Britain left the European Union in January but is currently in a Brexit transition period under which all EU rules apply until the end of 2020.
The government plans announced in February, which meant a full border control both ways across the Channel from 1st January 2021, have just been dropped.
It comes amid warnings of a shortfall in customs agents to deal with the huge increase in bureaucracy, and tight deadlines for building the new infrastructure required.
Full border controls with the EU won’t be ready until at least six months after the end of the Brexit transition period, the government has announced. This will give the freight industry some time of recovery from the Covid 19 pandemic and allow to plan for a new trading relationship with Europe.
The government says it will phase in full controls from April on products of animal origin, with the extra forms and customs declarations required for all traders from July.
The European Union is still expected to impose full border controls on goods travelling from the UK on 1 January as planned.
At the same time no extension period to trade negotiations has been announced, raising the prospect of a no-deal Brexit.
UK will leave the single market and customs union on 31st December, which will mark the end of seamless trade with EU. The government wants to negotiate a free trade agreement to eliminate most tariffs to be paid on goods but businesses would still be subject to the new checks and extra paperwork.
There will be negotiations each week for five weeks, beginning on 29 June. The UK has said it will walk away from the talks if there is no sign of progress in July, arguing that an autumn deal would be too late for the country to prepare for the full exit from the EU’s single market and customs union on 1 January.