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Confused about borders and importing because of Brexit

(92 Posts)
jm90914 Tue 20-Nov-18 07:05:01

All the talk of imports, exports and borders because of Brexit has got me confused.

I understand that, as far as importing goes, borders and controls exist to vet the quality of goods coming into the country. What I don’t understand is why (in the worst case scenario) Brexit will cause shortages.

Surely our government sets the regulations around border checks, so why can’t they just say that, from our end, there will still be no checks on goods coming from the EU even though we’ve left? Presumably that’s how things work now?

If the EU wants to check goods we export their way, then that’s their right, but why can’t we just accept medicines and stuff that we know are coming from the EU without any checks and chaos?

I was thinking it might be because imports now need to be taxed? But then I was again questioning why. Could the government not also just say we’re not charging any tariffs on goods from the EU?

I voted remain, and I’d do so a million times over, but I’m trying to understand why the border chaos everyone is talking about is going to happen.

I’ve got relatives and friends that rely on medication, so I’ve been trying to understand the implications and it just got me thinking.

bellinisurge Tue 20-Nov-18 07:31:03

The most difficulties will happen with no deal Brexit. More paperwork to get through means stuff gets snarled up either side of the border. Even with loads of good will and our border people waving things through (taking control, eh?) the slightest snarl up has a knock on effect. We don't want medicines caught up in that so these will need to be stockpiled here or flown in. That's a positive spin on things. It could be much worse.
Check out 3BlokesinaPub on YouTube. Episodes are about 40 mins each. Start at the beginning.

FloralCup Tue 20-Nov-18 08:18:28

My understanding:
If we revert to World trade organisation rules we would need to follow the tariffs and quotas set out by the WTO. One rule is you have to treat all countries the same and can't favour particular ones - ie can't lower tariffs just for the EU.
To make sure we are complying we'll have extra paperwork and have to check x% of shipments - we don't have the facilities/capacity at ports to do this. So a backlog will be created.
We could prioritise fresh food/medicines etc but then other normal day-to-day goods will be affected.
If the ports are busy trying to get goods in it will also create delays for exports going out.
Eventually things will work out once infrastructure is in place and a new flow is established but the first few months(?) would be a worry.

lonelyplanetmum Tue 20-Nov-18 08:52:16

https://www.instituteforgovernment.org.uk/sites/default/files/publications/IfGBrexitt_customs_WEB.pdf

Here's a link that helps.

I think it in the original post the OP was maybe predominantly thinking of goods coming in?

Yes a proposed solution on imports to avoid disruption at the border is for the UK to choose to waive checks and tariffs on EU goods as they enter The U.K. including in NI.

However this wouldn’t produce a solution for exports. We can’t expect all countries in the world (including EU member states) to choose to waive checks just on all goods from the U.K.There’s the Most Favoured Nation principle thingy that applies to all WTO agreements. If we waive tariffs and checks on imported goods for one country we would have to let in goods coming from all other countries unchecked.

The EU has to impose checks on goods entering Into all member states including Ireland. It can't treat us differently to say Nigeria under a no deal Scenario as we are just any old third country.

Even if checks are imposed only on exports. That still causes cause delays and reduces or halts trade.

Understanding it helps if you think of goods going both ways think of it as if you were Dutch or Irish.. Also it helps thinking of customs rules on goods and imposition of tariffs separately.

Taking Ireland or the Netherlands as an example, a no deal scenario involves goods going Into those countries being subjected to checks going in. So for eg ALL animal and plant origin products would be subject to controls at a border. With checks It's the flow into the EU that's more of a problem not the flow coming out.

Tariffs are more of a problem with goods flowing in.Even the govt had to be briefed on all this! Not all MPs have read it I reckon .

http://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/CBP-8397/CBP-8397.pdf

1tisILeClerc Tue 20-Nov-18 08:59:28

You will have seen the term 'JIT (Just In Time)'
This is where products which are made/grown anywhere in the world are transported to a very tight schedule to arrive at the shop/factory which greatly reduces the need to 'warehouse' goods, which costs a lot of money. This JIT schedule is very tight. Parts to make cars are schedules to within half an hour (someone here might know what this time is), and a delay of more than an hour or two could bring an assembly line to a halt.
BMW making Minis in Swindon. If the line stopped for 24 hours, would lose £60 Million.
Currently parts from the EU are practically waved through customs as the rules are 'common' across Europe.
Leaving the EU with no 'deal' means that every lorry, for which around 8,000 a day cross Dover/Calais would have to be stopped and checked. Marshalling that number of trucks to get them all to the right place at the right time without delay would be near impossible.
It could be that 20 trucks destined for BMW might end up 12 hours late, risking a shutdown of production. Fresh food that cannot keep would rot.
Obviously with a 'no' or minimal deal things can be worked out to create new schedules, but it could take months to get a new system up and running. The new computer system that that HMRC needs to accommodate all the extra 'transactions' is not ready and may not be until will after 29 March.

jm90914 Tue 20-Nov-18 09:22:43

Thanks a lot everyone for the helpful answers. Very much appreciated. I’ll keep reading up on it via the links you all provided, but I think I’m getting a better idea.

