UK Introduces Stringent Border Controls on EU Agricultural Imports, Benefiting Polish Exporters

The UK plans to introduce stringent border controls on £21B worth of EU agricultural imports, creating opportunities for Polish exporters but raising costs and inflation. This highlights the ongoing challenges of the post-Brexit era.

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Sakchi Khandelwal
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UK Introduces Stringent Border Controls on EU Agricultural Imports, Benefiting Polish Exporters

UK Introduces Stringent Border Controls on EU Agricultural Imports, Benefiting Polish Exporters

The UK government has announced that it will introduce stringent border controls on £21 billion worth of agricultural imports from the European Union starting April 30, 2024.

The new measures, part of post-Brexit adjustments, will require physical checks, health certifications, and pre-entry identification for EU agricultural imports. This move is anticipated to raise import costs by around £2 billion and inflation by 0.15 percentage points.

However, the UK plans to suspend tariffs on nearly half of its total imports for the next two years, reducing overall import costs by £7 billion and decreasing inflation by 0.6 percentage points. This presents a significant opportunity for Polish food exporters, who sold €4.2 billion worth of goods, mainly poultry and poultry products, to the UK in 2023.

Why this matters: The introduction of stringent border controls on EU agricultural imports by the UK could significantly impact trade dynamics and create new opportunities for non-EU exporters. The move highlights the ongoing challenges and adjustments in the post-Brexit era, as countries navigate new trade relationships and regulations.

As British importers face increased costs and stricter regulations, Polish producers may gain a larger market share in the UK due to the quality and competitive pricing of their products. While the shift poses challenges, such as the need to redesign supply chains and align with new requirements, experts believe it is a tremendous opportunity for Polish exporters to capitalize on.

The UK is concerned about delays and bottlenecks at ports and is considering hypotheses controls for 'higher-risk' products and a phased implementation of the new rules. Trade bodies say the ongoing confusion about when the checks will come into effect is "incredibly challenging" for businesses.

The UK government's move to introduce stringent border controls on EU agricultural imports is part of a larger examination of the country's post-Brexit trade strategy. The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Committee is questioning government ministers on the lack of a coherent trade strategy for the UK's food and agriculture sector, as well as the government's stance on insisting on core standards regarding Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) rules, animal welfare, and environmental standards in trade agreements.

The food industry in the UK has condemned Brexit as an "unmitigated disaster", with sector leaders claiming that the cost of disruption has caused some firms to shut down permanently. Food exports to the EU have declined by 50-60% since the start of January 2021, and companies are struggling to recover lost exports as a result of Brexit. The seafood industry has been particularly hard hit, with some businesses already shutting down due to the impact of Brexit disruption.

Key Takeaways

  • UK to introduce stringent border controls on £21B EU agricultural imports from 2024.
  • New measures to raise import costs by £2B and inflation by 0.15 percentage points.
  • UK to suspend tariffs on nearly half of total imports, reducing costs by £7B.
  • Opportunity for Polish food exporters, who sold €4.2B to UK in 2023.
  • UK food industry condemns Brexit as an "unmitigated disaster", with exports to EU down 50-60%.