SPS Export Health Certificates from April 21 (EU)

I posted before about the new EU Animal Health Law (Regulation (EU) 2016/429) that comes into force on April 21. This document is here.

The new EU Animal Health Law (AHR) is a large and complex Regulation designed to consolidate, update and replace a number of existing Regulations.

The main change is the new model export health certificates (EHCs) in use from April 21. EHCs are required for third country import into the EU.

AT THE SAME TIME, April 21 is the date for new rules for entry into the EU of composite products.

Including those for composites, a total of five new EHCs are needed from 21 April. These include three new products of animal origin (POAO) EHCs, two new composite EHCs and a private attestation document for composites exempt from certification. In the UK, private attestations do not need to be signed by an Official Veterinarian (OV) or Food Competent Certifying Officer (FCCO).

The three new POAO EHCs include meat of certain wild game and farmed large game and mechanically separated pork meat.

The two new composite product EHCs are –

a. Entry into the EU (or Northern Ireland) of not shelf-stable composite products and shelf stable composite products, containing any quantity of meat products (except gelatine, collagen and highly refined products) and intended for human consumption; and,

b. Transit through the EU to a third country either by immediate transit or after storage in the Union of not shelf-stable composite products and shelf-stable composite products containing any quantity of meat products and intended for human consumption.

Article 12 of Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) No 2019/625 (delegated rules to a DIFFERENT Regulation (EU) No 2017/625, the Official Controls Regulation) establishes three categories of composite products (applicable from April 21):

(1) non shelf-stable composite products,

(2) shelf-stable composite products that contain any quantity of meat products, except gelatine, collagen and highly refined products, and

(3) shelf-stable composite products that do not contain meat products, except gelatine, collagen and highly refined products.

Note: the EU Official Controls Regulation itself has applied since 14 December 2019.

With a view to smoothen the transition, Article 35 of Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 2020/2235 introduces a period of six months (to 20 October 2021) for the imports of composite products during which the old certificate will be accepted to enter the Union. Where no certificate was required prior to 21 April 2021, then the new relevant certificate or private attestation must be provided.

What is not a composite product?

The addition of a product of plant origin during the processing defined in Article 2(1)(m) of Regulation (EC) No 852/2004 of an animal product does not automatically mean that the resulting food falls within the definition of composite products. If such addition does not modify the main characteristics of the final product, the latter is not a composite product. It can be to add special characteristics or necessary for the manufacture of the product of animal origin (Article 2(1)(o) of Regulation (EC) No 852/2004).

For instance, a cheese to which herbs are added or a yogurt to which fruit is added remain dairy products. Similarly, canned tuna to which vegetable oil is added remains a fishery product. These foodstuffs must be produced in approved establishments in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 853/2004.

What percentage of a processed product of animal origin makes a food subject to the rules applicable to composite products?

What makes foodstuff subject to the rules applicable to the composite products is the fact that it is made by both products of vegetable origin and processed products of animal origin. The percentage of processed product of animal origin included in the composite product is irrelevant.

The above is taken from the EU Q&A on composite products – here.

These changes create a high impact on food trade between the UK and the EU.

From April 21, any composite product containing meat products (except gelatine, collagen and highly refined products) is subject to EU Border Control Post (BCP) (or Points of Entry (PoE) for Northern Ireland) checks and requires an EHC.

Chilled/frozen composite products containing processed dairy/egg/fish require EU BCP/PoE checks and an EHC.

Shelf stable composite products containing processed dairy/egg/fish (where the dairy or egg components meet certain heat treatment requirements) require a private attestation and EU BCP/PoE checks unless they are on the EU’s list of lower risk products.

The UK has updated its composites products guidance – here.

APHA (a DEFRA agency) has produced guidance on the April 21 changes – here.

It will be noted that guidance in the EU and the UK is not yet updated in all areas.

The EU is yet to publish the final EHCs for live animals and germinal products that will be used under the AHR. All EU EHCs and Notes for Guidance are being updated to reflect the new rules by August 2021. Only those needed for use by traders from 21 April will be available from April on EHC Online (EHCO), with the remainder uploaded and available by August 2021.

