The next phase of UK Import requirements for Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) goods was outlined to government yesterday (Wednesday, May 12) by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue.

Outlining preparations undertaken so far, the minister also set out the “significant” additional administrative and logistical challenges arising for exporters and competent authorities in meeting the new requirements that will be introduced by the UK on October 1, 2021.

These requirements include exporter approval, pre-notification to the UK authorities and export health certification to and through Great Britain.

The provision of export health certificates for exports and for consignments transiting the landbridge will be a particular challenge, with volumes expected to rise significantly on current certification levels, the minister warned.

The dispersed nature of agri-food and fisheries businesses exporting to Great Britain and the ‘just in time’ nature of the trade bring further resource and process implications for certifying authorities and businesses, it was added.

Commenting, Minister McConalogue said: “Extensive preparations have taken place across government and across the agri-food and fisheries sectors for Brexit, and significant changes have taken effect since the end of the transition period.

“However, further Brexit-related challenges and risks remain for these sectors as the next phases of UK import requirements come into effect.

The October 1 requirements will bring an end to ‘business as usual’ for Irish agri-food exporters – and businesses need to fully engage with UK import requirements and with the certifying authorities to ensure compliance with these requirements.

Concluding, the minister said: “With less than five months left until the introduction of the next phase of UK import requirements, now is the time for exporters to ensure that they are export ready.

“Therefore, I am urging the entire industry to continue their Brexit preparations. If you haven’t started yet, then you should commence today.

“There are a range of useful resources to help businesses prepare for the requirements that will come into effect from October 1 available on my department’s website,” the minister concluded.