26 May 2021

CLECAT addresses post-Brexit challenges at EP Hearing on TCA

At today’s public hearing of the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) Committee of the European Parliament, Mr Dimitri Sérafimoff, Chair of the Customs and Indirect Taxation Institute of CLECAT, spoke about the challenges of the implementation of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA).

‘The conclusion of the trade deal came as good news for businesses on both sides. However, only a swift and effective implementation of the agreement will provide the necessary certainty and predictability and allow industry to reap the benefits of the new deal to keep goods flowing across the EU-UK borders. It is absolutely vital that the implementation of the TCA is supported by proper and pragmatic application of the Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland of the Withdrawal Agreement', said Mr Sérafimoff.

'The TCA did not remove the need for businesses to make extensive preparations and adjust their operations. Today, almost five months into the ‘new normal’, we see that many traders are still not fully prepared.’ 

The industry experienced the changes brought about by the reality of the new trade agreement with new red tape and barriers to the flow of goods, including additional paperwork, customs controls, veterinary/phytosanitary (SPS) checks on food and agricultural products, additional costs and delays. 'The implementation of these new formalities and procedures brought about numerous practical challenges for supply chains which will certainly take time to overcome. But seamless trade across the Channel is a thing of the past.'

As the UK has not yet fully rolled out its border controls on EU imports, with  EU goods entering Great Britain with minimum controls, there will be more challenges upcoming with pre-notification requirements on EU imports of certain goods subject to SPS controls in Great Britain, and full customs declarations at the time of import for all goods. CLECAT continues to stress the need for governments and businesses to make preparations in a timely manner to avoid unnecessary delays and operational chaos.

CLECAT identified a number of areas where further discussions or guidance are needed from the EU and the UK to improve bilateral trade and provide the much-needed ease for businesses. This relates to the need for common SPS standards which will support agri-food supply chains, cooperation on customs security to facilitate legitimate trade, as well as a more pragmatic approach to rules of origin and associated procedures.

CLECAT’s briefing paper for the European Parliament is available here.