France to deploy new delaying tactics to disrupt trade ‘None of that better after Brexit’

Hebridean shellfish farmers explain difficulties they face with France

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A Hebridean shellfish farmer has spoken out on the BBC about the difficulties involved in shipping products through France after Brexit. The UK’s shellfish industry has been hit hard after barriers to trade were put up with the sector’s main markets in the European Union. A shellfish farmer has argued that French customs officials use delaying tactics at the borders to “stop us getting to market.”

Fisherman DJ Domhnallach told BBC Alba: “The shellfish has to go through France.

“Often something strange happens at the end of the year, someone will be unhappy and try and stop us getting to market.

“I’m sure none of that will be any better after Brexit.

Boris Johnson vowed to “maximise the benefits of Brexit” in 2022.

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The Prime Minister, marking a year since the post-Brexit free trade deal with the European Union came into force, said the Government would “go further and faster” to take advantage of the “enormous potential that our new freedoms bring”.

However, a former senior civil servant in charge of Brexit planning has warned some British businesses may “give up importing” as a result of new rules implemented in the new year.

Philip Rycroft, who was permanent secretary at the Department for Exiting the European Union (DExEU) between 2017 and 2019, said the changes that came into play on January 1 will cause “teething problems”, with some sectors hit harder than others.

Mr Rycroft told BBC Radio 4’s PM programme the new rules might be too much for some companies.

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“The Federation of Small Businesses reckon that only about a quarter of their members are ready for this, which is a bit surprising in a way because they’d obviously had a lot of notice that this is coming,” he said.

“But let’s not forget, they’ve had a pretty torrid year, most businesses, with Covid and everything else, so a lot of businesses won’t be ready.

“There will be teething problems… but the big question is, how many businesses ultimately think: ‘Do you know what? This is just too much hassle’, and give up importing?

“Just as some businesses have already given up exporting because it’s not worth it.”

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He added: “Businesses exporting to the EU from the UK have already faced these rules, obviously, for the best part of a year.

“So it’s now going to be those businesses in the UK that import from the EU (that) have got to deal with this, essentially, new Brexit bureaucracy.

“This is what taking back control of our borders means. It will hit some sectors harder than others.

“The rules are more complicated for animal products, in particular food products that contain bits of animals, because of all the requirements around that.”

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