The following advisory note from the team at Defra is for companies in the organic industry, with regard to preparations for Brexit. The notes below relate to both exporters and importers of organic food as well as domestic producers of organic goods in the event of the UK leaving with no deal on 31 October.
The OTB will continue to post any advisory notes from DEFRA, certifiers or other relevant bodies as requested by them.
Preparing the organic sector for Brexit The Government has been clear that we would prefer to leave the EU with a deal, but if this is not possible, we want to ensure that all necessary preparations are made. As we get closer to 31 October and the UK’s departure from the EU, organic businesses need to be aware of what is changing and how you may need to adapt to change this autumn.
Exports From 31 October, UK organic control bodies will need to be recognised by the EU in order for organic food and feed to be exported to EU countries.
We are pushing for a fast-tracked process so that farmers and exporters can continue to access the EU market, and are also continuing efforts to open up global markets for exporters.
The EU currently has equivalency arrangements with a number of non-EU countries, including Australia, Canada, Israel, New Zealand and the USA. We have negotiated and secured agreements with these countries so that UK exporters can continue to trade with markets outside of the EU, whether we leave the EU with a deal or without.
Imports Legislation has been put in place to allow the continued import of organic food and feed from the EU and EEA States into the UK. The UK will not require a Certificate of Inspections (COIs) for imports from the EU, EEA States and Switzerland until 1 January 2021.
Importers of organic products from third countries will need to use the new manual UK organics import system if we leave the EU without a deal. Currently, importers use the EU’s TRACES NT system, so if you import goods from outside the EU you will need to ensure you have the necessary information you need, such as the UK Certificate of Inspection and associated guidance. This will be communicated ahead of 31 October.
The new system will enable UK authorities to ensure our standards are met and products are organic and traceable.
Support We understand that Brexit is impacting on organic businesses in the UK and we will continue to work with the Control Bodies to secure recognition from the EU as soon as possible.
For more guidance to businesses on how to prepare, please see the main page here and for guidance relating specifically to the organic sector, here, alternatively speak to your export agent.