The Tánaiste has welcomed a decision by the UK government to further delay a number of post-Brexit border controls.
The British government had planned to impose checks on imports, including those from Ireland, from January 1st after leaving the single market, but Westminster has confirmed the changes, which mainly affect the agriculture and food sector, will not be implemented for three to nine months.
“They’ve decided to delay those checks, I think at least until the end of the year, and I think that’s going be very welcome for Irish business,” Leo Varadkar said.
“There was a lot of concern, particularly in the food sector, but more broadly, that Britain imposing those checks on imports going to Britain from Ireland would create further trade disruption, and could have a negative impact on business and jobs.
“I welcome the fact that they’ve decided not to proceed with that and we are keen, over the next couple of months, Mr (Simon) Coveney and I, to work with our British colleagues and European colleagues to come up with solutions that minimise disruption to trade.”
Brexit minister Lord Frost said the delay was due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The pandemic has had longer-lasting impacts on businesses, both in the UK and in the European Union, than many observers expected in March,” he said in a statement.
“There are also pressures on global supply chains, caused by a wide range of factors including the pandemic and the increased costs of global freight transport.
“These pressures are being especially felt in the agri-food sector.
“In these circumstances, the Government has decided to delay further some elements of the new controls, especially those relating to sanitary and phytosanitary goods.”