With the economic exit in sight, fears are growing in the UK that they won’t be able to sustain the increasing number of checks at the borders post-Brexit. Leading to congestion in their ports. For this reason, the UK has decided to phase in border checks gradually.
This means that European exporters will initially have six months – from 1 January 2021 to 1 July 2021 – to submit their customs declarations and pay any duties. However, strict checks will be carried out on alcohol and tobacco from the EU from 1 January 2021. Pre-notification for food products won’t be required until 1 April 2021. By this phased approach, London hopes to lessen the next blow to the economy, after a severe contraction due to the coronavirus crisis.
For its part, the EU has announced that it won’t deviate from the EU customs obligations. It will apply stringent checks to imports from the UK from 1 January 2021. EU governments are urging companies to prepare for the new import and export requirements right away. According to the experts, Brexit will lead to an increase in customs declarations in Europe of up to 40 percent. Fears are great that companies with little experience of import and export – such as many Belgian SMEs – will be insufficiently prepared. They will find the blow of Brexit particularly hard to take.