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Smuggling will increase after Brexit

Smuggling will increase after Brexit

Posted on October 3rd, 2019

As we approach the October 31st Brexit deadline, the political discourse continues to increase in vitriol as each side of the argument tries to get its point across.

As more challenges surface the new lexicon continues to grow, Brexit, Brexiteer, remainer, remoaner, backstop, withdrawal agreement, Article 50… the list goes on.

The Irish border continues to prove a major issue. One that currently seems to be intractable. However there is one universal truth that can’t be avoided.

Smugglers will always attempt to take advantage of any price differences or shortage of supply on either side of a border.

This happened in 1993 with the launch of the European Single Market. It allowed the free movement of people, capital, goods and services within the European Union. However, excises duties remained on alcohol, fuel and tobacco. The difference has made smuggling highly profitable and organised crime gangs have seized the opportunity to exploit the difference in pricing. Items smuggled include firearms and illicit drugs.

UK Ports make changes in run up to Brexit

It’s not just the Irish border that is proving challenging. Ports across the UK are looking at the implications of increased checks as people and goods look to cross what will be the EU/UK border. For example in Kent, both Dover and Sheerness have successfully applied for funding so that they can make improvements to cope with the increased workload expected post Brexit.

What happens to seized goods?

With these increased checks, there will be more seizures, either from private individuals or from businesses importing products. In many instances, it is not possible to identify the origins of the seized items. Consequently, it is difficult to differentiate between genuine items and counterfeit items. Counterfeit items represent a danger to public health and the company or brand’s reputation.

According to an article in the Independent, almost 45 billion fake cigarettes are smoked in the UK each year. Many of these counterfeit cigarettes contain arsenic, pesticides and rat poison. We all know that smoking is a deadly habit. However, we should not allow fake cigarettes to make it even more dangerous.

Contaminated Goods

Not only counterfeit items represent a risk to the UK public. Illegal immigration also poses a risk. When migrants attempt to enter the UK illegally, they often secrete themselves in vehicles importing products into the UK legally. However, public health remains a priority and the risk of contamination from the migrants is too great to allow the items into the UK market place.

Therefore, to ensure that counterfeit or contaminated items do not enter the market putting public health at risk, seized items are often destroyed.

Whilst Brexit and any proposed solutions are beyond us, as a company we can definitely help protect public health by keeping counterfeit products off the streets.

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