Those businesses of the United Kingdom who trade with Europe will need to prepare themselves for “significant change” with “inevitable” border checks for “almost everybody” who wants to imports products from the European Union starting next year, Michael Gove, the de facto deputy Prime Minister of the UK told businesses.
Gove warned that border checks on food and goods of animal origin as well as customs declarations and mandatory safety and security certificates will be needed for any imports made from the EU, which is the first indication of the UK government of the possibility of the government of imposing trade barriers after Brexit.
“You have to accept we will need some friction. We will minimize it but it is an inevitability of our departure,” he told delegates at a Cabinet Office event held in central London on Monday, entitled Preparing Our Border for the Future Relationship.
“I don’t underestimate the fact that this is a significant change, but we have time now to make that change.”
Creating a smart border which would have online processes could take as long as five years, Gove, who is the chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, warned the delegates present at the event. He added that the change is likely to take place next January and the businesses should be ready for this jolt irrespective of the outcome of the negotiations between the UK and the EU.
“In questions and answers his officials talked of an ‘operational border’ from the beginning of 2021, which they said was laying the foundation for best borders in 2025,” one delegate told the media later and added that Gove had also warned that the UK and its businesses should get ready for completion of Brexit on 1 January next year immediately after the end of the transition period.
An official update was later issued by the government which confirmed that there would be checks on both imports and exports. The update said that the “policy easements put in place for a potential no-deal exit will not be reintroduced as businesses have time to prepare”.
Deferred VAT payments on imports will not be included in the “easements” because the UK government has already considered that in a no-deal plan.
Towing the line of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Gove stressed on the need for the UK in pushing for a Canada or Australian-type deal which was described as “code for no deal” by the EU trade commissioner Phil Hogan since the EU does not have any trade deal with Australia.
According to reports, stress on the assortment by the UK government of not following EU rules that would allow it to minimize future barriers in cross-border trade was also given in the speech by Gove.
“The only way in which you could avoid those customs procedures and regulatory checks would be if you were to align with EU law and if you were to align with EU law we would be undermining the basis on which the prime minister secured the mandate at the general election to affirm our departure,” Gove reportedly said.
(Adapted from TheGuardian.com)