What a complete mess...

Talkstotrees Tue 20-Nov-18 09:49:04

there was a very good explanation in Sky News but I can’t find it now. Will look later.

1tisILeClerc Tue 20-Nov-18 10:06:14

I would recommend the Westminsterenders series of threads (they have been ongoing for 3 years?).
I am just the 'village idiot' but there are many on there who have discussed a lot of the issues in considerable detail over the years.

Talkstotrees Tue 20-Nov-18 18:01:11

Not sure I’d recommend them at the moment - it’s all gone a bit gloomy sad

1tisILeClerc Tue 20-Nov-18 18:33:46

Unfortunately it is a bit like when you discover that the tooth fairy or people who might pop down chimneys doesn't exist, you can't believe in unicorns forever, and it is better to be aware of what is happening.

Yaralie Tue 20-Nov-18 19:16:53

Yes, we know that unicorns and fairies don't exist, but how do you persuade the readers of the rightwing tabloids?

ragged Tue 20-Nov-18 20:47:05

I guess Brexiters wanted us to all revert to living in 'The Shire'. Peacefully scoffing scones at 2nd breakfast & nothing like bureacracy & international diplomacy exists. Else we'll be reshaped as Singapore off the West coast of Europe, with an underclass of foreign workers.

Talkinpeece Tue 20-Nov-18 22:33:48

Just cross everything and hope for a Customs Union
then things will stay sensible.

If there is a hard Brexit - do an advanced search for my posts that include "C88" or "C16"
I used to work in Customs Clearance at Dover

OutsideInTheGarden Wed 21-Nov-18 00:42:49

1tisILeClerc - "This JIT schedule is very tight. Parts to make cars are schedules to within half an hour (someone here might know what this time is), and a delay of more than an hour or two could bring an assembly line to a halt. BMW making Minis in Swindon. If the line stopped for 24 hours, would lose £60 Million."

Oh FFS! stop spouting fear-mongering bullshit. So the JIT schedule is so tight that a couple of lorries breaking down / stuck on a ferry in bad weather / lost in an accident would stop production just like that. It bullshit and you know it. What happened when the Channel tunnel had a fire and was closed / operating at reduced capacity for months? What happens in bad weather when all cross-Channel ferries are cancelled? Get a grip. There is enough slack in JIT schedules to cope.

"Leaving the EU with no 'deal' means that every lorry, for which around 8,000 a day cross Dover/Calais would have to be stopped and checked. "

Absolute utter total fucking bullshit.

Half our imports come from non-EU countries. Only a tiny fraction of these shipments are stopped and checked. A tiny fraction, chosen either at random or by intelligence-led decisions often drug or suspected fraud related.
Applying the same procedures to EU27 imports after a no-deal Brexit will not add much delay/disruption at all.

As for tax / VAT payments etc, nobody actually stands at any border and physically collects money (that went out in the middle ages). Tax-related info is pre-declared and paid when due, all electronically.

There just isn't an issue here. We manage to import 50% of our goods from non-EU countries without 10 mile queues of ships waiting to get into harbour.

The chief exec of the Port of Bristol was speaking today and they are totally prepared for even a no-deal Brexit. He doesn't see an issue.

A Dutch customs expert was also totally perplexed by all the fuss and couldn't understand what the EU was talking about in the Withdrawal Agreement regarding applying the sort of customs procedures "wet stamps" that he personally had not seen since 1992 (even to non-EU imports). It's scare-mongering codswallop.

All this talk of huge delays is Project Fear on stilts and in spades. It's all utter bullshit.

OutsideInTheGarden Wed 21-Nov-18 00:45:18

jm90914 - "Thanks a lot everyone for the helpful answers. Very much appreciated. I’ll keep reading up on it via the links you all provided, but I think I’m getting a better idea"

No you're not. You're being feed a line of bullshit fear-mongering from a bunch of Remainers who most likely are paid shills.

jm90914 Wed 21-Nov-18 02:32:10

@Outside

I’m willing to listen to any view points, apart from conspiracy theory presented without evidence (the category under which your paid shill comment can be filed under).

