Trade bodies voice concerns on BTOM

Trade bodies voice concerns on BTOM

Members of industry have issued statements regarding the implementation of the Border Target Operating Model (BTOM), voicing concerns that some businesses may not be fully prepared for the new controls.

The post-Brexit Border Target Operating Model came into effect on Wednesday 31st January 2024.

The new border checks came into effect at midnight on Wednesday 31st January 2024 following several pushbacks, as well as concerns that key information was missing.

In response to the implementation of the controls, the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) issued a call to action addressing the “pressing need” for Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) in the veterinary sector, particularly following the UK’s departure from the European Union.

The CIEH said that the new border checks “underscored the importance of stringent food safety measures at UK entry points”, and advocated for the re-expansion of environmental health responsibilities to include a “broader spectrum of food safety checks”.

Louise Hosking, executive director of environmental health at CIEH said: “Environmental health is uniquely positioned to mitigate some of the challenges that will be posed by our new post-Brexit regulatory framework for import controls.  

“Environmental health officers possess the requisite expertise, experience, and training to perform these essential inspections. By broadening their role in food safety checks at our borders, we can address current challenges pragmatically while steadfastly protecting public health.” 

Businesses seek clarity as trade bodies look to communicate with supply chain

Marco Forgione, director general at the Institute of Export and International Trade, said: “The long-awaited Border Target Operating Model (BTOM) will help to readdress some of the commercial disadvantages that UK businesses have been facing post-Brexit.

“This is an ambitious plan for UK trade, and should be applauded. In the long-term it will help reduce costs and friction for businesses, should make the UK’s borders the most modern and effective in the world, and promote and encourage free international trade. All of which we strongly advocate, as it will help to grow the economy.”

He continued: “However, more than 70% of the businesses with whom we have spoken remain concerned about potential teething problems. Issues which will impact prices and availability. Small firms in particular have also reported mixed levels of awareness and understanding.”

The International Meat Trade Association (IMTA) previously voiced concerns that businesses were not fully informed, and called on Government to provide clarity before the April phase of import controls rolled out, stating that “companies seeking to serve the UK consumer must know where they stand”.

Forgione said: “Businesses in the UK and trading in the UK can help mitigate issues by ensuring they prepare for these changes and are communicating with all of their supply chain now. It is vital that those affected are aware of what is happening, when, and what the impact to them will be.

“BTOM has to be seen in the context of global trade digitalisation. The move to a risk-based approach also opens up the potential for businesses to establish relieving, diversified, anti-fragile supply chains. At a time when global supply chains are being weaponised and disrupted, resilience is essential. 

“It is clear though that businesses here in the UK and in the EU remain uncertain about the new requirements and announcements over the last week have added to that uncertainty.”

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