Trade to the UK hindered by pre-export check problems

Dutch traders purchasing from growers in other EU countries must now ensure that certain plants are accompanied by a pre-export certificate when they’re re-exported to the United Kingdom. “We do a lot of business with growers in Belgium and many of those growers can’t meet this requirement. It’s a serious problem”, indicated Jacob Kolff of Kolff Plants in Heesch.

Dutch traders are experiencing problems with re-exporting products they purchased in other EU countries to the UK due to Brexit. It’s been a problem for several days now. Initially, both the Dutch and the British governments were showing goodwill in this regard. But according to Naktuinbouw (the Netherlands Inspection Service for Horticulture), current UK legislation stipulates that almost all products require a pre-export certificate.

‘It’s up to the governments to solve this’

Both Naktuinbouw and NVWA (the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority) indicated they can’t do anything to change the situation during a webinar organised by The Dutch Federation of Agriculture and Horticulture (LTO) on 21 January. “It’s up to the governments of the Netherlands and the UK to solve this. They must decide how this should be developed”, said Peter Verbaas of NVWA.

Kolff mentioned the example of growers in Belgium but added that it applies to purchases from for example Germany and Italy as well. Growers must include a pre-export certificate with certain products now. But not all growers know how to do this, and Kolff feels that some aren’t willing to learn either. According to him, it’s a complex problem.


Jacob Kolff: “The UK is the second-largest export country for the Netherlands. The interests are huge. My own plants are inspected by Naktuinbouw in the Netherlands. But they aren’t allowed to check plants from Belgium. That’s the task of the Belgian authorities [FAVV, Ed.]. However, many growers aren’t familiar with these regulations. Belgian growers must include a pre-export certificate with their products. If they don’t, Naktuinbouw can’t issue a phytosanitary certificate for the consignment. That’s the problem traders are currently experiencing.”

Kolff said that the problem could last for months. So, what’s next? “I can do one of three things; stop exporting, chase the growers for all the required pre-export certificates, or cheat. The latter is something I don’t want to do, because that will cost me my registration with Naktuinbouw.”

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