When the UK left the EU in 2020, we became responsible for designing and implementing our own border arrangements. So, the government published its vision for the UK border, known as the UK 2025 Border Strategy, in December 2020.

But three years down the line, what do we know about the plans now, and how might they impact exporters? Read on to learn more.

2025 Border Strategy

The original strategy was ambitious in its proposals, aiming for the UK border to be ‘the most effective in the world’.

Plans to improve efficiency at the border included the development of a Single Trade Window, and outlined six key transformations:

> Develop a coordinated, user-centric approach to border design and delivery.

> Bring together the collection, assurance, and use of border data to provide a comprehensive view of data at the border.

> Establish ‘ports of the future’ at border crossing points to make the experience smoother and more secure for passengers and traders.

> Use upstream compliance to move processes away from the actual frontier where appropriate, both for passengers and traders.

> Build the capability of staff and the border industry responsible for delivering border processes.

> Shape the future development of borders worldwide, to promote the UK’s interests and facilitate trade and travel.

Following its publication, we’ve seen several postponements to the strategy; despite, for example, UK exporters being required to comply with EU border controls since January 2021.

Border Target Operating Model

After some delay, the Border Target Operating Model was published in draft form earlier this year, providing a framework for businesses to understand how the 2025 Border Strategy will be executed.

The Border Target Operating Model (TOM) set out a new standard for importing goods into the UK. But it is expected that exporters will also benefit from TOM, in the following ways:

> The introduction of sanitary and phytosanitary controls will assure trade partners about the quality of the UK’s exports.

> The UK Single Trade Window, a digital system for both exporters and importers, should make it faster and easier to complete requirements for exports.

> By using data-driven approaches to secure our border, the UK will be able to demonstrate to trade partners how their own import processes can be improved.

> By building on existing support for exporters (for example the 2021 Made in the UK Export Strategy) and addressing barriers to trade, issues such as export costs, lack of knowledge, constraints in capacity, and lack of access to contacts or networks, can be overcome.

Although the Border Target Operating Model has been welcomed by many, there have also been mixed responses to the draft publication.

For example, the British Ports Association have expressed frustration, as the costly infrastructure built to meet the requirements of the new border operating strategy, may not be needed.

However, as this is a draft version, it’s understood that the government will continue to engage with industry before the final publication of TOM.

So, while the UK is working towards full implementation of the 2025 Border Strategy, there is still some way to go, and we will keep you updated as changes occur.

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