I would rather you presented your points politely, but I will investigate what you say further as well, as best as I can given that I know nothing on these subjects.

You could have been polite, it wouldn’t have killed you.

twofingerstoEverything Wed 21-Nov-18 06:54:35

jm this article is a few months old but explains some of the issues around Dover and a hard Brexit. It quotes Dover Port's Head of Policy (rather than a shouty man on the internet) and explains a bit about their worries.
Dover's MP is also concerned.
There are probably solutions to all these potential difficulties, but they're unlikely to come cheap and it's doubtful that we will transition seamlessly and smoothly on day one in the event of no deal. In order for things to change smoothly, we should have things in place now. We don't.

Motheroffourdragons Wed 21-Nov-18 07:00:09

I think the biggest issue for us is exporting - which will cause us huge problems, because as has been said already the ports will become jammed with lorries trying to get into France, but the extra time added per lorry, even if it is only a few minutes will create huge backlogs. Hence the roadworks on the M20.

And if we can't get our lorries out they won't be able to get back in with what it is we need to import - even if we decide to waive customs checks.

bellinisurge Wed 21-Nov-18 07:00:47

Outside is not interested in providing evidence that stands up to scrutiny. He/she doesn't like to be challenged on the evidence he/she does provide and prefers to be childish.
Outside is now accusing anyone who disagrees with her/him of being paid to do so.
Still waiting for my cheque .....

Talkstotrees Wed 21-Nov-18 07:24:33

Found it! (The Sky News report)

m.youtube.com/watch?v=-psqbV2jD-c

FishesaPlenty Wed 21-Nov-18 07:29:38

Well the Port of Bristol's ready for Brexit, what a relief. Of course there are no cross-channel ferries actually operating from the Port of Bristol so that doesn't really help the drivers of the the lorry loads of veg queuing up at Dover for inspection.

The reason that all that non-EU freight gets in without ships queuing up at ports is down to the timescales involved, the inherent storability and portability of containerised freight and the fact that the ports which handle it are designed for that purpose. And of course 1,000 containers take up much less physical space at the port than 1,000 lorries.

It's true that Customs only check a tiny percentage of non-EU freight and they won't have to check every lorry arriving at Dover. That really is just a misunderstanding or a deliberate scare story. And from what I know of current non-EU import procedures customs declarations will generally be made electronically before arrival at the port and most payments made in an organised manner.

However, a lorry load of veg from Belgium isn't the same as a container of plastic toys from China. The lorry hasn't taken a week to arrive and it won't sit there without any problems awaiting the convenience of a clerk somewhere. The electronic customs declaration is only part of the job - the driver will still have to park up, join a queue and physically hand over paperwork to be checked by Customs and matched up with the declaration. It's this extra few minutes for each lorry which is expected to cause problems - not physically checking the loads.

This is why they're talking about a (so far non-existent) technological solution to the problem. If a vehicle registration and date of travel could be tied to a particular customs declaration then they could use ANPR to avoid the need for every lorry to stop.

What happened when the Channel tunnel had a fire and was closed / operating at reduced capacity for months?

Ferries were used instead.

What happens in bad weather when all cross-Channel ferries are cancelled?

They queue up and use the tunnel - and it causes chaos. You'll have heard of Operation Stack? And yes, goods are delivered late and production lines do close down.

In both these cases though there is a ready alternative. There is no alternative when the bottleneck exists at every port and at the tunnel.

bellinisurge Wed 21-Nov-18 07:37:15

Someone doesn't know much about importing food if they think
A) Bristol is ready;and
B) it's got the answer to our food import problems

Buteo Wed 21-Nov-18 08:12:02

The chief exec of the Port of Bristol was speaking today and they are totally prepared for even a no-deal Brexit. He doesn't see an issue

Ah yes, the Bristol Port Company, chaired by Terence Mordaunt, 13th largest donor to the Leave campaign, with CEO David Ord being quite chummy with the ERG.

In fact, here he is being chummy with Rees-Mogg.

Sir David was asked if British ports would be able to cope with a no-deal Brexit. Yes, he said

That’s from today’s Daily Mail.

Peregrina Wed 21-Nov-18 08:20:52

OutsideInTheGarden sounds like the politicians Redwood and Rees-Mogg who with over confidence blab utter inanities while at the same time making sure that their own financial bolt holes have been prepared in the EU.

Talkinpeece Wed 21-Nov-18 10:17:13

Dover Calais handles 17% of all british imports by Value

how much does Bristol Handle ?
I suspect Southampton, Tilbury, Harwich, Liverpool and Hull are rather larger

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