The government will postpone checks on imports from the European Union in order to give businesses more time to prepare for the myriad paperwork that awaits. The first checks will begin in October, seven months after they were originally planned to be introduced, and then be phased in over time until March 2022, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove has announced.
Rules of Origin
Defra has updated its Rules of Origin guidance, including Sector specific summary guidance documents, covering relevant articles across all food categories.
Defra also produced a recorded webinar
UK businesses can trade tariff-free with the EU if their products meet agreed Rules of Origin. UK traders need to check if their products comply and how to prove they originate from the UK. Guiadnace on rules of origin requirements can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/rules-of-origin-for-goods-moving-between-the-uk-and-eu
Export Health Certificates
Some businesses are still experiencing significant challenges in moving goods from Great Britain to the island of Ireland and to mainland Europe. Many food products will need to be pre-notified and accompanied by Export Health Certificates. However, there are concerns about a lack of experienced vets to sign-off EHCs. There are also reports of inconsistencies in interpretation of EHCs requirements by member states. The Government is engaging with member states and the European Commission to seek agreement on a common interpretation of EHCs.
Guidance on getting prepared to export from the UK can be found here:
Guidance on getting prepared to import from the EU can be found here:
Goods placed on the market
Guidance for exporting or moving goods from GB to the EU or NI after the end of the Transition Period that have been placed on the market before the end of the Transition Period
Rules of Origin
UK and EU businesses will need to comply with the Rules of Origin from January 1 2021 as part of the customs declaration when importing and exporting to and from the UK and EU.
Export Health Certificates
From 1 January 2021 exports of animal products to the EU, including fish, will require an Export Health Certificate (EHC) which can be signed by an Official Veterinarian (OV) or local authority Food Competent Certifying Officer (FCCO).
Defra has been running tests on the implementation of Export Health Certificates. The key findings are outlined in this webinar: https://attend.glisser.com/join/ehcwebinar20
Check a VAT number
The new Check a UK VAT Number service has launched in response to GB VAT numbers not being able to be checked via the EU’s online VAT number checking service after the end of the Transition period.
Heat treated pallets
At the end of the transition period, all Wooden Packaging Material moving from the UK to the EU and from the EU to UK must meet ISPM15 international standards by undergoing heat treatment and marking. As there will be no immediate change to the biosecurity threat of wood packaging material originating from the EU at the end of the Transition Period, GB will maintain its current risk-based checking regime for EU wood packaging material. The UK Timber Pallet and Packaging Confederation (TIMCON) is strongly encouraging the European Federation of Wooden Pallet and Packaging Manufacturers and EU national associations to engage and support their countries’ wood packaging material industries to increase their own stocks of compliant pallets.
Rules of Origin declarations
In terms of any potential EU Free Trade Agreement, both sides are proposing methods of proving origin that allow traders to self-certify that goods are originating. The UK and EU have different proposals, so the final detail will be confirmed if/when the deal is finalised, but for example, both sides have included provisions that allow exporters to make “statements on origin” to certify their goods as originating. A statement on origin is a declaration placed on a commercial document and provided to the importer. Unlike an EUR1, it does not require certification from HMRC or Chambers of Commerce.
European Union Prohibited and Restricted goods
From 1 January 2021 there will be new processes that UK exporters and importers trading with the EU must comply with. The Defra Secretary George Eustice has shared a letter outlining in the annex information on the food and drink commodities prohibited and restricted from being imported or exported between GB and the EU from January 1.
Updated guidance on the end of the transition period that is specific to food and drink: