SCOTTISH farming has been dealt a blow as a result of further delays to border controls.
The UK government has been accused of ‘kicking the can down the road’ on their work to introduce pre-notification and export health certificates products of animal origin, low-risk animal by-products not for human consumption, and high-risk food not of animal origin entering the UK from the EU.
The requirements for pre-notifications due in October will now be introduced in January and export health certificates will now be introduced in July rather than October.
More delays on phytosanitary certificates and physical checks on sanitary and phytosanitary goods at border control posts are due to be introduced next July and not January – the same goes for safety and security declarations on imports.
The additional delays to post-Brexit import checks were announced just last week on agri-food products coming from the EU and it is a bitter blow to Scottish farmers and the nation’s food and drink sector.
While Scottish exporters have been struggling with additional costs and burdens since January, EU competitors have been given extended grace periods by the UK government to maintain access to the UK market without the same level of bureaucracy, delays and costs.
Commenting on the announcement, NFU Scotland chief executive, Scott Walker said the additional delay meant that UK sellers were adversely affected compared to their EU counterparts.
“Those in Scotland and the rest of the UK who have been looking to export to the EU in the past nine months have had to endure crippling post-Brexit costs, additional delays and extra bureaucracy, while those in the EU selling goods here have been largely unaffected,” he said.
“Government promises that asymmetric trade would be addressed and a level playing field on costs and paperwork introduced at the start of October have once again been delayed.
“On a day when we are promoting #BackBritishFarmingDay with fellow UK farming unions, the government’s decision to keep kicking the can down the road on this issue is hugely frustrating.”
Scott added that it was unacceptable.
“Changes to import controls from the EU were due in 16 days and will now not come into force until January 2022, with other changes delayed until July 2022.
“Meanwhile, those exporting from the UK to the EU have faced the full cost of controls since January.
“That is wholly unacceptable and undermines efforts to rebuild European markets for Scottish produce in the post-Brexit era.
“Ultimately, we need to see a level playing field on trade between the UK and the EU and we need both parliaments to do considerably more to ensure that as much unnecessary bureaucracy and cost is stripped out as possible.”