UK updates to the TCA (Britain)

A little while ago, the Government announced (unilateral) new dates for the grace periods applying to GB goods movement to Northern Ireland under the IRl/NI Protocol. The Brexit Guidance was then updated.

The Government has now announced (unilateral) new dates for the grace periods applying to EU imports into Britain under the TCA (the UK-EU FTA). The Brexit Guidance will be updated.

We are announcing today a clear revised timetable for the introduction of controls, as follows:

• Pre-notification requirements for Products of Animal Origin (POAO), certain animal by-products (ABP), and High Risk Food Not Of Animal Origin (HRFNAO) will not be required until 1 October 2021. Export Health Certificate requirements for POAO and certain ABP will come into force on the same date.

• Customs import declarations will still be required, but the option to use the deferred declaration scheme, including submitting supplementary declarations up to six months after the goods have been imported, has been extended to 1 January 2022.

• Safety and Security Declarations for imports will not be required until 1 January 2022.

• Physical SPS checks for POAO, certain ABP, and HRFNAO will not be required until 1 January 2022. At that point they will take place at Border Control Posts.

• Physical SPS checks on high risk plants will take place at Border Control Posts, rather than at the place of destination as now, from 1 January 2022.

• Pre-notification requirements and documentary checks, including phytosanitary certificates will be required for low risk plants and plant products, and will be introduced from 1 January 2022.

• From March 2022, checks at Border Control Posts will take place on live animals and low risk plants and plant products.

Traders moving controlled goods into Great Britain will continue to be ineligible for the deferred customs declaration approach. They will therefore be required to complete a full customs declaration when the goods enter Great Britain.

Controls and checks on Sanitary and Phytosanitary goods are of course a devolved matter and we continue to work closely with the Devolved Administrations on their implementation, in particular with the Welsh Government on their timetable for completing supporting Border Control Post infrastructure in Wales.

The written statement is here.

GB goods movement to the EU is unaffected, i.e. the TCA applies in full.

Counting GB divergence from EU law (Britain)

To date (end Feb 2021) divergence (this is not a definitive list) :

(1) international waste shipment – divergent waste transshipment law – EU bans plastics to non-OECD, Britain has enhanced pre-notification

(2) lead shot in fishing/hunting – EU Reach ban in/around wetlands from Feb 2023 (no announcement in Britain)

(3) carcinogen OELs – EU has further 2021 OELs (EH40 unchanged thus far)

(4) medicines licensing – Britain has ILAP launched 1st Jan – further information is here

(5) safety data sheets – EU has new Reach Annex II, one year grace (UK Reach unchanged so far)

There are other minor divergences

Additionally, and off topic, GB will not implement the latest proposed update to the EU motor insurance directive.

UK relations with EU (UK)

The UK government has brought back Lord (David) Frost, its EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) negotiator, to lead UK relations with the EU as a Cabinet Minister (scrutinised by Lords select committee). He will be the UK lead (co-chair with the EU) of the two key committees (replacing Michael Gove CDL) –

(1) The Joint Committee of the 2020 EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement (WA) – a key workload is the IRL/NI Protocol functioning

(2) The Partnership Council set up under the 2020 TCA

These two images depict the TCA work ongoing. The various committees and sub-committees of the Partnership Council are not yet announced.

UK BAT Consultation (UK)

From 1st Jan 2021, EU BATC (best available techniques conclusions) documents will not be applicable in the UK (except in Northern Ireland under the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol of the Withdrawal Agreement).

The UK is now consulting on developing its own approach to the creation of UK BAT documents. Here (and online – here). The deadline is 18 April 2021.

A new governance structure is proposed to enable BAT a’ Best Available Techniques’ to be developed within the UK. This would be formed of a new Standards Council, made up of representatives from the UK Government and Devolved Administrations, a new Regulators Group that will provide technical advice to the Standards Council, and Technical Working Groups for each new ‘Best Available Techniques’ under consideration.

