UK – In a strategic move to refine and streamline its food import controls, the UK Government has decided to postpone the enforcement of new regulations under the Border Target Operating Model (TOM).

This delay pertains to the requirement for inspecting and certifying medium- and high-risk animal products and produce entering the country.

Originally slated for implementation on October 31, 2023, the first phase of this model will now commence on January 31, 2024.

The overarching goal of the Border Target Operating Model is to avert delays at the UK border. This is achieved by reducing the necessity for physical checks on various types of goods.

Furthermore, it ensures that checks are conducted in locations other than ports, allowing for the seamless flow of traffic.

Comprehensive framework

The journey to this revised model began with the publication of a draft TOM in April 2023, followed by the release of the final version in August.

The final TOM incorporates valuable feedback received during the draft phase.

According to the revised timeline, starting on January 31, 2024, health certification will be introduced for imports of medium-risk animal products, plants, plant products, and high-risk food (and feed) of non-animal origin from the EU.

Moving forward to April 30, 2024, this phase will witness the introduction of documentary and risk-based identity and physical checks for medium-risk animal products, plants, plant products, and high-risk food (and feed) of non-animal origin from the EU.

This milestone also marks the expansion of the risk-based model to include sanitary and phytosanitary goods from the rest of the world.

Finally, on October 31, 2024, the enforcement of Safety and Security declarations for EU imports will commence. In addition, the UK Government will unveil a reduced dataset for imports, further aligning its control measures with its strategic objectives.

Clarity on Irish goods

The final TOM also provides clarity on the checks and controls that will be implemented for Irish goods moving directly from Ireland to Great Britain.

In adherence to the Windsor Framework, Northern Ireland businesses will continue to enjoy access to the Great Britain market, whether they are moving qualifying goods directly from Northern Ireland or indirectly through Irish ports.

This revised Border Target Operating Model reflects the UK Government’s commitment to facilitating efficient trade while ensuring robust food safety standards.

By carefully phasing in controls and checks, the UK aims to strike a balance that benefits both its economy and its consumers.

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