We are sharing this update from ACCA, our professional body, for the interest of clients and contacts. The content is (c) ACCA

Importers of agrifood products face new rules

UK businesses should take steps to minimise the impact of new checks on goods imported from EU countries, now being phased in as part of the trade deal with the EU following the end of the Brexit transition period.

The new rules, which the UK government has deferred several times, are at last being implemented.

For some EU agrifood products – medium risk animal products, plants and plant products, and high-risk food and feed of non-animal origin – additional controls (over and above the requirement for safety and security declarations) are being introduced. These EU agrifood products are treated the same as non-EU agrifood products, as follows:

  • From 31 January 2024, health and/or phytosanitary certificates are required.
  • From 30 April 2024, documentary and risk-based identity and physical checks will apply. It is anticipated that physical checks will be carried out on between 1 per cent and 30 per cent of medium risk products and 100 per cent of high-risk products.
  • From 31 October 2024, safety and security declarations will be introduced for all EU goods (in addition to the existing customs declarations introduced in January 2022), including agrifood, so they will then be treated the same as goods from non-EU countries.

Importers affected by the new rules should consider whether and how their existing supply chains may be disrupted, including the impact of possible delays – and possible withdrawal of some EU suppliers from the UK market – on contractual obligations between them and their suppliers and customers, and their costs and prices.

Importers should also consider whether to explore alternative non-EU suppliers.