Agri-Food Exporters Must Continue Preparations for UK Import Controls

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue T.D., has urged food business operators and agri-food exporters to continue their preparations to meet new UK import control requirements, which will apply on a phased basis from 1st January 2022.

Most immediately, new pre-notification requirements in respect of exports to Great Britain of products of animal origin, such as meat, dairy, fish and composite products, will come into effect on 1st January 2022. The Minister urged agri-food exporters to familiarise themselves with these new requirements and to make the necessary arrangements in good time.

Speaking at the 25th meeting of the Consultative Committee of Stakeholders on Brexit, the Minister said, “it is really important that exporters of products of animal origin to Great Britain are aware that, from 1 January, pre-notification of these exports by the UK importer, or an agent acting on their behalf, will be required via the UK’s Import of Products, Animals, Food and Feed System, or IPAFFS. This applies both to products exported directly to Great Britain and to products exported to the EU via the landbridge. It is vital, therefore, that exporters familiarise themselves with the requirements, examine their supply chains, identify who will make the required pre-notification, and ensure that the requirements can be met ahead of the 1 January deadline.”

The Minister also took the opportunity to discuss the publication last week of an updated version of the UK Border Operating Model, which further deferred elements of the UK’s new import control requirements from the already postponed date of 1st July 2022, to 1st September and 1st November 2022. It also addressed a number of other issues, including confirmation that measures prohibiting the export of fresh or chilled minced meat or meat preparations from the EU to Great Britain have been deferred from 1st January to 1st July 2022.

The Minister said, “while some elements of the new arrangements have been further deferred, I think we must maintain a very strong focus on completing our preparations as efficiently and as rigorously as possible. My Department will be doing that, and it will be communicating regularly with stakeholders and engaging with UK counterparts on an ongoing basis over the coming months. We want to maintain the momentum, despite the frequent changes, and address any ongoing lack of clarity as quickly as possible. And we look forward to the ongoing cooperation of agri-food exporters in the deployment, and bedding-down, of the necessary arrangements. Above all, we must remember that the new UK requirements have merely been deferred, and not cancelled.”

Commenting more generally on the resilience of the agri-food sector, Minister McConalogue noted, “given the volume and value of agri-food trade in both directions, and the integrated nature of these supply chains, the UK choice to leave the EU has had a profound impact on the trading environment. This has unfortunately meant unavoidable new burdens on companies in the form of the additional requirements and controls now in place. However, the Government will continue to support the sector in adapting to these new arrangements, and in preparing for the further changes coming in 2022.”

The Committee also heard updates from the Department of Foreign Affairs on recent developments at EU level in respect of the EU-UK relationship, including the ongoing engagement on the implementation of the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol.

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