Potatoes: Sales

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 28th November 2018.

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Photo of Anne-Marie Trevelyan Anne-Marie Trevelyan Conservative, Berwick-upon-Tweed

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the Farmers' Guardian article Major seed potato market could be killed off with no-deal Brexit, published on 13 August 2018, what information his Department holds on the legality of selling sell seed potatoes to EU countries after March 2019 in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

Photo of George Eustice George Eustice The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The Government is committed to pursuing a negotiated outcome which maintains our ability to export all seed to the EU and recognises that this issue is of particular concern for the seed potato industry. However, it is our duty as a responsible Government to prepare for all eventualities, including no deal, until we can be certain of the outcome of those negotiations.

The EU has stated in its Preparedness Notice for plant reproductive material that, in a no deal scenario, UK seed of all species will be subject to its equivalence requirements for third countries. This means that UK seed will not be marketable in the EU until the EU recognises UK processes as equivalent. Defra, with input from the devolved administrations, has made an initial application to the EU Commission for third country equivalence. More detailed information is being prepared in anticipation of discussion with the EU shortly. If approved, this would allow UK exports of seed potatoes to continue as they do now.

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