News

Government to take ‘light tough’ approach to border controls

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

Offord :'We’re trying to cut down on the amount of red tape and bureaucracy and so we’re continually trying to make sure we have a light touch'
Offord :'We’re trying to cut down on the amount of red tape and bureaucracy and so we’re continually trying to make sure we have a light touch'

Related tags Trade

The UK Government plans to take a ‘light touch’ approach to post-Brexit checks on food in a bid to avoid red tape and bureaucracy, according to the exports minister.

Ahead of new border controls that come into effect next week, UK exports minister Malcolm Offord attempted to reassure businesses that supply chains will not be held up as we transition to the new system.

“We’re trying to cut down on the amount of red tape and bureaucracy and so we’re continually trying to make sure we have a light touch,”​ he told Bloomberg’s UK politics podcast. “This is why it’s been revised for the benefit of our companies.”

Goods exports down

While this approach by the Government may sound like a boon for food manufacturers that rely on trade between the UK and the EU, Offord’s comments on the direction in which exports market is headed may spark some concerns.

When questioned about the decline in goods being exported to the EU, he was quick to point out that there was a dramatic shift towards services being the major export of the country – almost a 20/80 split respectively.

“We’re still trading very well with the EU on all levels,” ​he explained. “Our manufacturing goods have gone down, but that’s compensated by our services going up. But if you look at the numbers, our trade of manufactured goods to the rest of the world vs the EU is exactly the same, so Brexit has not been a factor.”

No fault of Brexit

In fact any decline in exports was down to the triple threat of the COVID-19 pandemic, war in Ukraine and hikes in energy prices, not complications that have arrived since Brexit.

“The EU is being very practical,” ​Offord added. “It’s post the Northern Ireland protocol – we’ve now got the green lane, the red lane – we’ve now got digital trade, we’ve now got the trusted trader schemes.

“Trade is now passing fast. We’re booming here – we’ve gone from seventh in the world to fourth exporter in the world. We’re good at exporting because we make goods and services that people want.”

Related topics Policy All Asia-Pacific Supply chain