LONDON — It would not take the customs officer lengthy to seek out the contraband stashed contained in the automobile that he is simply pulled over. Not weapons, medication or individuals smuggled over the border — however a ham sandwich wrapped in tinfoil.
“Welcome to the Brexit, sir, I’m sorry!” the convivial Dutch border official says with a chuckle as he confiscates the illicit snack.
The footage broadcast by Dutch TV community NPO 1 may appear farcical. But the official was merely appearing on new guidelines that got here into power after the post-Brexit United Kingdom stopped utilizing European Union laws on Jan. 1.
Before Brexit, the U.Ok. was a part of the E.U.’s “single market” that enables individuals, items, companies and cash to journey freely across the continent with little or no checks in any respect.
In December, the 2 sides agreed a new commerce deal to switch their outdated partnership, and this got here into power at the beginning of this 12 months. Since then companies and vacationers have been waking as much as the reality that the new system has the potential for critical disruption.
The driver within the video had traveled from the U.Ok. to the Netherlands — which remains to be one of many E.U.’s 27 member nations.
The driver appeared shocked at having his lunch impounded — “can’t I just take off the meat and leave the bread?” he requested in disbelief — however the new guidelines are clear. British authorities steering warns individuals they can not carry of their private baggage “products of animal origin such as those containing meat or dairy,” for instance “a ham and cheese sandwich.”
That’s as a result of the E.U. is fearful that something imported from the newly departed U.Ok. — which now follows completely different laws — may “present a real threat to animal health.”
This is not an remoted incident. The Netherlands’ customs company posted on Facebook a photograph displaying a pile of meals, together with a carton of orange juice, cereal and a field of oranges, which it confiscated from drivers arriving on the ferry port within the city of Hook of Holland.
But whereas vacationers having their lunches seized could be annoying, the true impacts of Brexit are being felt by companies.
In the long term, the Office for Budget Responsibility, a authorities watchdog, says the deal negotiated by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is ready to weaken the British economic system by 4 p.c in contrast with if it had stayed within the E.U.
Already companies are saying confusion introduced by new border checks has seen hold-ups and items not arriving at their vacation spot. Scottish salmon producer John Ross Jr wrote in an open letter that “it feels as though our own government has thrown us into the cold Atlantic waters without a lifejacket.”
Brexit has additionally prompted disruption contained in the U.Ok. itself. Extra paperwork has meant delays and empty grocery store cabinets in Northern Ireland, which is a part of the U.Ok. however is handled in another way by way of commerce below the new post-Brexit deal.
Some British on-line retailers have mentioned they’re now not capable of ship to Northern Ireland — despite the fact that it is all a part of the identical nation.
Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove advised Sky News final week that “significant additional disruption” is anticipated within the coming weeks, and that the federal government wanted to “redouble our efforts to communicate the precise paperwork that’s required.”