Export for organic businesses after Brexit
If a no-deal Brexit goes ahead, a number of things will change for organic farmers and growers, manufacturers and traders exporting to the EU.
As the UK’s organic experts and the largest dedicated food and farming charity, we have compiled some key export information for organic businesses.
We are here to support you in this period of change.
Exporting to the EU after Brexit
In a no deal scenario, all organic exports from the UK to the EU will be temporarily suspended. Here’s what will need to happen for trading to resume:
- Organic certifiers need to be approved by the EU1
The UK organic certification system will no longer be recognised by the EU, so UK certifiers (like Soil Association Certification) must apply to the European Commission (EC) for individual approval. This needs to be obtained before their licensees can export from the UK, or a third country, to the EU.
Soil Association Certification has already prepared and applied. However, our application, and those from other certification bodies, cannot be made to the EC until the UK exits the EU.
We anticipate a gap between the Brexit date and certifier approval. During which time, UK organic products would not be cleared to enter the EU.
We continue to work with Defra to try to determine the length of any potential delay and all certifiers are seeking advice on EC consideration of advanced applications for approval.
- Register to trade with the EU
The following information applies to farmers and growers, manufacturers and traders certified by Soil Association. If you are planning to export to the EU after Brexit you will need to email your Certification Officer to let them know which products you will be exporting. If you are licensed by another Certification Body, get in touch with them directly.
Once your certifier has been approved for exports you will be notified and only then can you access the TRACES NT portal. On the TRACES NT portal you will then be able to register as either a ‘producer’ or ‘exporter’, or both if that applies to your business.
- Organic licenses adapted2
Let your Certification Officer know you’ve registered to trade and they will make the necessary minor changes to your certificate and trading schedule to allow your ongoing access to the EU organic market.
- Obtain a customs ID
All businesses trading with the EU after Brexit who are VAT registered will start to be enrolled into Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) by HMRC.
- Changes to trading documents and consignment approval
Following Brexit, for each consignment you will need to use the TRACES NT portal to generate additional documents (Certificates of Inspection – COIs) and secure approval from your certifier. Your certifier may implement additional administrative charges for each approval.
There will be some changes for the company importing the goods into the EU. They will have to ensure their organic certification covers them for importing and be registered on TRACES NT. They will also need to notify the port authority in the country the goods are clearing that they have an organic shipment arriving.
Exporting outside the EU after Brexit
Different exporting rules may apply if ‘equivalency’ is not agreed between the UK and non-EU countries after Brexit. Equivalency is when the EU grants third country firms market access as it deems their domestic regulations to be in line with their own.
Exporting goods worldwide will depend on:
- The requirements of the country you export to
- If the UK has a trade deal in place with them
- What those trade deals look like
Defra have confirmed that the UK will continue to recognise the 13 so called 'Approved Third Countries' currently recognised by the EU and are detailed in the EU regulation (Annex III).
The UK is currently in the process of negotiating acceptance of UK organic goods with all of these nations – which are priority agreements for organic. Defra anticipate an import/export agreement will be in place with the majority of these countries by the time of exit, but not all have been agreed at this time:
- The UK have finalised and signed agreements with Costa Rica, Australia, Canada, Switzerland, Argentina, India, Israel, the US and New Zealand.
- The UK is working on securing deals with South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, Turkey, Chile and Tunisia for trade after Brexit. Although DEFRA anticipates there to be some delay it is hoped that these will all be agreed by January 2020 unless a withdrawal agreement has been agreed in which case there will be a transition period in place.
- For exports to the non-EU, we advise checking with organic authority in the export market whether labels/certification will be accepted. We currently use export certificates. NOP import certificates continue to be used for the US, and NAQS for South Korea - all of which are endorsed but this may change.
Talk to us
As the organic experts in the UK we provide a wealth of free information and guidance to our organic licensees.
If you can’t find what you’re looking for on these pages, please get in touch with your Certification Officer or email: email@example.com
- This relates to regulation EC 1235/2008 ; (2) This relates to regulation EC 1235/2008