Changes to EU importing requirements

Changes to EU importing requirements

The European Commission have issued an amendment to the requirements for importing organic product into the EU (EC Regulation No 1235/2008). The amendment to this regulation will come into effect on Monday 3rd February 2020 and will affect all organic imports into the EU.

One of the changes is likely to pose difficulties for some imports. There will be a requirement for the certificate of inspection (COI) to be issued by the certification body of the exporter before the consignment leaves the country of export.

The current import system has accepted COIs issued by the certification body after the product has left the country of export, provided the COI is available at the port of entry. In these circumstances, port health authorities have been able to endorse the COI. The change means that from February 3rd, port health authorities will only endorse a COI if it was issued by the certification body prior to export.

There are some difficulties meeting this requirement, as final transport documents are not always available in advance of the day of export, so it's not possible for certifiers to verify all the information required for the COI. To try and mitigate this, the European Commission have agreed that Box 13, Box 16 and Box 17 of the COI may be filled in with the provisional information available at the time of issuing the COI. TRACES is being amended to ensure that certifiers can then update the information in those boxes and upload the final transport documents after they've issued the COI. This must done before the COI can be endorsed at the EU port of entry (Box 20).


NOTE: for certain products from China, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Russian Federation and Moldova, there is already a requirement for the COI to be issued before export – view our previous post for more information.   


Actions for you to take:

It's important to check that your exporter is aware of this and able to meet this requirement to ensure you do not experience any problems on import. You can view the amendment on the Access to EU Law website

If you would like more information or have particular concerns, please contact your Certification Officer.