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Food and Livestock: UK Trade with EU

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 24th September 2018.

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Photo of Lord Taylor of Warwick Lord Taylor of Warwick Non-affiliated

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports that food and livestock may be delayed at UK borders in the event of a no-deal Brexit; and what plans, if any, they have to combat a potential shortage of vets working at UK borders.

Photo of Lord Gardiner of Kimble Lord Gardiner of Kimble The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The checks and import process for live animals, products of animal origin, high-risk food and feed from the EU will not change on day 1. We are adopting a risk based approach and envisage no radical change to the process initially.

In a no deal situation the EU will not carry out full checks on imports of third country animal products and high-risk food and feed which move through the EU before arrival in the UK (transit goods). Importers would therefore need to notify UK authorities using the new import notification system and would be directed to an existing UK Border Inspection Post (BIP) where the relevant checks would take place. This requirement would ensure that the current level of biosecurity is maintained. (Currently these transit goods are checked at point of entry to the EU and enter the UK as an EU import without the need for further checks). We are working closely with ports, carriers and trade groups to look for ways to minimise the impact on current trade routes.

Export to third countries will continue as now, with amendments to the wording of Export Health Certificates (EHC) to reflect the fact that we have left the EU.

If the UK leaves the EU in March 2019 with no deal in place, EHCs would be required for exports of all live animals and products of animal origin from the UK to the EU. EHCs would need to be signed by an Official Veterinarian or authorised signatory following inspection of the consignment. Consignments would need to arrive through a BIP within the EU. This is new for those businesses who export only to the EU and will incur some additional cost and administration. To prepare for the potential increase in EHC numbers, work is being undertaken to make the application process simpler - as we expect many more exporters to start using it - and to ensure that there is enough capacity amongst appropriately trained veterinarians or authorised signatories to approve the additional certificates.

We cannot comment on the readiness of the EU in terms of BIP infrastructure to process and check our exports of live animals and products of animal origin.

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