IMTA calls on Government to provide clarity before next BTOM deadline

IMTA calls on Government to provide clarity before next BTOM deadline

The International Meat Trade Association (IMTA) has issued a statement regarding the implementation of the Border Target Operating Model (BTOM) on Wednesday 31st January.

IMTA has called on Government to recognise the need for further details in good time, as the BTOM deadline is “looming large”.

The Association said that businesses have been “working furiously to get ready”, but maintained that preparations had been “hampered by the ongoing absence of certain key information” or the release by Government of detail at “too late a stage”.

IMTA outlined three questions regarding the BTOM:

  • What are the details of 24-hour support being planned by Government to support traders with the changes?
  • Do EU certifier capacity assessments take into account in-country location and daily availability of certifiers?
  • With a requirement to pre-notify one working day in advance from 31st January, what are companies who are unable to do this due to geographical or other constraints advised to do?

IMTA stated that “the requirement to pre-notify imports of meat from the EU one working day in advance is completely unworkable”, saying members had cited a range of reasons including “for shipments from EU border countries like France and Netherlands where goods are loaded less than 24 hours before transport; in case of system crashes; for chilled goods with limited shelf life; and Monday crossings where vehicles set off over the weekend”.

It said that Individual Port Health Authorities “may provide derogations in some cases” from 30th April, but until then “Government cannot reasonably expect just-in-time trade with the EU to cope and for food supply to continue if this 24 hour requirement is imposed this week”.

“We understand that for certain member states the translations of crucial Export Health Certificates (EHC) were only uploaded to TRACES in the last few days,” stated IMTA, which it said had left “very little time for EU vets and companies to prepare to issue them starting 31st January”.

Katrina Walsh, IMTA strategy director, said: “None of these barriers to preparedness are due to lack of engagement or commitment of UK traders. Members have sought to make arrangements for readiness in good faith.

“We now call on Government to be clearer on the approach between now and April 30th when the next set of requirements come in. A pragmatic and educational approach is crucial, Government must detail what this entails in order to maintain a level playing field and ensure food supply. Companies seeking to serve the UK consumer must know where they stand.”

IMTA to work with members to ensure preparedness

The Association put forward further questions on behalf of its members, asking that they be “answered without delay”:

  • What will be the frequency of ID and physical checks on EU and Rest of the World imports?
  • What will happen to product on a groupage load if one consignment on the truck is required to attend a Border Control Post for checks? Will product be unloaded and allowed to proceed?
  • Which Border Control Posts will provide a four hour derogation to prenotification and in which specific circumstances?
  • Have CDS, ALVS, GVMS and IPAFFS system links been tested sufficiently, to avoid delays?
  • How will the driver messaging system work and will it be available in a range of languages?
  • Is UK lab capacity sufficient to handle volume of checks on EU product from April?
  • How much will the Common User Charge (CUC) be?

IMTA highlighted the need for Government to recognise that the 30th April deadline – at which physical checks and sampling of EU imports begin and changes to imports from the Rest of the World take place – is “looming large”.

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

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