Brexit: ‘We are concerned about delays’

The trade relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union is going to look very different from the 1st of January. Regardless of whether there’s going to be a deal or not. Free trade will be replaced by phytosanitary regulations, piles of paperwork, inspections and delays. Slowly but surely, it’s becoming clearer what the plant and flower trade to the UK is going to look like. ‘Business as usual is not an option.’

The transition period that’s been in place since Brexit will end on the last day of this year. Whether the UK and the EU will be able to reach a trade deal before that is still uncertain. But little by little, we’re beginning to understand what the future relationship between the UK and the EU is going to look like.

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One of the changes is that the UK is going to require phytosanitary certificates for plants and flowers that are exported from the EU to the UK. Until recently, the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) assumed that the British authorities were going to impose phytosanitary inspections for plants shipped from the EU to the UK as per the 1st of April.

NVWA also assumed that the UK wasn’t going to require any phytosanitary certificates for EU flowers. It turned out that neither of these assumptions were correct.

Phytosanitary inspections

In November, Nigel Jenney from Fresh Produce Consortium, the British organisation for the trade in fresh produce, explained during a webinar of World Horti Center that all plants with a plant passport imported into the UK will be subject to phytosanitary inspections from 1 January. He confirmed this recently in two further Brexit webinars, organised by World Horti Center and FloriCulture International.

Phytosanitary requirements will apply to all so-called ‘high-priority’ plants and plant products. This includes propagation materials, cuttings, trees, perennials, pot plants and flower bulbs, as well as CITES products.

In addition, all EU cut flowers that are shipped to the UK are subject to phytosanitary inspections in the Netherlands from the 1st of April, according to the British.

Sally Cullimore, policy officer with the British Horticultural Trades Association (HTA), confirmed these measures. (..)

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