Date: 12.05.2021

Food exporters highlight one of Brexit’s biggest impacts

This stunning article from The Grocer highlights the massive impact that the post-Brexit free trade agreement has had on one of our most vital business sectors.

Food exporters have spent a total of 58 years filling out export health certificates so far this year as a result of the new post-Brexit trade rules, the Chilled Food Association has claimed.

Export health certificates (EHC) are required when shipping live animals or animal products such as meat and fish from Great Britain to the EU, Northern Ireland, or any other third country.

Karin Goodburn, director general of the Chilled Food Association, said official figures show the UK has issued 89,000 certificates so far this year, up from 806 over the same period last year – a 110-fold increase. That’s really quite a lot when converted into additional administration and direct and indirect cost within the supply chain.

“If you take 89,000 certs and say it’s a couple of hours each… it comes out at 7,500 days so far this year spent signing certificates,” she told the independent Trade and Business Commission on Thursday, a new body made up of MPs and business figures to scrutinise UK trade deals.

“And that’s 24-hour days, not eight-hour days,” she added. “It’s 21,000 eight-hour days,” or 57-and-a-half years.

Only specially qualified vets – known as Official Veterinarians or OVs – are able to sign off export health certificates with the new requirements highlighting a national shortage.

Emily Rees, agricultural trade specialist and senior fellow at ECIPE, said the UK must look to develop an electronic certification process as quickly as possible. 

While much of the food industry has called for the UK to reach a veterinary agreement with the EU as a means to simplify border checks on food, Rees said it was also important to identify the “low hanging fruit”.

“Instead of looking at the negotiation of a big veterinary equivalency agreement, what are the low hanging fruit that can be sorted straightaway – that are product-specific, that are sector-specific – and can get done through an exchange of letters?”

EHC compliance is an arduous system of being able to qualify goods for export – either from the EU or UK – and one that cannot be circumvented or significantly simplified, but there are processes to build safeguards and ensure compliance to reduce delays.

We continuously monitor the evolving EU/UK trading legislation, regulations and processes, adapting our services and solutions to each new situation and development.

Our CuDoS customs brokerage platform is optimised, in line with the regimes in force on both sides of the Channel, automating and submitting customs declarations, for simple and compliant border processing in either direction. 

Please contact Andrew White, who is leading our customs and brokerage business unit, for further information and assistance on these or any other border controls, in our new trading environment with the EU.

“58 years spent on post-Brexit paperwork so far this year” was originally published in The Grocer and can be viewed in full HERE