IMTA calls on Government to engage with meat industry on TOM following delay

IMTA calls on Government to engage with meat industry on TOM following delay

The International Meat Trade Association (IMTA) said that industry has been “left in limbo in recent months” between the publication of the Draft Target Operating Model (TOM) in April and the recent confirmation of further delays to TOM’s introduction.

Pictured: Dan Soper, IMTA.
Dan Soper, IMTA policy manager.

Post-Brexit border controls on imports from the EU have been officially delayed again, the UK Government has confirmed. Within its latest report, the UK Government explained that SPS border controls will come into effect on 31st January 2024.

Trade bodies from across the UK meat and food manufacturing sectors have expressed their frustration at the delay’s implications for businesses.

According to UK trade association IMTA, imposing controls with just over two months’ notice, and in the run up to Christmas, the busiest period in the year for the meat industry, would have had significant impact on traders. Though a delay is necessary at this late stage, IMTA stated that it will be to the frustration of many who have expended yet more time preparing for changes the UK Government had firmly told industry would happen from 31st October.

IMTA called for Government to use this additional time to provide industry in the UK and EU with the assurances and assistance it needs to prepare for SPS controls – it said, “to adequately prepare, industry needs detail.”

The Final Target Operating Model contains additional detail on areas such as groupage, which has been welcomed by IMTA. However, several questions raised by IMTA back in April have not been addressed in detail, including in the areas of exact rates of physical checks, risk categories for rest of world products and the SPS charging regime. IMTA said that it is essential that details and assurances in these areas are provided ahead of the introduction of certification on imports from the EU.

“It is important that the delay to the timetable… is communicated swiftly and effectively to trading partners.”

Dan Soper, IMTA policy manager.

Dan Soper, IMTA policy manager, said: “I think the delay will come as a relief to many of our members who have been concerned about the introduction of certification for imports from the EU and how that will impact on just in time supply chains. We hope that there will be a redoubling of efforts from Government to engage with industry to ensure that when the, now delayed, changes
are introduced sufficient consideration is given to just in time supply chains.

“For IMTA members who import from the rest of the world, the TOM presents an opportunity to reform the way controls are implemented, while maintaining the UK’s strict biosecurity standards. It is important that the delay to the timetable for implementation of changes to controls on rest of world imports is communicated swiftly and effectively to trading partners.”

IMTA said it will continue to work with members to ensure that industry is prepared for the next phase of import controls. IMTA will also continue to represent members’ interests to Government to ensure that controls can be implemented “as smoothly and efficiently as possible.”

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