January 18, 2019 / 5:00 PM / in 6 months

German customs preparing for Brexit with 900 extra officers

BERLIN, Jan 18 (Reuters) - Germany’s customs agency is hiring 900 extra officers in preparation for Britain’s departure from the European Union, its director told the news magazine Der Spiegel, warning companies that, deal or no deal, they needed better to prepare for Brexit.

In an interview, extracts from which were published on Friday, customs agency head Colette Hercher said the agency was well prepared regardless of whether Britain’s exit was regulated by an agreement deal or happens with no agreement.

Britain’s parliament this week overwhelmingly rejected a withdrawal agreement negotiated by Brussels and London over two years. Many concluded that a disruptive, disorderly Brexit had become more likely.

That would oblige customs authorities across the EU to make checks on goods coming from or leaving to Britain that in the past could flow freely.

“In particular those firms which until now have only done business in the EU will have to get ready,” Hercher said. “We will do what we have always done for non-EU countries, but for one country more.”

The extra officers would mainly be deployed in ports and airports, she said. (Reporting by Thomas Escritt, editing by Larry King)

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