Minister Heydon reminds Agri-Food businesses of further changes in Trading Arrangements with Great Britain from 1 April 2021

Image Courtesy of Martin Heydon T.D. Via LinkedIn

The Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Martin Heydon T.D., today urged food business operators who export product to Great Britain to prepare for the new health certification requirements that will be introduced by the UK Government on 1 April 2021.

Addressing the 19th meeting of the Consultative Committee of Stakeholders on Brexit, during which a detailed update on the new requirements was provided to stakeholders, the Minister acknowledged the acute nature of the difficulties that lie ahead. He said,

“This is a very significant challenge, and my officials will continue to engage intensively with industry over the coming weeks to ensure that systems are in place to provide export health certification on the scale required. Industry too will have a vital role to play in ensuring that these significant requirements can be met. I am very conscious of the concerns of, for example, the meat and dairy industries in relation to the additional administrative burden that trading with Great Britain will bring. However, my Department and I are striving to ensure that all agri-food businesses can continue to trade with their valued UK customers into the future.”

The Minister reflected on the fact that we are now almost two months into a new permanent trading relationship with Great Britain, with Customs and SPS controls a part of normal business. To date, much lower import volumes than normal have been seen, both in overall terms and in respect of agri-food goods that are subject to Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) controls. The Minister said,

“In general, good preparations have been made by the operators responsible for consignments in an effort to comply with EU requirements. That said, there have been issues with pre-notification and documentation that have led to some vehicles being delayed and some consignments being detained, until the issues could be resolved. The Department will continue to engage with operators as these issues arise.”

The Minister also took the opportunity to remind businesses that in addition to SPS requirements, they will have to comply with Customs formalities.

The Committee also heard updates from the Department of Foreign Affairs in relation to the operation of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement, and the implementation of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland.

Concluding, the Minister noted that communications with stakeholders remains an important part of the Department’s work on Brexit, and that intensive engagement will continue in this regard over the coming weeks.

He also encouraged all businesses to get in touch with the Department’s dedicated email address or by telephone, at 076 106 4443, with any Brexit related queries. Detailed advice and resources are also available on the Government of Ireland website at: Preparing for new UK Import Controls (1 April, 1 July), and on the Department’s website at: Exporting to the UK from Ireland.

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