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World

UK says it can overcome post-Brexit fishing ‘teething’ woes, minister says

  • Eustice told parliament his staff had held meetings with Dutch, French and Irish officials to try to "iron out some of these teething problems".
  • To get fresh produce to EU markets, logistics providers now have to summarise the load.
Published January 14, 2021

LONDON: Britain believes it can resolve the post-Brexit "teething issues" that have prevented Scottish fishermen from exporting goods to the European Union because of customs delays, food and environment minister George Eustice said.

Some EU importers have rejected truck loads of Scottish fish since Jan. 1 after the need for catch certificates, health checks and export declarations meant they had taken too long to arrive, angering fishermen who are facing financial ruin if the trade cannot be resumed.

Eustice told parliament his staff had held meetings with Dutch, French and Irish officials to try to "iron out some of these teething problems".

"They are only teething problems," he said. "When people get used to using the paperwork goods will flow."

Eustice said with no grace period to introduce the rules, the industry was having to adapt to them in real time, dealing with such issues as what colour of ink can be used to fill in forms. He added that while the government was considering compensation for sectors hit by the post-Brexit changes, he was now focusing on fixing the delays for fishermen.

Logistics providers, which are now struggling to deliver goods in a timely manner, have said the change to life outside the single market and customs union is much more significant and while delivery times can improve, it will now cost more and take longer to export.

To get fresh produce to EU markets, logistics providers now have to summarise the load, giving commodity codes, product types, gross weight, the number of boxes and value, plus other details. Errors can mean longer delays, hitting French importers that have also been hit by the red tape.

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