Solutions to NI Protocol challenges will be ‘essential but complex’, says BVA
The British Veterinary Association (BVA) welcomes the UK Government’s appeal to the EU to resolve problems associated with the Northern Ireland Protocol, but warns that solutions to the movement of products of animal origin will be complex.
The UK Government is seeking a negotiation of significant changes to the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Responding to the Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures set out in the Government’s Command Paper, BVA president James Russell said: “There is a huge and legitimate concern about the lack of veterinary capacity to meet the requirements for moving products of animal origin from Great Britain to Northern Ireland once the grace period ends later this year.”
The association welcomed efforts by the UK Government to address the issues raised by the BVA previously. Russell also affirmed the BVA’s support for the development of a framework that promotes good animal and public health outcomes whilst utilising the veterinary workforce effectively.
Russell stated that the Government, in approaching these negotiations, “must not underestimate the complexity of finding a workable solution.” He continued: “A solution for SPS cannot simply be modelled on a customs arrangement as it needs to provide assurance throughout the whole system.
“Even if a product is sold in NI, there’s no guarantee that it will be consumed in NI due to the thousands of border crossings that take place every day. And consideration needs to be given to those farms and other businesses that straddle the border. How will products destined for these companies be designated?”
The Command Paper also proposes a dual regulatory regime for Northern Ireland. The BVA “remain concerned that dual systems can open the door to food fraud and would want to see significant safeguards in place.”
Russell added: “Steps to address the significant problems under the NI Protocol are essential, but the devil will be in the detail.”