The Council would coordinate a rolling programme for review of ‘Best Available Techniques’ within the UK. The programme will be informed by the time since the industry sector last had a ‘Best Available Techniques’ review as well as technical insight on new and emerging techniques and ‘Best Available Techniques’ development in other regimes around the world. This includes considering when general guidance on ‘Best Available Techniques’ developed for new processes or for unique installations would benefit from being considered through the new system. The decision on the future timetable will be based on technical advice provided by the Regulators Group, and instigation of ‘Best Available Techniques’ development can be proposed by any Council member. It is proposed that ‘Best Available Techniques’ currently under review by the EU, where UK industry and experts have already been involved, should be considered by the UK process, once established.

The Regulators Group will support the Council and provide oversight of the work of the sector specific Technical Working Groups. It will develop and regularly review the technical principles that underpin ‘Best Available Techniques’ within the UK, apply those principles when reviewing each sector ‘Best Available Techniques’ and will make recommendations to the Council on ‘Best Available Techniques’. The Regulators Group membership would comprise of representatives from the Environment Agency, Natural Resources Wales, Northern Ireland Environment Agency and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency as well as the Offshore Petroleum Regulator for Environment and Decommissioning (OPRED) (for offshore oil and gas installations).

Further detail is set out in the consultation document.

Trade Agreement with Norway and Iceland (UK)

The EU, Norway and Iceland are members of the EEA (European Economic Area) which has its own Agreement in force since 1994. This Agreement means Norway and Iceland adopt EU Law in the areas of Environment and Health and Safety.

The UK signed a trade in goods agreement with Norway (and Iceland) in Dec 2020.

The UK trade in goods agreement includes provisions on:

• trade in goods – including provisions on preferential tariffs, tariff rate quotas, rules of origin and customs and trade facilitation

• geographical indications with Iceland

Information on changes to trade with Norway and Iceland that apply from 1 January 2021 is here. This link also includes access to the trade in goods agreement itself.

As in the UK-EU FTA, there is no equivalence on standards, goods sold into the Norwegian and Iceland markets must the regulatory requirements as set out in EU Law implemented in Norway and Iceland via the EEA Agreement, and be labelled correctly.

From 1 January 2021, regulations for industrial and agricultural products might not be aligned across the UK, Iceland and Norway. This is also the case with regulations across the UK and the EU. But the EU-UK FTA does not cover Norway and Iceland, and so variation may occur not just as respects the EU, but also Norway and Iceland.

From 1 January 2021, the UK will continue to treat most imports from Iceland and Norway no less favourably than imports from the European Union, for a time limited period. This includes requirements for product testing.

Iceland and Norway will also continue to replicate the EU’s treatment of industrial products from the UK. This includes requirements for product testing.

For rules of origin (which are tripping up GB goods movement to the EU and Northern Ireland), please check with BEIS. But simply re-packaging or re-labeling a product from the EU and exporting it to Norway or Iceland as a good originating in the UK is not permitted. Also, check with BEIS re the customs processes for an EU good dispatched to Norway or Iceland from a GB distribution centre.

Trade Continuity Deal with Canada (UK)

The EU has a free trade deal with Canada. The deal is not rolled over.

The UK did sign a continuity trade agreement (TCA) with Canada. But the TCA did not come into force on 1 January 2021. To minimise the impact of this, the UK and Canada signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

Information on changes to certain aspects of trade that apply from 1 January 2021 until the UK-Canada agreement takes effect is here.

The MoU covers provisions on:

• preferential tariffs

• tariff rate quotas

• rules of origin

• technical barriers to trade particularly in the areas of pharmaceuticals and telecommunications

As in the UK-EU FTA, there is no equivalence on standards, goods sold into the Canadian market must the regulatory requirements as set out in Canadian law, and be labelled correctly.

For rules of origin (which are tripping up GB goods movement to the EU and Northern Ireland), please check with BEIS. But simply re-packaging or re-labeling a product from the EU and exporting it to Canada as a good originating in the UK is not permitted. Also, check with BEIS re the customs processes for an EU good dispatched to Canada from a GB distribution centre.

Role of Parliament in Trade Deals (UK)

This blog does not focus on trade. However, I get asked a lot of questions about how the agreements made by the government under its royal prerogative to make trade deals, are in practice scrutinised.

