The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue has again called on food and agri-businesses to urgently complete their preparations for Brexit during a visit to Ornua headquarters this week (Wednesday, December 2).

The minister stated: “In less than a month, the UK will be outside the EU’s single market and customs union. This means that, regardless of the outcome of the current EU-UK negotiations, from the first of January, customs and regulatory requirements will apply to businesses that trade with and through Great Britain, resulting in additional time and costs compared with trade today.

Businesses need to be ready for this new reality. In particular, agri-food businesses should register with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) if they import goods from the UK.

“Operators responsible for consignments should register for use of the EU’s TRACES system. Exporters should also register with the department to access its online export certification system,” he said.

Brexit to affect land bridge

The minister welcomed increased capacity on direct routes to the continent and encouraged operators to switch now to these routes, as it is anticipated that the UK land bridge will be subject to severe delays after the end of the transition period.

The minister added: “Time is very short and action is required urgently. I am urging food and agri-businesses to engage with my department through our dedicated help line, and to access the resources and supports available on:”

Minister McConalogue also encouraged businesses to register for the department’s webinar series, which is a part of a wider programme of trader engagement.

This includes a joint webinar being held today (Thursday, December 3) with officials from the UK Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) on the movement of animals and agri-food goods, to, from and through Great Britain from January 1, 2021.

What happens from January 1, 2021?

Regardless of the outcome of the EU-UK negotiations, from January 1, 2021, any business which moves animals, plants, animal products or plant products from, to or through Great Britain will be subject to a range of new customs formalities and other regulatory requirements.

Businesses are urged to familiarise themselves with the new regulatory and customs procedures, and the certificates and documentation required to continue trading with and through Great Britain.

Wood packaging material, including pallets, used to move goods will need to meet the ISPM 15 standard, a phytosanitary standard developed by the International Plant Protection Convention. Traders with the UK (importers and exporters) will need to ensure the WPM they use in their supply chain is compliant with ISPM 15.

As part of the department’s Brexit series for traders, the next webinar on the ‘Movement of animals and agri-food goods to, from and through GB from January 1, 2021 – your product’s journey’ will be presented jointly by the department and Defra. Pre-registration for the webinar is required.