At the end of 2020, the United Kingdom and the European Union reached a trade agreement to cover their post-Brexit relationship. This agreement came into effect on 1 January 2021.
What is going on with trade of organic products in practice?
The European Union (EU) and United Kingdom (UK) decided to reciprocally recognise EU and UK regulation as equivalent, as well as all systems for inspecting organic products.
That means that foodstuffs and animal feeds that are certified as organic in the EU, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein will continue to be accepted as organic in the UK until 31 December 2023.
In return, foodstuffs and animal feeds that are certified as organic in the UK will continue to be accepted as organic in the EU until 31 December 2023.
This equivalence will be reassessed by 2023.
What is changing for exports to the UK from 1 January 2021?
Anyone exporting products to the UK will need to adjust their organic certification and notify their inspection body of their activities as an exporter.
- Anyone exporting organic products from third-party countries to the UK (Northern Ireland is not affected) will need a specific certificate of inspection in paper format, the “GB COI” from 1 January 2021.
- Exports of organic products from the EU, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland will require a GB COI in paper format from 1 January 2022.
In time, the British authorities will develop an electronic import system which will replace the temporary paper system.
A scanned copy of this GB COI form, signed by the inspection body, must be presented to the port customs authorities when your shipment arrives in the UK.
What is changing for imports from the UK from 1 January 2021?
All British inspection bodies have been recognised as equivalent by the EU until 31 December 2023. They are covered by Commission Regulation (EC) 1235/2008.
Anyone importing products into the UK will need to adjust their organic certification and notify their inspection organization of their activities as an importer.
If you have never imported organic products from third-countries, your business should be registered as an “importer of organic products” on TRACES NT and should mention your certification authority (CERTISYS).
All products imported from the UK will need to come with an inspection certificate (eCOI) sent via TRACES NT and signed by the certification authority which oversees the British supplier.
None of this applies to Northern Ireland, which will continue to follow EU regulations for imports and exports.
Find more information on the DEFRA (Department for the Environment Food and Rural Affairs) website and in the special memo we have drafted.