Sanitary and Phytosanitary Notification (UK WTO)

The UK is a member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). The WTO members operate amongst themselves an Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Measures.

The UK submitted (13 March) information (for circulation to WTO Members) to answer the matter of the ongoing implementation of the United Kingdom’s obligations under this WTO SPS Agreement during the transition period following the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union, and to set out the UK’s own SPS Regulatory System.

The UK ceased to be a member State of the European Union on 31 January 2020. The UK and the EU agreed a Withdrawal Agreement which provides for a time-limited transition period until 1 January 2021 during which European Union law, as implemented through the Withdrawal Agreement, will continue to apply to and in the United Kingdom.

This means that the European Union SPS regime continues to apply in the United Kingdom during the transition period and, following that, the United Kingdom will apply its own SPS regime.

The United Kingdom Parliament legislated to repeal the European Communities Act 1972 by means of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018. The 2018 Act preserves, and incorporates into domestic law, those elements of European Union law which will apply in the United Kingdom at the end of the transition period.

The European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020 in turn implements the Withdrawal Agreement (which provides for the transition period) including by amending the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 to reflect the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement.

The UK SPS Regulatory System is set out in the Notice – here

The UK Government is responsible for matters pertaining to the SPS Agreement and international trade. However, powers to implement, regulate and assure food safety, animal and plant health including matters relating to import and export, are devolved by the UK Parliament to the respective administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland (collectively referred to as the Devolved Administrations).

Importing Animal Products etc from 1st Jan 2021 (UK Brexit)

The UK is in the Brexit Transition Period. From 1st January 2021, (it is expected) access is denied to the EU’s import system TRACES (Trade Control and Expert System).

Importers from non-EU should use the UK’s new Import of Products, Animals, Food and Feed System (IPAFFS) for imports of:

• live animals

• products of animal origin (POAO) subject to veterinary checks

• high-risk food and feed not of non-animal origin

• germplasm (also called germinal products)

• animal by-products not intended for human consumption (ABP) subject to veterinary checks

(non-EU) Health certificates and other documentation currently used for imports will be accepted by the UK for 6 months from 1 January 2021. Importers will then need to use a new UK health certificate.

(non-EU) Imports of high-risk food or feed of non-animal origin into the UK must continue to be made through a border control post (BCP), previously called a border inspection post (BIP) or designated point of entry (DPE).

(non-EU) Live animals, germplasm, POAOs and ABP that are subject to vet checks must continue into the UK through a UK border control post (BCP).

Further information is here. Note the IV66 form. This is to be used initially for imports from the EU, because the IPAFFS will not be used initially.

Products of animal origin (POAO) arriving in the UK from the EU will not need to notify using IV66 unless the consignment is coming from an EU member state with disease outbreak safeguard measures in place.

Imports from the EU of POAO will not need to be accompanied by a health certificate, unless a health certificate was required on the commodity before 31 January 2020.

The process for importing feed and food from the EU to the UK won’t change from 1 January 2021. There will be no additional controls or checks – if you did not use TRACES, you will not need to use IPAFFS or IV66.

Please read the attached information here, this Blog post is not a complete summary.

The UK also updated its list of Border Control Posts – here.

The UK also updated its guidance on trade agreements with non-EU countries (this is important for imports from non-EU) – here.

GM Food and Animal Feed (UK from 1st Jan 2021)

Instructions (by the Food Standards Agency) are issued today re exports of GM Food and Animal Feed Products to the EU From 1st January 2021 – here.

Please read carefully, below is a summary –

The information applies to UK businesses:

* holding or seeking authorisations for genetically modified (GM) food or feed

* holding or seeking authorisations for animal feed additives

* exporting animal feed products to the EU

* that have applications to update the list of feed for particular nutritional purposes (PARNUTS) pending on 31 December 2020

• that represent companies that are based in non-EU countries which rely on UK representation for EU trade

The business must be established in the EU or European Economic Area (EEA), or have a representative that is established in the EU or EEA for trade to the EU to occur. The EEA includes Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

The role of the representative is to provide assurance that the non-EU establishment complies with EU legislation.

Where EU authorisations are held for GM food or feed, or for animal feed additives, a representative must be established in the EU or EEA. The details of the representative must be sent to the European Commission. This could be a branch of the business which is established in the EU or EEA or another business.

Changes to holder-specific authorisations for GM food or feed, or for feed additives, require amendments to EU legislation which would need to be in place by 31 December 2020. Businesses in the process of such changes must approach the European Commission as soon as possible.

Exporters of feed products to the EU require representation in the EU or EEA. EU countries will each have their own systems for this and businesses should consult with the relevant competent authority in the EU country for further advice on gaining recognition for their representative. The requirement for non-EU country representation would apply to all feed products exported to the EU.

The requirement for non-EU country representation applies to all feed products. This follows the European Commission’s announcement of a revised interpretation of Regulation (EC) 183/2005, Article 24. The FSA is currently seeking clarity on this interpretation, but companies should nevertheless anticipate this revised interpretation and consider designating a representative within the EU or the EEA.

Regulation (EC) No 183/2005 on feed hygiene states that establishments approved by the competent authority shall be recorded in a national list under an individual identifying number. From 1 January 2021, these approval numbers may not be recognised in EU countries.

Please clarify with your third country representative or the competent authority in the individual member state(s) that you wish to export to, to ensure that you are compliant with the rules on third country requirements when exporting to the EU.