The UK Government, in collaboration with the Scottish and Welsh Governments, has published a plan that establishes the basis for risk-based checks across EU and non-EU trade. The draft Border Target Operating Model sets forth proposals for a new border surveillance and control system to provide protection from security and biosecurity threats, including those posed by unsafe food imports.

The UK Government will engage with industry for six weeks before publishing final version of the model later this year. The draft was developed considering input from the border industry and affected businesses across the UK.

The proposed model will prevent delays at the border by reducing the need for physical checks for many types of goods, and by ensuring that checks take place in a location other than ports to enable traffic to flow freely. The model is risk-based, global, and will use data and technology to simplify and streamline import trade processes. Central to the proposed model is the new Single Trade Window, which should be fully operational by 2027. Single Trade Window technology will streamline processes for traders, who will only need to submit information once and in one place. The government will also test further simplified processes by piloting a program of trusted trader assurance schemes.

The proposals in the model apply to imports from all countries. The controls aim to ensure environmental protection, to deliver food that is safe to eat while maintaining a secure food supply, and to disrupt criminal activity before it can harm UK communities.

The draft Target Operating Model proposes implementation of controls through three major milestones:

  • October 31, 2023: The introduction of health certification for imports of medium-risk animal products, plants, and plant products, as well as for high-risk food and feed of non-animal origin from the EU
  • January 31, 2024: The introduction of documented and risk-based identity and physical checks for medium-risk animal products, plants, and plant products, as well as for high risk food and feed of non-animal origin from the EU
  • October 31, 2024: Safety and Security declarations for EU imports will come into force from October 31, 2024, alongside a reduced dataset for imports and use of the UK Single Trade Window to remove duplication where possible across different pre-arrival datasets.

The UK Government encourages businesses to begin working with others within their supply chains to prepare for October 2023, when health certification will be required for applicable goods.

The model also outlines that new checks and controls will be introduced for Irish goods moving from Ireland directly to Great Britain. In accordance with the Windsor Framework, Northern Ireland businesses will retain unrestricted access to the market in Great Britain, whether moving goods directly or indirectly through Irish ports. The implementation dates for the second and third milestones at ports receiving Irish goods direct from Ireland on the west coast will be clarified in the final version of the model once it is published.