UK exports of animals and animal product to EU approved
The UK listed status application to assure animals and animal product movements in a no-deal EU exit has been approved by EU member states.
The Member States agreed the application after confirming that it met the animal health and biosecurity assurances required for a third country to export live animals and animal products.
This confirmation is part of the EU’s published no deal contingency planning – without it, exports of animal products and most live animals to the EU could not take place in the event of a no-deal exit from the EU, currently scheduled for April 12th, unless an extension to the date is agreed between the EU27 and the UK government.
Food and Animal Welfare Minister David Rutley said: “This is good news for UK businesses. It demonstrates our very high standards of biosecurity and animal health which we will continue to maintain after we leave the EU.
“If you or your business import or export animal and animal products, or imports high risk food, then I urge you to visit our guidance pages on gov.uk for what you need to do to be ready to continue to trade post-Brexit.
“Our top priority remains delivering a negotiated deal, but it is the job of a responsible Government to ensure we are prepared for all scenarios, including no deal.”
UK exports of animals and their products to the EU will need to go through an EU Border Inspection Post, and businesses will still require an Export Health Certificate (EHC) to meet its requirements.
Should a deal scenario come about, the UK will not need to be listed during the implementation period.
Common rules will also remain in place until the end of the implementation period, meaning businesses will be able to trade on the same terms as now up until the end of 2020.
Disruption for those businesses which import live animals, germinal products and certain animal products will also be minimised, as they will now continue to have access to the TRACES (Trade Control and Expert System) after the UK leaves the European Union, until later this year.
TRACES is the system used by importers to notify authorities of such imports from non-EU countries.
The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has welcomed the announcement that EU Member States have agreed the UK’s listed status application.
BVA president Simon Doherty said: “Amidst all of the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, the listed status application approval is a very welcome piece of news.
“BVA made an early call for the government to ensure the UK achieved listed third country status in order to avoid the nightmare scenario that no animals or animal products could be exported in a no-deal Brexit.
“It is testament to the incredibly hard work of government vets across the UK making sure that the UK meets the stringent health and biosecurity requirements to trade with EU countries.
“This announcement will bring some relief to vets and farmers who have been worried about the significant welfare and economic implications of not being able to move animals under a no-deal Brexit.”
The National Sheep Association (NSA) also welcomed the announcement, and Eleanor Phipps of NSA commented: “NSA is very pleased to hear this news as it means there will be no period of lost trade. UK farmers can rest assured there will remain a market for their products in the EU from the point we leave, potentially as soon as this Friday.”
NSA was concerned leaving without this assurance would have led to serious disruptions in the UK market.
Phipps continues: “It is pleasing this information has come now before the next Brexit deadline, which is just three days away.
“Had we left without listed status being secured, sheepmeat exporters would have lost access to the EU market overnight with no knowledge of when it may be returned, which would have been very damaging for the industry. With the assurance exporters can rest assured the market will remain if we leave without a deal.”
However, NSA is still emphasising the risks of a no-deal as tariffs will apply to UK lamb exports.
Phipps concludes: “In order to utilise the now secured EU market for UK sheepmeat, exporters will have to face the 40-50% tariffs to export as NSA has previously warned. In that context, we’re still very clear that a no deal Brexit would not be desirable for our industry.”