Seafish has warned UK seafood businesses need to act now to keep trading with the EU when the Brexit transition period ends

Seafish has warned UK seafood businesses need to act now to keep trading with the EU when the Brexit transition period ends

What the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement means for seafood imports and exports 

With details of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) now available, Seafish is reminding seafood businesses in the UK to be ready for immediate changes if they want to keep trading with the EU.  

The UK and EU announced the deal on 24 December meaning there will be zero tariffs on goods traded between the EU and the UK.  

However, the details of the agreement highlight the need for seafood businesses to be ready and prepared for immediate changes on processes for customs, food safety and market access. Rules of origin requirements will also need to be met to access zero tariffs.  

The following changes will take effect once the Brexit transition period ends at 11pm on Thursday 31 December:  

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For the preferential tariff rates to apply, goods must originate in either the UK or a EU member state. The agreement sets out the ‘Rules of Origin’ criteria and the paperwork that needs to be completed to prove eligibility. Rules of origin will apply to where fish and shellfish are farmed, caught or processed.  

Customs procedures, including the lodging of import and export declarations, will still be necessary even if no tariffs are payable.  

The EU and UK have agreed to regulate separately on food safety and product standards, so there will be checks at the EU and UK border to ensure imported products meet the required regulatory standards. This means Export Health Certificates, Catch Certificates and other labelling requirements will need to be in place.  

Seafish has added more detail to its website to help seafood businesses prepare including further information on the rules of origin requirements as they affect seafood.  Most of the requirements detailed in the agreement were required in the event of a no deal situation and so any preparations that businesses have already made are still valid.  

Aoife Martin, Director of Operations at Seafish, said:  

“With more details of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement now available, our message to seafood businesses hasn’t changed – it’s essential that they act now to prepare for the changes which come into force once the Brexit transition period ends on 31 December.  

“This is a critical time for businesses trading with the EU. They need to be prepared for changes affecting customs, tariffs, health certificates and trading with Northern Ireland. Our website provides further information on the requirements for seafood imports and exports. Businesses needing specific assistance can also get in touch with our Regulation team. 

“While trade is the immediate priority with changes coming into force this week, we’ll also keep our online guidance updated as we start to understand what the changes will mean for fishing rights and access to labour.” 

The Northern Ireland Protocol remains unaffected by the agreement, although goods moving into the EU via Northern Ireland will have access to zero tariffs, provided the rules of origin are met. 

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Source: Press release – Seafish

Brian J McMullin Solicitors
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