After 4.5 years as Agricultural Counsellor in London, Tim Heddema is leaving the UK. He’s finalising the last few things and helping his successor settle in the new job. “The past few years have been very hectic; the only constant was change”, is how Heddema describes his term of office in the British capital city.
Obviously, the number-one topic keeping Tim Heddema busy throughout those years was Brexit. The British media aren’t reporting much about trading with the EU anymore. Covid-19, the Northern Ireland protocol and the discussion about Scottish independence are now filling the front pages. However, Brexit certainly isn’t over yet.
Heddema: “The most important message for entrepreneurs is to keep going with the preparations. The next date to keep an eye on is 1 January 2022. That’s when the new requirements for plants and plant products take effect, and it’s sooner than you might think. We can’t sit back and assume there will be digital solutions in place to make it all a smooth process. Brexit isn’t finished yet, and perhaps it will never be finished. The UK has become a third country. Our market access is no longer a given.
”What’s the atmosphere in the UK like when it comes to Brexit?
“That’s hard to say because Covid-19 is affecting everything. What’s clear though, is that there’s a lot of support for the current government. Last month, the Conservatives won the local elections. They’ve been gaining popularity at the expense of the Labour Party. A trend that’s persisted despite all the problems that Brexit is causing. It seems like the pro-Brexit group is just as strong as before. We expected to see some backlash, but that didn’t really happen. While the problems caused by Brexit have been considerable. Especially during the first few weeks of this year, and they’re still significant at the moment.” (..)
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