Animals: Overseas Trade

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 13th May 2019.

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Photo of Lord Lilley Lord Lilley Conservative

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether trade in live vertebrates between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland takes place under the Trade Control and Expert System and requires an Intra Trade Animal Health Certificate; if so, who provides the certificate; and what changes would be required if the UK leaves the EU.

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

For live vertebrates traded between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland the normal EU rules for trade between Member States apply. The rules vary according to the animal.

For most live vertebrates the consignment has to be notified to the Competent Authority of the receiving Member State using TRACES and requires an Intra Trade Animal Health Certificate (ITAHC).

If the UK is listed as a third country after EU exit then EU law as it stands would require commercial exports of most live vertebrates from Northern Ireland to the Republic of Ireland to enter the Republic at a Border Inspection Post and be accompanied by an Export Health Certificate.

Notification would either be by the EU importer, or potentially by the relevant UK competent authority using TRACES if the EU agrees access to this element of TRACES. In Northern Ireland the relevant competent authority is DAERA.

For commercial imports of most live vertebrates from the Republic of Ireland to Northern Ireland in the absence of a deal, the guidance we issued before 12 April set out the process to follow: www.gov.uk/guidance/importing-animals-animal-products-and-high-risk-food-and-feed-not-of-animal-origin-if-the-UK-leaves-the-EU-with-no-deal

This included the requirement for the UK importer to contact DAERA and for the consignment to be accompanied by a UK health certificate. This could be an ITAHC for a transition period of six months. If the EU were to agree access to the relevant elements of TRACES as they did for a limited period in the event of the UK exiting the EU without a deal on 12 April, then notification could take place on TRACES and the process would be the same as now.

If we leave the EU in accordance with the draft Withdrawal Agreement then for the period of that Agreement the processes for trade of live vertebrates between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland would be the same as now.

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