Events this evening 12th March (UK Brexit)

It will be clear by now that the Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration (and accompanying documents) negotiated and agreed between the UK and the EU has failed for the second time at ratification (in the UK Parliament).

Tomorrow (13th March) the UK Chancellor will make his Spring Statement, a motion will be amendable on No Deal and debated for a free vote on the Government side that day, and various No Deal policies will be published.

These No Deal policies will include the arrangements for the international border on the island of Ireland, and the tariff schedules.

I will issue separate Blog posts on the No Deal policies that will be published.

I will issue another Events this evening Blog post tomorrow, after the vote is made on No Deal.

Government Brexit Transport Goods (UK Brexit)

The list of goods to be allocated transport tickets (space) on the government procured Brexit (ship) transport is now published – here.

Note : some priority goods are not allocated space, the list sets out both the allocated and the unallocated categories. The allocation may be subject to change.

Chemical Regulation (UK Brexit)

UPDATE (22nd March) : the Minister’s reply is here.

I posted twice before on the ECHA window and the HSE resources. Find these in the Chemicals category.

Yesterday (6 March), the House of Lords European Union Committee wrote once again to the DEFRA Minister Coffey to highlight continuing concerns about readiness for UK Chemicals Regulation after 29 March.

In November 2018 the Committee published its Brexit: chemical regulation report, and since then has been corresponding with the Minister to monitor progress on the issues it identified. Its current view, based on the Minister’s latest letter (January 2019), the publication of the legislation that would implement a UK chemical regulation regime post-Brexit (see the Brexit Law List in subscribers’ systems), and new guidance from the European Chemicals Agency (the ECHA window I already posted about), is that:

(1) Some companies are not aware of the Government’s plans for post-Brexit chemical regulation

(2) It is not clear whether the Health and Safety Executive will have enough resources to perform its new tasks as the UK’s chemicals regulator

(3) The Minister has not stated whether the UK’s database of chemicals that are authorised for use in the UK will be ready in time, or explained the Government’s contingency plan for if the database is not ready on Brexit day

(4) Some chemical safety tests may need to be re-done, which would increase businesses’ costs, potentially reduce the number of chemicals available in the UK, and increase the amount of animal testing.

The Committee letter is here. I will update this post online, with any further information.

Agriculture and Plant Products (Ireland Brexit)

If you import or export:

◦ live animals (such as cattle, sheep or horses),

◦ animal products (such as meat, dairy products or fishery products);

◦ plants (such as trees, flowers or vegetables) or

◦ certain plant products (such as fruit, foliage or timber)

from or to the UK, you will encounter new regulatory requirements and customs procedures along your supply chains after 29 March 2019.

The Irish Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has issued instructions – here.

Wooden Pallets (Ireland Brexit)

I posted earlier about DEFRA Brexit guidance on importing and exporting plants and plant products after exit day, and this guidance was updated on 21st February – here.

The UK guidance identifies that all Wood Packaging Material (including pallets) – WPM – moving between the UK and the EU would need to meet ISPM15 international standards by undergoing heat treatment and marking. In addition, WPM might be subject to official checks either upon or after entry to the EU.

In practice, not having the ISPM15 stamp on the pallet on checking is a main cause of goods being resealed and sent back.

The National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) includes the pallet aspect in its Brexit Factsheet on Green Procurement Certification – here.

The NSAI Brexit Factsheet confirms the following :

(1) Unless a ratified withdrawal agreement establishes another date or the European Council, in accordance with Article 50(3) of the Treaty on European Union and in agreement with the UK, unanimously decides that the Treaties cease to apply at a later date, all Union primary and secondary law will cease to apply to the UK from 30 March 2019.

(2) The UK will then become a third country (from 30 March 2019) and as such trade in goods and service between the UK and the EU will be affected. It will have an impact not only on the goods exported from Ireland but also imported goods that come into Ireland from the UK.

(3) In the EU procurement market, economic operators from the UK will have “third party” status as all other economic operators based in a third country with which the EU does not have any agreement and will be subject to the same rules as any third country tenderer.

(4) In the event of the UK leaving the EU in March 2019 without a withdrawal agreement all Wood Packaging Material (WPM) being imported from the UK to the EU (including Ireland) will need to be ISPM 15 compliant which is not currently required.

ISPM 15 is an internationally recognised phytosanitary measure that establishes standards for the treatment and marking of WPM (pallets, crates, dunnage etc.) and affects all WPM used in international trade.

The WPM associated with these products may be subject to official checks either upon entry to the EU (including Ireland) or after entry.

The UK may introduce reciprocal arrangements requiring EU (including Ireland) exporters to the UK to ensure WPM arriving in the UK from the EU is ISPM15 compliant.

(5) The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) is responsible for implementing the ISPM 15 scheme in Ireland. NSAI carries out audits of companies registered to the ISPM 15 scheme on DAFM’s behalf.

DEFRA waste consultations (UK)

On 18th February, DEFRA (the UK Environment Ministry) opened up a series of consultations on proposals to change the way waste is managed –

(1) reforming the UK packaging producer responsibility system – the proposals will affect producers of packaging, and plastic packaging, at all stages of the chain – here.

(2) introducing a Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) in England, Wales and Northern Ireland – the Scottish Government had launched a consultation for distinct elements of a DRS, this consultation closed on 25 September 2018 – the proposals relate to drinks containers – here.

(3) introducing a plastic packaging tax – this was announced at the 2018 Budget, to apply from April 2022 on manufactured and imported plastic packaging with less than 30% recycled content – here.

Changes at the UK border (UK Brexit)

The Partnership Pack setting out the changes that will happen at the UK border issued (by the UK) in October 2018, is updated today (26th February 2019). This is here.

Note : this Pack sets out the changes that will occur at the UK border if there is No Deal, and covers services as well as goods. Please remember traders must have an EORI number (goods).

An important issue that has emerged is the availability of ISPM 15 wooden pallets (for goods exports to the EU). The EU has strict phytosanitary rules regarding third country pallets – here.

Publication of the UK import tariffs (on goods imported into the UK, in a situation of No Deal) is expected shortly. I will update this Blog post here with the link, when it is available.