The British government has announced that it will not be imposing full border controls on goods coming into the country from the European Union until July 2021.
Following Friday’s meeting of the government’s Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee (WAJC) meeting, Michael Gove, Cabinet Office minister and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, formally notified the European Union that the United Kingdom “will neither accept nor seek any extension to the Transition Period”.
While that in itself is good news for Brexit supporters, as the United Kingdom remains an EU member in all but name as long as the transition period continues, he also confirmed that new customs border controls would not come into full effect until seven months after the end of the transition — even though the EU will likely impose them on Britain.
The Cabinet Office admitted that while the government had promised in February to impose full border controls by January 2021, Boris Johnson’s administration has decided to introduce those measures in three stages until July next year.
From January, traders importing “standard goods” will need to complete only basic customs requirements and tariff payments can be deferred until after customs declarations are made. Then from April all animal products will require “pre-notification” and health documents. Full measures will then beput in place by July 2021, where traders of all goods will have to make declarations at the point of importation and pay the relevant tariffs.
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The move came after pressure from business, according to reports on Thursday.
In February, Mr Gove had promised that the United Kingdom would take back control of her imports by imposing border checks as of January 1st, whether the British government had secured a deal with the EU or not.
Britain maintaining that position had signalled to Brussels that it was serious about separating from the European Union and was a vital bargaining chip in negotiations with the bloc. To date, both parties concede that no progress in trade negotiations have been made.
Commenting earlier on Friday on speculation on the move, Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage called it a “very bad sign” and “the first betrayal” of Brexit.
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