Irish exporters of food products, live animals, animal products, plants, and plant products to Britain will face checks for the first time at British ports at the end of October under the long-delayed Brexit accords. This move is causing concern among many traders who may not be adequately prepared, according to Aidan Flynn, chief executive at Freight Transport Association Ireland. He also expressed uncertainty about whether the key system designed to facilitate trade in food products by issuing compatible health certificates would be ready in time on the Irish side of the Irish Sea.
Exporters, importers, and government officials are increasingly apprehensive about the significant changes that are imminent as the accords under the long-delayed Trade and Cooperation Agreement finally come into effect. “Ireland’s exporters, particularly those involved in the export of food products, live animals, animal products, plants, or plant products from Great Britain have been immune to the full impact of Brexit through the deferred introduction of the sanitary and phytosanitary checks and other requirements at British ports,” Mr. Flynn said. “This is now changing as Irish exporters of these products will see new checks at British ports,” he told the Irish Examiner.
The British government had initially refused to impose checks on many goods coming into its ports from Ireland and the rest of the European Union, citing several reasons. It had argued that it first wanted the TCA protocol renegotiated, which it secured under the so-called Windsor Framework that governs trade in goods between the North and Britain. The British government also appeared to fear that imposing checks at its ports last year would have made the fallout from inflation even worse for its households and businesses, possibly by delaying the transportation and increasing the costs of food imports from the EU at its borders.
Mr. Flynn noted that Irish HGV drivers will require digitised health certificates for their products from the end of October. However, “it is unclear if the Irish Electronic Health Certificate system will be ready and compatible with UK systems for the required categories of goods,” he warned. Meanwhile, the latest Central Statistics Office figures indicate that trade in goods across the Irish Sea between the Republic and Britain has increased for both exports and imports.
Exports of food and live animals from the Republic’s air and sea ports to Britain in the first three months of this year were worth €956m, up from €840m in the same period in 2020, and exports of chemical and related products climbed to €1.7bn from €1.3bn a year earlier. The value of goods exports from the Republic to Britain overall climbed to €4.3bn in the first three months from €3.8bn a year earlier, the figures show. Imports from Britain to the Republic have also increased in the first three months to €5.9bn from €5.2bn a year earlier, according to the Central Statistics Office. Imports of mineral fuels and lubricants climbed sharply, but imports of food and live animals were little changed.
In conclusion, the Brexit accords are finally coming into effect, and Irish exporters of food products, live animals, animal products, plants, and plant products to Britain will face checks at British ports for the first time at the end of October. Many traders may not be prepared for these changes, and there is uncertainty about whether the key system designed to facilitate trade in food products by issuing compatible health certificates will be ready in time on the Irish side of the Irish Sea. The situation is causing concern among exporters, importers, and government officials alike.