The announcement last week that the UK won’t implement full sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) controls means Irish exporters don’t have to face the issuing of thousands of veterinary certificates from 1 April with the new date announced for 1 October. That means it will be nine months after the official Brexit transition phase ended and it will be 12 months for physical inspections to start. This is a unilateral transition announced by the UK government on imports despite rejecting the idea of an extension of the transition period during negotiations with the EU last year.

UK exporters haven’t been as fortunate because they faced full border controls from 1 January this year. The main EU ports for UK imports like Dublin, Rosslare and the French ports have been preparing for the introduction of import controls for several years and have had most of the physical infrastructure in place long before the 1 January 2021. The UK lag behind because they didn't seriously begin the process of getting ready for full border controls until 2020 and in some cases work is still at an early stage.