News article

Brexit: How the farming sector can prepare

2 October 2019

Actions farmers can take to prepare for no-deal Brexit

If the UK leaves the EU on 29 March 2019 without a Brexit deal, there may be changes that affect your arable, livestock or horticulture farming business.

Farm and rural payments: EU funding
In 2019, EU funding for rural payment schemes including the Basic Payment Scheme will continue, regardless of whether the UK leaves the EU without a withdrawal deal.

To get payments, you’ll need to follow the same standards as you do now. Where relevant, this will include on-site inspections to UK farms. The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) will continue to administer the schemes.

Preparing for disruption to trade at the UK-EU border
To minimise disruption to your business at border points you should take the following steps:

If you do not import and export products directly check that any agent or business you use is prepared.

Read the guidance on simplified customs procedures for trading with the EU if we leave without a deal.

Further information is provided in HMRC’s advice for businesses trading with the EU.

Arable and horticulture: plants and plant products
After the UK leaves the EU, plants and plant products (for example, vegetables, seeds and fruit) currently managed under the EU plant passport scheme will be subject to UK import controls. There is a new process you must follow.

If you import regulated plants and plant products from non-EU (third) countries via the EU without plant health checks by an EU member state:

For exports of controlled plants and plant products to the EU, third-country rules will apply on all:

Read the guidance on importing and exporting plants and plant products if there’s no withdrawal deal and plant health controls.

Seed exports
You’ll need to list the seed variety you’re exporting on the EU Common Catalogue via a member state.

Livestock or animal products
If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the way you notify the UK authorities of these imports will change.

You’ll no longer be able to use the EU’s Trade Control and Expert System (TRACES) to notify the UK authorities about an import. There will be a new system to replace this, launching in March 2019.

If you import live animals or animal products, fish, shellfish or fish products from non-EU (third) countries directly or transiting through the EU, your consignment will need to be checked at a Border Inspection Post (BIP).

If you import high-risk food and feed not of animal origin from non-EU (third) countries, whether directly or transiting through the EU, it will need to enter the UK via a Designated Point of Entry (DPE).

Read the guidance on importing high-risk food and feed not of animal origin and importing and exporting live animals and animal products.

If you export animals, animal products, fish, shellfish, crustaceans or fish products from the UK to the EU, you’ll need to follow a new process:

  • You must complete an Export Health Certificates (EHC). EHCs must be signed by an authorised signatory (for example, an official veterinarian) following the consignments inspection.
  • You’ll also need a catch certificate for most exports of fish or fish products.
  • The consignment must enter the EU via a Border Inspection Post (BIP)within the EU. You’ll need to consider if your current trade routes could be affected. There is not currently a BIP at Calais, although French authorities expect these to be operational by the end of March 2019. See a list of EU BIPs.
  • Contact your import agent to ensure that your export is pre-notified on TRACES and EU customs requirements are met (for example, completing customs declarations and paying tariffs).

For more information, see importing and exporting live animals and animal products.

Animal breeding imports and exports (zootechnics)
Unless the EU lists UK breed societies and studbooks you will not be able to export animals to the EU on zootechnical terms.

Imports from the EU, and domestic UK zootechnical trade, will not be affected.

Read the guidance on changes to zootechnical rules if the UK leaves the EU with no-deal.

Organic imports and exports
If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, you must register on the interim, paper-based system to replace TRACES NT, launching in March 2019.

Unless the EU gives the UK official recognition for our organic standards (known as ‘equivalency’), you cannot export UK organic products to the EU.

Find out more about trading and labelling organic food if there’s no Brexit deal.

Marketing standards
Products that may be subject to changes include:

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs)
The same controls on the environmental release of GMOs will apply and will be implemented by the competent authorities in the UK.

For more information, see developing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) if there’s no Brexit deal.

You’ll still be able to buy the same amount and quality of fertiliser. For 2 years after the UK leaves the EU, all products can still be sold under:

  • the domestic framework
  • the EC fertiliser label

For more information, see manufacturing and marketing fertilisers if there is no Brexit deal.

Your employees
There are certain schemes and processes you should be aware of if you employ people.

Find out more in Employing EU, EEA and Swiss citizens and their family members after Brexit.

Employing seasonal workers
You’ll still be able to employ seasonal workers from the EU. European Temporary Leave to Remain will allow EEA citizens arriving in the UK after 31 October2019 to live, work and study in the UK if there’s no Brexit deal.

You can use the EU seasonal worker information for employers to give further details to your employees.

Food and drink labelling including organic produce
If you’re involved in the agri-food business, labelling rules will change for some food and drink. Some of the new rules will come into effect from 29 March 2019. For others, you’ll have longer to update your food labels. Read more in the guidance food labelling changes after Brexit

Pesticides regulations
If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, you must meet new regulations for producing or placing pesticides on the market.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) will continue to operate as the UK’s regulator. Read their guidance on regulating pesticides if there’s no deal.

Chemical regulations
If your business uses chemicals, you should take the following steps to prepare for the UK leaving the EU without a deal:

You should check contingency plans across your supply chain to find out what information you need to supply to UK agencies, logistics providers, suppliers and customers.

Water regulations
You must still meet the conditions in your permits or licences that relate to water. Regulations using the same processes and standards will remain after Brexit.

For more information read the water management guidance.

Trade agreements
If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, there will be no implementation period. In this scenario, the government will seek to bring into force UK-third country agreements from exit day, or as soon as possible afterwards.

These new agreements will replicate existing EU agreements as far as possible. Details of each agreement will be shared with parliament and the public when they have been agreed.

Read the guidance on existing free trade agreements if there’s no Brexit deal.

Preparing to move goods between Ireland and Northern Ireland
Goods moving between Ireland and Northern Ireland will have different procedures compared to other UK-EU trade.

Read the guidance on customs procedures and VAT for goods moving between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

The UK would implement a temporary tariff regime for up to 12 months.

Most UK imports would be tariff-free, but in certain sectors, such as agriculture, tariffs would be maintained.

Check the temporary rates of customs duty on imports after Brexit.

Data protection
Your business will need to make sure it follows data protection law if the UK leaves the EU on 29 March 2019 without a deal.

If you operate across the EU or exchange personal data with organisations in the EEA, there may be changes that you need to make before the UK leaves the EU.

Read the 6 step process and the data protection guidance from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

You can also check if you can use standard contractual clauses (SCCs) for transfers from the EEA to the UK.

For more information see Brexit: Data protection after 29 March.

More information
Visit prepare your business for EU Exit to find more guidance on policy changes relevant to your sector and sign up for updates.

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