“Further Brexit preparations needed” – Simon McKeever CEO Irish Exporters Association

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The Irish Exporters Association (IEA), the leading independent representative body and voice for exporters based in Ireland, is warning of further trade disruption afoot as deadlines for the phasing in of UK import controls fast approach. IEA CEO Simon McKeever is warning of further disruption to supply chains if preparations are not made in advance of April 1st and July 1st. Given the UK Government’s decision to introduce border controls on imports of goods from the EU into Great Britain on a three-stage phased basis, Irish exporters have further preparations to make to ensure that supply chains run as smoothly as possible. 

Chief Executive of the IEA Simon McKeever said: “Given the phasing in of border controls on imports of EU goods into Great Britain, we now have two key dates ahead that Irish businesses need to be aware of and prepared for. 

From 1 April, certain categories of goods that are subject to SPS checks will have additional requirements placed on them. Importers in Britain will have to pre-notify imports of animal origin from the EU – dairy, meat, fish and fishery products and regulated plants and plant products and EU exporters will be responsible for getting the health certificate from officials in the Department of Agriculture. Exporters will then have to send an electronic copy of the health certificate to the British importer and the physical copy must accompany the consignment. 

While British importers will have to make the first step in the process, Irish exporters will be responsible for obtaining the health certificate and share with the relevant importer as well as ensuring consignments of animal origin have the physical certificate included. We have concerns over the capacity available to authorities here to deal with the volume of processing and the issuing of health certificates, which in turn may significantly slow trade. 

Stage three in the phasing in process kicks in on 1 July when full border controls will be in effect in Great Britain. It is expected that this will cause more delays in the customs clearance process. Given the intricacies of supply chains there will undoubtedly be an impact and given that the lack of preparation on the UK side to date has impacted supply chain operators, we expect disruption to emerge both for Irish exporters and in the use of the UK landbridge. 

We are calling on exporters, particularly in the food and drink sector, and all traders using the UK landbridge, to re-examine their supply chains and get up to speed on what is required in the coming months and begin preparations now to ensure the swift movement of goods. Reaching out to British importers that you deal with is a crucial first step to check that they are aware of upcoming requirements and to work through them together.”