Incoming UK import rules will bring an end to “business as usual” for Irish agri-food exporters and businesses need to fully engage with UK import requirements, Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has said.

The comments came during a Government briefing on the next phase of UK import requirements for sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) goods.

The minister has set out the significant additional administrative and logistical challenges arising for exporters and competent authorities in meeting the new requirements that will be introduced by the UK on 1 October.

These requirements include exporter approval, pre-notification to the UK authorities and export health certification to and through the UK.

Risks remain

The provision of export health certificates for exports and for consignments transiting the land bridge will be a particular challenge the Minister warned, with volumes expected to rise significantly on current certification levels.

“The dispersed nature of agri food and fisheries businesses exporting to Great Britain and the ‘just-in-time’ nature of the trade bring further resource and process implications for certifying authorities and businesses,” Minister McConalogue said.

“Extensive preparations have taken place across Government and across the agri-food and fisheries sectors for Brexit, and significant changes have taken effect since the end of the transition period.

“However, further Brexit-related challenges and risks remain for these sectors as the next phases of UK import requirements come into effect.”

Start today

With less than five months left until the introduction of the next phase of UK import requirements, exporters have been called to ensure that they are export ready.

“I am urging the entire industry to continue their Brexit preparations. If you haven’t started yet, then you should commence today,” the Minister concluded.