Brexit rules change: How New Year’s trade changes could affect you

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A slew of new Brexit red tape will come into force from New Year’s Day and will place a whole raft of new restrictions on trade between the UK and the EU. The changes could mean higher costs for consumers in the UK after months of price rises due to inflation and supply chain shortages.

What changes are coming in the New Year?

From January 1, companies that import goods from the EU to the UK will no longer be able to take advantage of the temporary six-month grace period which allowed them to delay making customs declarations to HMRC and postpone paying any tariffs due.

From Saturday, businesses trading with the EU will be required to pay up immediately, and customs declarations in the UK can no longer be postponed.

The EU has told its member states that product exports to the UK that are required to carry veterinary health certificates, such as live animals, meat, dairy products, must now pass a designated border control post in the UK.

READ MORE: British farmer hails EU split as bloc tries to hamstring them

The rules also apply to “high risk” vegetable agricultural goods such as trees and perennials.

To add to the slew of new red tape, “Rules of Origin” will be introduced, which are a key element of the UK’s deal with the EU called the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA).

Now, if a company is importing or exporting, it must be able to prove the goods meet the rules of origin so preferential tariffs can be applied.

This means traders will be required to prove where the goods have been grown, produced or manufactured.

The changes will result in additional costs for companies still wanting to trade with the EU.

There’s little doubt in the way that these costs will be passed on to the customer, and there could be some minor shortages to come in the following weeks as traders adjust to the new rules.

A Government spokesperson said: “Overall trader readiness for the introduction of import controls is strong.

“The Government is also on track to deliver new systems, infrastructure and resourcing needed for these controls.

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“We have been running a targeted campaign across print, radio and online to businesses to the relevant information.

“Officials across government are leading a series of sector-based webinars to help traders and hauliers get ready.

“Recognising that the global pandemic has affected supply chains in the UK and across Europe, we announced earlier this year that we will be introducing import controls in phases throughout 2022 in order to give businesses time to prepare.”

But traders seem to be less convinced of the preparedness of UK businesses.

Richard Harrow, chief executive at the British Frozen Food Federation, warned the new border controls could see major delays at British ports as many EU hauliers may not yet be accustomed to new systems designed by the UK’s HM Revenue and Customs.

He said: “Whilst the new UK rules will be introduced in stages, we are concerned that not enough planning has been done to ensure the new requirements are understood by everyone in the food supply chain.”

Northern Ireland will not be beholden to the same rules as the rest of the UK just yet, as talks continue over the Protocol between UK and bloc negotiators.

A Government spokesperson said there will be “temporarily extend staged customs controls for goods that move from the island of Ireland into Great Britain while discussions between the United Kingdom and the European Union on the Northern Ireland Protocol are ongoing”.

“This will avoid any disruption and ensure that businesses moving goods from the island of Ireland to Great Britain can continue to follow the same processes they do now.”

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