Exporting Guidance for GB to N.I, EU or EEA
This information is correct at the time of publishing (24th March 2021).
Please ensure that you are checking the page regularly for current information.
As of the 1st January 2021, The EU has agreed to recognise Great Britain as equivalent for organics until 31 December 2023.
Great Britain (GB) has retained the requirements of the EU Organic Regulation, so all references remain the same but are read as GB law.
From 1st January 2021, the references to Council Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 and Commission Regulations (EC) Nos 889/2008 and 1235/2008 will be read as they have effect in Great Britain.
Get to the information relevant to you:
To help your business identify the correct documentation for importing and exporting into and out of GB we have created this infographic as a reference.
In addition to the guidance on this page, you can also watch our 25-minute video guide, created to help importers and exporters of organic food, feed, seed and livestock understand new certification and port clearance requirements for a number of differing trade scenarios
The following information applies to farmers and growers, manufacturers and traders certified by Soil Association Certification. To export to the EU and/or Northern Ireland you will need to make sure all the products you are planning to export are on your trading schedule.
Please also ensure that your customers in the EU and/or Northern Ireland have identified an importer and 1st consignee who hold a valid organic licence(s).
Scope of UK-EU Trade Deal
The scope of the EU-UK trade agreement only covers products which are grown/produced or substantially processed in the UK. Raw materials of retail packed product imported into GB and not further processed (i.e. are simply packed and/or labelled in GB, or re-exported unchanged) are not covered by the deal.
In additional to potentially different tariff regimes, there are a number of additional organic specific requirements to enable products outside the scope of the deal to be exported to the EU, EEA or NI from GB.
If you plan to export product that may not be within scope, please refer to our guidance below (please note: guidance videos on this page currently assume in-scope trading scenarios) :
What documentation is required for exporting organic products into the EU or Northern Ireland, EEA and Switzerland?
A Certificate of Inspection (CoI) must accompany every consignment of organic food and drink products, seed, feed and livestock when exporting from GB into the EU or Northern Ireland & EEA. Switzerland although not an EU member or EAA, also require COIs and use the EU TRACES NT system.
This will need to be completed and submitted on the TRACES NT portal.
Failure to do so will result in your organic goods losing status in the EU or Northern Ireland, EEA or Switzerland.
Once approved on TRACES NT you will need to create and submit your Certificate of Inspection (CoI) for approval by the Soil Association Certification CoI team.
For all goods exported to the EU and NI, EEA & Switzerland, GB exporters should:
- Ensure that a Certificate of Inspection (CoI) is approved for each consignment of organic goods exported. This is the responsibility of the exporter only. Failure to do so may result in organic goods losing status
- Ensure CoIs are approved before the shipments leaves GB. We cannot endorse CoIs after the good have left GB.
- CoI’s can be submitted based on draft documentation, the CoI can then be provisionally endorsed allowing the goods to leave GB. If submitting a draft CoI you must email the actual weights, along with an updated invoice and packing list before the consignment arrives for clearance in the EU or NI.
- Complete all mandatory and non-mandatory boxes on the CoI and ensure you upload supporting documentation as outlined in the Exporting Guidance.
Can you endorse my COI once the goods have left GB?
We are unable to endorse COIS once the consignment have left Great Britain. Please note that Article 13(2) of Reg (123/5 2020) states that ‘the certificate of inspection shall be issued by the relevant control authority or control body before the consignment leaves the third country of export or origin’. Please do not ship your goods without an endorsed COI. Soil Association Certification will not be able to endorse COIs retrospectively after the goods have left Great Britain.
The Scheme for Temporary Agri-Food Movements to Northern Ireland (STAMNI) arrangements - which includes movement of organic food and drink - will be extended until 1st October. This means that existing authorised traders will not need to present COIs for consignments enter NI until the end of September.
For those not covered by the scheme, the government’s Movement Assistance Scheme is also to be extended and will see government reimbursing certifier’s costs for COIs required for NI , resulting in a free of charge service for certifier endorsement of COIs
How do I register on TRACES NT?
- Please see below a step by step guide on how to register on TRACES NT
- If you are in the process of applying for certification you can set up your TRACES account alongside this.
- Note that the EU TRACES NT portal also applies for goods going to Northern Ireland from Great Britain
Other useful Links related to TRACES NT:
A CoI needs to be created on the TRACES NT portal. See below step by step guidance outlining how to create a CoI and requirements for endorsement.
Once complete our CoI team will be able to view and endorse if all of the information is correct and the products you are wanting to export are listed on your trading schedule.
The COI team are unable to view Operators and COIs selected under BIO-142 and we are working on resolving this issue to avoid confusion.
Need to know more?
We've created a 15-minute explainer video to help guide those already registered as exporters on TRACES NT through the process of creating a COI.
You will need to pre-purchase CoI credits via our payment portal prior to submitting your CoI via the TRACES NT portal. Failure to do so will mean our team will not be able to complete the endorsement process.
If you are exporting to Northern Ireland and not exempted from COI completion under an Authorised Trader, you do not need to pay for your COIs, as endorsement costs are covered by government MAS grant paid to your certifier.
How long will the UK Government cover these costs?
MAS is constantly monitored and assessed to see how the scheme is working. DEFRA will continue to review the requirements of both traders and certifiers.
The pre-paid number of CoIs will then be added to your SA Certification account. Each time a CoIs is submitted via TRACES NT for us to endorse, we will then use a pre-bought credit.
Pre-Purchase COIPlease click here to pre-purchase your COIs
How can I split my consignments?
Once endorsed the goods are cleared and can be split into batches. Submit a CoI for the whole consignment to be endorsed, then amend the status to ‘base for extract’.
For further information please find below TRACES NT guidance on the ‘base for extract’ process.
Please be advised that additional checks may be required if your consignment has a high-risk product or high-risk country identified in line with (EC) 1235/2008.
The COI team will inform you via email if any additional documentation or photos of the consignment is required.
What is a Customs ID?
All businesses trading with the EU who are VAT registered will start to be enrolled into Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) by HMRC.
If you are not VAT registered, you will need to register for an EORI number.
Exporting Guidance for GB to N.I or EU
This guidance outlines in detail the exporting requirements for consignments going from GB to the EU, EEA or Northern IrelandDownload here
Setting up Access to TRACES NT
This guidance is a step by step guide outlining how to register on TRACES NTRead it here
Creating a certification of inspection
This guidance outlines how to create a CoI on the TRACES NT portal.Read it here
COI Base for Extract Process
This guidance outlines how to complete split consignments via the TACES NT portalRead the guidance