On 31 December 2020, the Transition Period (sometimes also referred to as the “Implementation Period”) under the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement will come to an end. The end of the Transition Period will bring an end to the current status quo whereby Gibraltar, its citizens and its business, have enjoyed EU rights. Therefore, subject to the outcome of ongoing negotiations concerning the UK and Gibraltar’s future relationship with the EU, the end of the Transition Period will bring about important changes which Gibraltar, as a whole, will need to be ready for.
Gibraltar’s departure from the EU means that certain processes and procedures will inevitably become more difficult, cumbersome and bureaucratic. It is important that citizens and businesses are aware of this and that, where possible, they plan ahead. The Government can only prepare in areas that are within its control. Even then, there will be certain areas where mitigation is not possible because the new situation simply reflects what it means to be outside the European Union.
The above having been said, the purpose of this Notice is to reassure the public on the steps that the Government has taken to ensure the continuity of supply chains from the EU and the UK to Gibraltar
If there is no agreement with respect to the UK and Gibraltar’s future relationship with the EU by 31 December 2020
Even if there is no agreement with respect to the UK and Gibraltar’s future relationship with the EU, the public should not be concerned about the cutting off of supply chains to Gibraltar. This will not happen.
This means that Gibraltar will continue to be able to import food, fuel, medicines and other vital supplies irrespective of whether there is an agreement with the EU or not.
With respect to food supplies specifically, the Government has already explained, in Technical Notice (2) published on 21 September 2020, that supply chains of all food products originating in the EU will continue as normal. This will remain the case whether there is a deal or not.
It is possible that there could be changes to supply routes and customs procedures only with respect to certain products of animal origin coming from the UK.
However, the public should note that the Government has, for years now, worked very closely with local supermarkets, operators and the UK Government to ensure that such UK products can continue to be imported into Gibraltar as efficiently as possible notwithstanding such changes. Indeed, on 9 December, a further webinar attended by approximately 40 stakeholders was organised by the Government in conjunction with UK experts from the UK’S Department for Environment, Food and
Rural Affairs to offer further guidance and advice.
It should be underlined that the main change, at the Gibraltar end of the supply chain, concerns the manner in which such products may need to be cleared for exit at the closest EU Border Control Post in Algeciras.
Despite the logistical hurdles which will need to be overcome, the public should note that the Government has now entered into an arrangement with a leading and well-
established German shipping company to guarantee the availability of this narrow range of UK sourced products in Gibraltar after 31 December 2020.
As from January 2021, ferries operated by the company contracted will operate the short sea route across the Bay of Gibraltar to transport trucks cleared at Algeciras to Gibraltar. Moreover, the Government has also already announced that the infrastructural works which were required to be made at North Mole to offload trucks from ferries have already been completed and successfully tested.
The relevant Gibraltar food suppliers have now been informed about the ferry company’s operating schedule and the terms and conditions for use of the ample slots available.
The ferry will arrive in Gibraltar at 7am and leave by 8am six days a week.
If there is an agreement with respect to the UK and Gibraltar’s future relationship with the EU by 31 December 2020.
Negotiations with respect to the UK and Gibraltar’s future relationship with the EU are ongoing. As was stated in the Technical Notice referred to above, as part of these negotiations the Government is exploring a range of different options some of which are designed to suppress the need for customs controls on goods imported to Gibraltar via the EU. It remains the Government’s objective to secure a deal.
However, even if a deal is not reached, it is important to remember that we have been outside the EU Customs Union and the legal framework for the free movement of goods ever since we joined the then EEC in 1972. Therefore there will be no change to the import procedures for the vast majority of items.
This Notice is meant for guidance only.
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