25 August 2023


According to a report in the Financial Times (3 August), the introduction of a new regime for checks on imports of animal and plant goods from the EU (and the rest of the world) into the UK,  the so-called sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) checks scheduled to come into force in October this year, will be further delayed.

The new regime was originally due to be introduced in 2021 as part of the post-Brexit changes to the UK's trading arrangements but was delayed to allow more time to fine-tune arrangements and allow for a smoother transition. Checks on exports into the EU have been in place since January 2021, causing some UK food producers to complain about the lack of a level playing field. 

The most recent announcement of a draft border Target Operating Model (TOM), including details of the proposed regime for all sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) checks, was made in April 2023 and was subject to a six-week consultation period.  At that time, ministers laid out a clear desired timeline for implementation, with the first set of checks due to come into force in October 2023, with another phase to follow in January 2024. An announcement on the final version of TOM had been expected very soon.

The main drivers for the new delay are claimed as being a desire to give businesses (both UK importers and EU exporters) more time to get used to the new rules, as well as concerns that additional costs caused by TOM would be passed on to consumers in increased prices at a time when the government’s number one priority is fighting inflation.

Source: The Financial Times