The Dutch flower industry has called for the introduction of new post-Brexit border checks to be delayed until 2025, because of “significant concerns” about industry readiness for the changes, the Financial Times reported this week.
The British government will start introducing new paperwork requirements for EU companies sending animal and plant products to Britain from the end of January, after several previous delays.
But, the FT says, the Dutch floricultural wholesalers lobby group VGB has written to the British government warning that the timelines are a cause for concern, and come into effect just ahead of Valentine’s Day, Easter and Mother’s Day, when demand for cut flowers is high.
According to VGB figures from 2021, Britain was the second biggest destination for Dutch flowers and plants, with exports worth €1.1 billion.
The Dutch tree and bulb grower’s association Anthos has also warned about the impact of the planned shift to physical inspections of plants.
“We fear that it will have a big impact on logistics and cause damage to products like big mature trees, with root balls, where loading can take five to six hours by skilled people,” Hendrik Jan Kloosterboer told the paper. “So it is simply not possible to offload these products at the border.”
In 2022, the Netherlands exported domestically-produced items worth some €27.5 billion to Britain. However, the national statistics agency CBS has warned this may go down when new British border checks are introduced on animal and vegetable products.
In 2022, the Netherlands exported plants, bulbs and flowers worth almost €12 billion worldwide.
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