Brexit boost for Ireland as businesses in Spain ‘re-source’ amid EU customs costs

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After the UK left the EU on January 31 last year, a Brexit transition period was in place until December 31. After the transition period ended, the UK began being subjected to the same EU requirements as other ‘third countries’. Many products from the UK being imported to the EU have since been slapped with a mountain of red tape and higher import costs. The effects of the situation have been laid bare in Spain, which is home to more than 360,000 British expats.

Before Brexit, many Britons in the country relied on being able to import British products such as fresh meat.

However, customs restrictions and associated costs have forced some expats to look elsewhere for their favourite foods.

The Republic of Ireland has emerged as one of the reliable locations that expats are now turning to for their bacon, sausages and dairy items, according to Scottish expat Bill Anderson.

The country is one of the EU’s 27 member states and is therefore not subject to the same export restrictions as the UK.

Mr Anderson, who is a councillor on the Costa del Sol, told Express.co.uk that Ireland has “gained” from the post-Brexit restrictions on British imports into the EU.

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Mr Anderson, who moved to Spain almost 20 years ago, represents Spain’s PP party in the town of Mijas.

He said: “Any meats that were previously coming from the UK, they’ve had to re-source.

“I think a lot from Ireland. I’ve certainly seen Ireland’s name coming up a lot.

“So, Ireland has gained from this, because there are no restrictions.

“It impacts down the line to restaurants that are very typically British.”

Mr Anderson said that other non-meat items entering Spain from the UK have also been affected by higher import costs.

He added: “If some of the products that they’re buying are still British and not meat or dairy, but they’re still British things, whether it be baked beans or HP sauce, these prices are bumping up because they are subject to import duties now.

“Their transport costs seem to be higher, there’s import duties to pay, so it has affected the costs, and the prices for the consumer.”

Fresh meat and meat products imported into the EU from the UK post-Brexit are subject to stringent veterinary certification.

There are significant checks on meat and other products at the EU border to make sure imports meet the bloc’s strict health criteria.

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Increased paperwork and administrative costs have resulted in major difficulties for many exporters and have caused a huge slide in the number of UK products entering the EU.

British exports to the EU dropped by 55 percent (£2 billion) in the first quarter of this year compared to the same period in 2019, when trade hadn’t yet been impacted by COVID-19.

Mr Anderson claimed there was a point earlier this year where British supermarkets in Spain were seeing their shelves emptied but could not restock key products.

He said: “There are a couple of shops just here in Mijas and there are probably more in other parts, like Iceland and Tesco.

“There was a spell where the shelves were emptying, and they just weren’t refilling.

“They seem to have managed to get around that by buying, for example, Irish products.

“Whether it be sausages or cheeses, or anything containing dairy.

“So, there’s a lot of Irish bacon around and Danish bacon as British bacon can’t be brought in here.”
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