Britain warns of post-Brexit controls on EU trade

In a photo taken on Jan 31, 2020, Britain's Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove arrives to attend a cabinet meeting held at the University of Sunderland, Britain.
In a photo taken on Jan 31, 2020, Britain's Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove arrives to attend a cabinet meeting held at the University of Sunderland, Britain.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (AFP) - The British government on Monday (Feb 10) warned businesses to prepare for stricter controls on goods coming from the European Union, saying it was an "inevitable" result of Brexit.

Senior minister Michael Gove said EU imports would face the same checks as those from the rest of the world, after a post-Brexit transition period ends in December.

"The UK will be outside the single market and outside the customs union, so we will have to be ready for the customs procedures and regulatory checks that will inevitably follow," he said.

Britain left the EU on January 31 after 47 years of membership.

It agreed with Brussels a stand-still transition period until December 31, 2020, to allow both sides to negotiate a new trading relationship.

The details are not yet agreed but London says it will be leaving the EU's single market and customs union, which currently facilitate seamless cross-border trade.

"The government has confirmed plans to introduce import controls on EU goods at the border after the transition period ends on 31 December 2020," a government statement said.

It said traders in Britain and the EU would have to submit customs declarations and accept checks on their goods.

This would ensure Britain could collect the right customs, VAT and excise duties. It said the EU had said it would enforce checks on UK goods entering the eurozone.

It was also important to "treat all partners equally as we begin to negotiate our own trading arrangements with countries around the world", the statement said.

Britain is hoping to negotiate new trade deals with the United States, Japan, Australia and other nations alongside an agreement with the EU.