June 12, 2020 | 10:10 am

The UK formally confirmed on Friday to the European Union that it does not want to extend the postbrexit transition period, which runs until the end of this year, before a virtual mini-summit is held next week.

“I have formally confirmed that the UK will not extend the transition period and the time has come to ask for extensions,” Cabinet Minister Michael Gove wrote on Twitter after an online meeting with the European Commission’s Vice President for Institutional Relations. , Maros Sefcovic.

“Gove couldn’t be clearer,” the latter said at a press conference in Brussels.

The British minister explained to the European official that not asking for the extension was the promise given to British citizens in the electoral campaign, Sefcovic said, assuring to take it as a definitive conclusion of this discussion.

After a year of blockades and political chaos, the United Kingdom officially left the European Union on January 31 thanks to the overwhelming absolute majority obtained by the conservatives of Boris Johnson in the December legislative elections.

You should read: UK economy plummets 20.4% in April

Currently, the country is in a period of transition in which little changes, to allow London and Brussels to negotiate a free trade agreement that should govern their future trade relations.

This period, which expires on December 31, can be extended up to two years but for this London must request it before July 1.

After four rounds of contacts, conducted by videoconference due to the coronavirus pandemic, negotiations are blocked at several key points.

Johnson enters the negotiation

If there is no agreement, trade relations between the two former partners would be governed by the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO), which imposes import tariffs.

To try to unblock the talks, a virtual summit is scheduled for Monday between Prime Minister Boris Johnson and senior officials from the European Union.

The rekindled threat of a brutal breakup later in the year exacerbates fears about the British economy, whose GDP plummeted 20.4% in April, the first full month of confinement imposed on March 23 against the spread of the coronavirus.

In this context, the British government decided to soften its plans so as not to aggravate the difficulties of British companies, the economic newspaper Financial Times and the BBC public radio television reported on Friday.

Border controls in 2021

The United Kingdom announced that it would introduce phased border controls on European Union assets after the Brexit transition period ends, to try to soften the blow for companies already facing the coronavirus pandemic.

Although the original plan was to impose full border controls on imports entering the UK from the EU from January 1 of next year, the government said it would introduce the changes in stages until July 1, 2021, giving companies more time to resolve the formalities.

Companies have long asked the government for more clarity on the new border controls that will come into effect at the end of this year, when the current transition period ends, which maintains the status quo with the EU, after the British exit from the bloc last year. January.

Starting in January, merchants importing standard merchandise such as clothing and electronics will have to keep comprehensive records of imported merchandise, but will have up to six months to complete customs declarations.

Although tariffs will have to be paid, payments may be deferred until customs declarations have been made, and companies will have to consider how to account for VAT on imported goods.

We are aware of the impact coronavirus has had on British companies and when we regain control of our laws and borders later this year, we will adopt a pragmatic and flexible approach to help companies adapt to the changes and opportunities that come with being outside the single market and the customs union

a government source told ..

Starting in April, those importing all products of animal and plant origin will have to fill out forms, and by July, complete checks will be carried out on all merchants and all merchandise.

£ 50 million has been allocated by the Government for the recruitment, training and technological supplies of customs services.

“Today’s announcement is an important step in preparing the country for the end of the transition period, but there is still much work to be done,” Michael Gove said in a statement.

With information from . and .