they can continue to trade compliantly and effectively with the EU.

"The public want to be able to buy their French cheese, German sausages and Italian wine without issue, but if importers are not prepared, we could see a shortage of these products in GB supermarkets.”

“The IOE&IT has supported businesses throughout this period of change since the UK leaving the EU, and businesses should be commended on how well they have adapted to these changes, but now is not the time for complacency. These SPS checks are the final hurdle we need to get over and our experts are here to help businesses get ready for the changes that are almost upon us."

The IOE&IT is running a series of one-day courses to cover the new controls and resulting documentary requirements for traders.

The first course will take place on 25 April and will also cover the new government IT systems for SPS goods and tips for compliance with the new rules.

To register for the course, click here.