UPDATE 2-UK says it can overcome post-Brexit fishing "teething" woes, minister says

(Adds Johnson's spokesman)

LONDON, Jan 14 (Reuters) - Britain believes it can resolve the post-Brexit "teething issues" that prevented Scottish fishermen from exporting goods to the European Union because of customs delays, food minister George Eustice said on Thursday.

Some EU importers have rejected truck loads of Scottish fish since Jan. 1 because new requirements for catch certificates, health checks and export declarations meant they had taken too long to arrive, angering fishermen who are facing financial ruin if they cannot trade.

Eustice told parliament his staff had held meetings with Dutch, French and Irish officials to try to "iron out some of these teething problems."

"They are only teething problems," he said. "When people get used to using the paperwork goods will flow."

Eustice said with no grace period to introduce the rules, the industry was having to adapt to them in real time, dealing with such issues as what color ink can be used to fill in forms.

A spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the government was looking at ways to compensate those affected by what he described as "temporary issues," terminology that has incensed members of the Scottish National Party in parliament.

They have called for compensation for the fisheries industry in Scotland and say the disruption underlines that the British government has little consideration for their nation, with many believing it will fuel calls for Scottish independence.

The government says it has handed the Scottish government almost 200 million pounds to help minimize any disruption, which ministers say they had flagged for months before Britain completed its journey out of the EU at the end of last year.

But many logistics providers, now struggling to deliver goods in a timely manner, say the change to life outside the single market and customs union is much more significant and that while delivery times can improve, it will now cost more and take longer to export.

To get fresh produce to EU markets, logistics providers now have to summarize the load, giving commodity codes, product types, gross weight, the number of boxes and value, plus other details. Errors can mean longer delays, hitting French importers that have also been hit by the red tape. (Reporting by Kate Holton, Paul Sandle and Elizabeth Piper; Editing by Catherine Evans)

01/14/2021 14:22

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