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Currently £466bn ($605bn) of goods are exempt from border checks between the EU and Britain, said Andrew Meany, partner at economics consultancy firm Oxera. But once out of the EU, Britain may have to conduct at least 300m border checks a year, he predicted.
Based on a scenario of low regulation and high enforcement, this will cost £1bn ($1.3bn), he said. Staff and IT systems will struggle to cope with the extra checks on goods coming into and leaving the U.K., and those passing through to Ireland, he said. An estimated two-thirds of Irish exports to continental Europe move via the U.K.
HMRC's customs clearance system is due to be replaced in March 2019, but has been planned to handle 60m annually.
Checks on goods from outside the EU generally last 45 minutes on each lorry load at ports such as Dover.
“Post-Brexit, adding four of those checks (at an Irish port, at two English ports, and then a French one) onto each consignment of Irish goods starts to look unpalatable,” he said.
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