It has been announced that the requirement to pre-notify British officials about agricultural and food imports from the EU would now start on 1st January 2022, rather than on 1st October 2021.
The delay has been blamed on Covid disruption and pressure on global supply chains.
The delay has been welcomed by manufacturers and distributors who are already facing significant challenges with their production and supply chains. However, the Food and Drink Federation criticised the government for "the lateness" of its announcement.
If the new legal requirements for the import and export of product between the UK, Northern Ireland and the EU had been introduced next month, it would have undoubtedly only add to the pressures on global supply chains, caused by a wide range of factors including the pandemic and the increased costs of global freight transport.
When the new legislation is introduced, businesses will be required to have what’s called an EORI (Economic Operators Registration and Identification) number if they move goods between Great Britain or the Isle of Man and any other country including the EU: between Great Britain and Northern Ireland / between Great Britain and the Channel Islands / between Northern Ireland and countries outside the EU.
In addition to this, businesses exporting goods may also need to provide an export declaration and relevant licenses and/or certificates to send goods to the UK.
As an example, there are specific rules for importing food for human consumption, referred to as POAO (Products Of Animal Origin). These would include meat, fish, eggs, dairy, honey and gelatine.
Similarly, when exporting product from the UK to the EU requires a EHO (Export Health Certificate).
The end result, and one of the big concerns for businesses, is not only the additional time this will add to shipments (and the subsequent additional personnel requirements), but a further issue will be that shipments could have a number of different products requiring all types of different paperwork, and errors in this paperwork will cause a delivery delay for the entire shipment.