Main checks to be aware of once UK exits the EU

Department outlines live animal import-export rules Sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) control inspections are required at the EU’s borders for protection of animal health, plant health and food safety.

These official controls apply to live animals and animal products, as well as plants and plant products entering the single market, and will be needed on all such products coming from the UK after March 29, the date when the UK will exit the EU single market. These controls will be carried out at the ports and airports designated as border inspection posts (BIPs) or designated points of entry (DPEs).

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) has encouraged importers to contact suppliers to inform them of SPS requirements.

Can Irish businesses continue to import live animals, animal products, plant and plant products from the UK after March 29?

In respect of animal products, businesses can continue to import from the UK provided, inter alia, the establishment from where the products are dispatched is on the list of EU approved establishments.

In respect of plant and plant products, the product will have to be approved for importation.

Will these imports be checked?

Yes, following March 29, 2019, certain live animals, animal products, plants and plant products will be subject to SPS checks and while some of these checks may be carried out electronically, there will be physical checks on a proportion of products.

How frequent will controls be?

The type of control and the location varies depending on the type of commodity. Controls that must be carried out at the point of entry may be relatively quick, in the event that a documentary and/or seal check only is required. Controls may take longer in the event that a full identity and/or physical check is required.

Checks on consignments of animal products in groupage loads will take considerable periods of time, in that the containers will have to be completely unloaded to identify the animal products.

What SPS controls will apply to live animals?

Certification requirements for imports of live animals (except horses) from the UK will continue as per the current requirement of a veterinary certificate that conforms with EU legislation. However, certificates will now also be required for horses entering Ireland from the UK.

Consignments of live animals must meet specific animal health requirements, and the transporter must have an authorisation and a vehicle certificate of approval, both issued by an EU state.

The consignment may only enter Ireland through an approved BIP, where official controls will include documentary and identity checks, and physical checks.

At least 24 hours prior, the person responsible for the consignment must complete a CVED document in the EU TRACES system.

A declaration to Customs must also have been made.

Imports of animal products from the UK into Ireland will also have to meet certain similar requirements, but including approval to export to the EU; and having an EU-approved residue plan and an original health certificate.

What are the import rules for plants and plant products?

Importers of certain plants and plant products from the UK must be registered and must follow the steps necessary to allow these consignments and their accompanying documents to be inspected as required.

What are the import requirements for plants and plant timber and timber products?

After Brexit, imports of timber and timber products from the UK will be governed by three distinct regulatory regimes. Products covered include seeds, plants, cuttings, wood packaging material including pallets, crates and dunnage, The UK government has said that they will implement their own timber regulation, having the same requirements as the EU regulation. In this situation, Irish exporters may be subject to due diligence measures applied by their UK customers.

What about fishery products, including direct landings?

If a withdrawal agreement is in place, the status quo will remain until December 31, 2020, or up to December 2022 if an extension to the transition period is availed of.

However, if no withdrawal agreement is in place, the Common Fisheries Policy will cease to apply to the UK exclusive economic zone, and as a result, Irish vessels can no longer fish in UK waters, and UK vessels can no longer fish in the waters of the EU27.

There are also a number of additional requirements specific to seafood imported from a third country into the EU.

How will importers of animal feed be affected by Brexit?

All importers of animal feed from third countries must register with DAFM and notify the department of animal feed imports. There are additional requirements for animal feed containing animal by-products

Where are the BIPs and DPEs where live animals, animal products, plants and plant products can enter from the UK?

These entry points are all approved for different categories of live animals, animal products, plants and plant products. The BIPs are at:

  • Dublin Port
  • Dublin Airport
  • Shannon Airport and
  • Rosslare

Cork Port, Killybegs, and Castletownbere are DPEs only.

To cater for the increased level of controls on the volume of trade from the UK, consideration will be given by DAFM as to the need for additional DPEs or BIPs.

Where can I go to find further information?

Go to the

SPS control inspections

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