The UK trade policy observatory has written this useful blog on the subject here.

You can read there that the UK Parliament does not have a formal role. Although, in practice the government has taken to publishing trade objectives, and holding a limited parliamentary debate on them.

UK-US FTA

US – the USTR publishes its trade objectives (Feb 2019) – here.

UK – the UK publishes its trade objectives (April 2020) – here.

In practice, the UK-US FTA has not progressed. Mini-trade deals are also not agreed.

Customs Solution to ‘Percy Pig’ tariffs (Ireland)

This blog does not focus on customs, tariffs, or VAT. But this story from the Irish state broadcaster RTE, caught my eye. Here

Percy Pig are popular sweets, sold by the UK retailer Marks & Spencer widely in Ireland and Europe. They are made in Germany and imported to the UK for onward re-distribution to Ireland and Europe without further processing.

It was thought under the EU-UK trade and cooperation agreement such import into the UK and re-distribution back to the EU without further manufacture or processing in the UK would attract a tariff.

But a partner in Customs and International Trade at (the accounting firm) BDO Ireland thinks she has a possible solution, which she is running by the authorities for verification. It utilises a Returned Goods Relief in existing EU customs rules.

[others may also have located Returned Goods Relief or other facilitations in the EU customs rules]

Plastic Waste Shipment (EU)

On 22nd December 2020 the EU adopted new rules on the export, import and intra-EU shipment of plastic waste – here. [these changes are not yet in the CONSLEG consolidated law version uploaded on Cardinal Environment EHS Legislation Registers & Checklist, and the updated law will be added shortly]

The new rules ban the export of plastic waste from the EU to non-OECD countries, except for clean plastic waste sent for recycling. Exporting plastic waste from the EU to OECD countries and imports in the EU will also be more strictly controlled.

The new rules entered into force on 1 January 2021. They apply to exports, imports and intra-EU shipments of plastic waste: [see below per the EU news announcement]

Exports from the EU

• Exporting hazardous plastic waste and plastic waste that is hard to recycle from the EU to non-OECD countries will be banned.

• Exporting clean, non-hazardous waste (which is destined for recycling) from the EU to non-OECD countries will only be authorised under specific conditions. The importing country must indicate which rules apply to such imports to the European Commission. The export from the EU will then only be allowed under the conditions laid down by the importing country. For countries which do not provide information on their legal regime, the “prior notification and consent procedure” will apply.

• Exporting hazardous plastic waste and plastic waste that is hard to recycle from the EU to OECD countries will be subject to the “prior notification and consent procedure”. Under this procedure, both the importing and exporting country must authorise the shipment.

Imports into the EU

• Importing hazardous plastic waste and plastic waste that is hard to recycle into the EU from third countries will be subject to the “prior notification and consent procedure”. Under this procedure, both the importing and exporting country must authorise the shipment.

Intra-EU shipments

• The “prior notification and consent procedure” will also apply to intra-EU shipments of hazardous plastic waste, and of non-hazardous plastic waste that is difficult to recycle.

• All intra-EU shipments of non-hazardous waste for recovery will be exempt from these new controls. 

These new rules amend the EU’s Waste Shipment Regulation (EU Waste Transhipment Regulation) and implement the decision taken by 187 countries in May 2019 at the Conference of the Parties of the Basel Convention. This Basel decision set up a global regime governing international trade in plastic waste for the first time, by including new entries on plastic waste in the Annexes of the Convention.

The EU ban on exports outside the OECD of plastic waste that is difficult to recycle, goes further than the requirements of the Basel Convention.

[Note: the UK is outside the EU, it did update its International Waste Shipment Regulation to incorporate a prior notification and consent process effective 1st Jan 2021 – see Cardinal Environment Registers and Checklists – but it did not implement a ban on exports of plastic waste to non-OECD. DEFRA – The government had “pledged to ban the export of all plastic waste to non-OECD countries”, but no timetable for action exists. Research is commissioned to better understand existing UK plastic waste recycling capacity and DEFRA would consult in due course on how to deliver its manifesto commitments.]