A leading agrisupply group has told Farmers Guardian it is ‘difficult to predict’ if new controls on EU imports will have an impact on input prices for farmers.
This week, the Government confirmed plans to introduce import controls at the border after the Brexit transition period ends on December 31, 2020.
The move marks a change from no-deal policy, when Ministers intended to adopt a light-touch approach to checks on EU imports.
It will mean importing businesses having to complete new paperwork on rules of origin, sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures, VAT, customs, safety and security, excise, transit and animal health.
A Food and Drink Federation spokesperson said the additional friction would ‘inevitably have a cost for businesses, consumers and shoppers’, and warned the Government would need to quickly build the new port infrastructure necessary to carry out the proposed checks.
Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC) chief executive Robert Sheasby also called on Ministers to minimise the impact of administration costs and potential time delays when importing food and feed.
“The cost of additional controls has been constantly highlighted to Government, and we, alongside our members, are working hard to identify ways to minimise this cost and ensure Government plays its part,” he said.
“Trade both into and out of the UK is undertaken though advance contracts, so we need certainty way in advance of the December 31 transition.
“It is difficult to predict at this stage any impact upon input prices at the farm gate, but suffice to say our members are focused on attaining the best possible outcome.”
Jon Duffy, chief executive of the AF Group, a national agricultural buyers group, agreed it was too early to say how input prices may be affected by the new controls.
“The key is how industry influences them to ensure they are as pain-free as possible,” he said.
“We should not be frightened of the change, but ensure our voice is heard within Government and engage now to give us the maximum time to finalise the detail.”