Britain’s post-EU border measures “unsustainable”: report


The UK government has been “greatly successful” in dealing with post-Brexit border issues with the EU, but relies on “unsustainable” temporary measures, the UK Board of Audit (NAO) said. Latest report..

At the end of the Brexit transition period on January 1, 2021, the government “successfully introduced the systems, infrastructure, and resources to enable continued trading of commodities, resulting in a great deal at the UK-EU border. The long procession that was feared did not come true. ” The report, released on November 5, said.

But the lack of long queues “partly because traffic flow has diminished due to stockpiles, trader vigilance against new import restrictions, and the effects of pandemics,” NAO said.

Border pressure was also eased by the fact that the UK government delayed the introduction of full import restrictions on goods from the EU by a factor of three.

However, the report states that the current control model “cannot continue indefinitely” as it will be phased in in the first half of 2022.

NAO warned that there is still a “significant risk” that traders and carriers are not ready for full import control. This reduces the flow and availability of food and other products to the United Kingdom.

Regarding the Northern Ireland Protocol, NAO said that “significant uncertainty” remains in “essentially difficult” situations. It urged the government to implement any arrangements reached with the EU regarding the rapid change of the Protocol.

Gareth Davies, head of NAO, said his organization is aware of the “significant outcomes” of first dealing with border issues at the end of the transition period.

But he said, “this was partly done by using interim measures and delaying the introduction of full import restrictions.”

“More work is needed to reduce the risk of violations of international trade rules, eliminate the need for temporary amendments, and introduce a more complex and less burdensome border model for border users,” he said. Told.

Trade with the EU recovered slightly after a 44% decline in the first quarter of 2021, but was 13% below levels in the last three months of 2020.

The report said the effects of Brexit could not be unraveled from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, but “the decline in Britain’s trade with the EU is more than trade with other parts of the UK’s world over the same period. Is also significantly larger .. “

Dame Meg Hillier, chairman of the House of Commons Public Accounting Committee, said: Governments need to help businesses adapt to new rules and implement border controls that serve everyone. “

PA contributed to this report.

Alexander Chan

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