Project Paperwork: Brexit Britain begins to take shape

LONDON — It’s official: Brexit Britain will mean a lot of red tape.

Old “Project Fear” scare stories from the 2016 Remain campaign about masses of customs paperwork and increased costs for traders, as well as restrictions on immigration for vital sectors, are becoming reality.

The government on Monday unveiled a 230-page blueprint detailing the new regulations for hauliers exchanging goods with EU member countries. Businesses will need to submit customs declarations for exports before heading to the border from January 1, and from July 1 for imports.

Hundreds of millions of customs forms will be required each year once the changes are fully brought in, collectively costing firms billions of pounds.

It doesn’t end there. Businesses will have to apply for trader registration numbers and other administrative processes, and trucks on their way to ports might need to be rerouted by government officials to face checks or to avoid getting stuck in traffic jams with other drivers who do not have the correct paperwork.

“It is time for our new start, time for us to embrace a new, global, destiny” — Michael Gove, U.K. government minister

Britain is also set to hire thousands more customs and Border Force staff and build new truck parks and border control posts near ports to undertake the new checks that will be required for goods.

“The publication of the border operating model really brings home the breadth of new processes that goods being transported between the U.K. and EU will be subject to,” said Richard Ballantyne, chief executive of the British Ports Association.

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