TOM consultation ends but meat industry requires more detail

TOM consultation ends but meat industry requires more detail

The UK published its Target Operating Model (TOM) on the future of the UK border in April 2023. A consultation period ran for six weeks and closed on Friday 19th May. Though the official consultation period has finished, many questions remain for industry before the introduction of controls on imports from the EU from 31st October 2023.

Pictured: Dan Soper, IMTA.
IMTA’s Dan Soper has highlighted six key areas of the plans that need further detail.

IMTA has highlighted six areas in which further detail is needed:

  • Assurance on EU veterinary capacity: Trade has consistently expressed concerns about EU veterinary capacity. The UK needs to work with EU member states to ensure there is sufficient capacity to certify EU exports to the UK. EU-UK trade is a 24/7 business, engagement with EU vets is critical to ensure capacity is available at the right time for industry.
  • Detail on how groupage will work: Further detail is still required on the UK Government’s proposed groupage schemes ahead of the October introduction of health certification. The impact of these needs careful thought as groupage loads often contain high-value short shelf-life products. 
  • Communications and engagement: This will be key to ensure that industry is ready for the changes from October. Given the short time frame between publication of the final TOM in June 2023 and the entry into force of requirements, it is essential that Government engages with industry to aid preparations for the changes.
  • Risk categorisation of commodities from rest-of-world: This is needed to provide certainty to traders on what checking rates their products could face on import into the UK. In some cases, it could be as low as 1% or as high as 30%. Additionally, the government should provide information on the methodology used to calculate the risk.
  • Detail on trusted trader scheme pilots: Firms need to know which criteria they will be assessed upon to obtain “trusted trader” status under the TOM. There are still outstanding questions about the requirements of the pilots.
  • Greater acknowledgment of the role imports play in the UK’s food security: Imports are vital for UK food security and for carcase balance in the meat sector. Adding additional costs and burdens in this supply chain risks adding inflationary pressures to a vital source of UK food. For more information see The Self-Sufficiency Myth.

IMTA policy manager, Dan Soper said: “IMTA welcomes the move to a risk-based approach to SPS controls at the UK border. However, for traders to adapt effectively to the new regime from 31st October 2023, more detail is needed. We are keen to have urgent further engagement with government ahead of October.  

“The Government intends to publish the final TOM in June, leaving just four months to prepare for the introduction of controls from October 2023. This presents a significant challenge for industry on both sides of the Channel. Businesses will need to put in place new processes, potentially adapt to new operating hours and recruit new staff and engage veterinary services to sign export health certificates for goods.”

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