Responding to the announcement that there will be further delays to post-Brexit import checks on agri-food products coming from the EU, NFU President Minette Batters said: “Since the implementation of the EU’s border controls in January, UK agri-food exporters to the EU have lost more than £1.8 billion. Yet while our exporters have been struggling with additional costs and burdens, EU competitors have been given extended grace periods by our own government to maintain access to the UK market relatively burden free.
“While further delays to controls on imported EU products may go some way to keep supermarket shelves stocked at a challenging time for the UK supply chain, the current production and supply issues are largely due to workforce availability. That is why the food and farming industry is asking for a 12-month Covid Recovery Visa and to expand and make permanent the Seasonal Workers Scheme. A delay to controls on EU imported products will do little to address supply chain problems, nor the long-term trade frictions farmers are experiencing.
“Negotiators must seek to achieve a level playing field with pragmatic and equitable checks on imports and exports as quickly as possible.”