This blogpost was written late on August 17th 2019
During the past week, while the political manoeuvring to block a no-deal Brexit grabbed all the headlines, probably the most significant development was one that would have fallen below most people’s radar, politicians included.
It was this Tweet from the French Embassy setting out the sanitary and phytosanitary controls that plant and animal product exporters from the UK could expect at French borders when the UK becomes a “third country”, out of the EU. Words to set the heart racing: “sanitary and phytosanitary controls”, are defined by the EU as “measures to protect humans, animals, and plants from diseases, pests, or contaminants.”
Such controls mean the end to “frictionless” trade and will lead to delays at borders. How extensive will the delays be? Who can say? All it takes to start a queue is one or two overly eager customs officers determined to make sure a trucker’s paperwork is in order. A very long queue.
Remember the chaos some months ago when French customs went on a “Brexit warning” strike? Chaos back up to the Belgian border, some 50K from Calais.