Nov 6, 2020

Brexit: Watchdog warns of 'significant' border disruption

UK trade with the EU faces "Significant disruption" when the Brexit transition period ends in January, a government spending watchdog has said. The National Audit Office said it was "Very unlikely" traders would be ready for checks the EU is due to impose at its borders. In a report, the NAO said the end of the transition period would bring "Significant change," even if the UK agrees a trade deal with the EU. Even with a deal, traders will face new hurdles to clear - including the need to fill in customs declarations on goods being traded. In June, the government announced that - regardless of whether it reaches a post-Brexit trade deal - new checks on EU goods entering Great Britain would be phased in over six months from January 2021 to give firms "Time to adjust". Under the UK's withdrawal deal, Northern Ireland is due to enforce EU customs rules at its ports, requiring declarations for goods coming from GB. The NAO said Northern Ireland's Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, which is responsible for planning checks on food and live animal imports, had been "Severely hampered" by the continuing UK-EU trade talks.

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