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EU Plant Health Regulation and EU Official Controls Regulation

EU Plant Health Regulations

FPC has kept members informed of significant changes in EU plant health regulation as the regulation and its implementing directives have developed.

Under Implementing Directive 2019/523 which came into force on 1 September 2019 six new products required a phytosanitary certificate and import declarations from 23 September 2019 (including a grace period secured by FPC).

In addition the National Plant Health Authorities in certain exporting countries were required to advise the European Commission in advance of 1 September 2019 of control measures for certain pest/disease commodity combinations.

At the time the UK’s position in relation to implementing these significant changes was not clear due to the uncertainty of whether the UK was leaving the EU or not on 31 October 2019, and if the UK and EU had a withdrawal agreement in place. Then, with a General Election on 12 December 2019, just two days before these regulations came into force, the UK’s position appears to be even more unclear.

The UK is due to leave the EU after 31 December 2020 and is currently in a transition period, during which time it is implementing EU regulations, including EU Plant Health Regulations 2016/2031 and EU Official Controls Regulation 2017/625.


Requirements for phytosanitary certificates for UK imports from third countries

From 14 December 2019 the majority of fresh fruit and vegetable EU imports from third countries require a phytosanitary certificate (Regulation (EU) 2016/2031). The exceptions are pineapples; coconuts; durian; bananas and dates (Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/2019).

Under the EU Official Controls Regulation 2017/625 EU importers are required to pre-notify consignments using a CHED-PP via TRACES-NT. Defra advised that UK importers can continue to pre-notify using PEACH until further notice.

FPC secured a grace period for the implementation of the requirement for new commodities requiring a phytosanitary certificate which ran until 31 January 2020.

High risk plants listed in Annex I of Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/2019 are banned until a Pest Risk Analysis is carried out. Currently there is only one fruit/vegetable listed as a high risk plant: Momordica L. (bitter melon) originating from third countries or areas of third countries where Thrips palmi Karny (melon thrip) is present.


Plant Passports

FPC organised a briefing for companies involved in the UK plants supply chain, recognising the need for specific guidance on how the UK authorities would interpret the new plant passporting requirements, including online sales.

Defra published more detailed guidance based on the Q&A developed at the briefing.


EU Official Controls Regulation

The UK Government has not fully implemented the changeover from using TRACES Classic to TRACES-NT in relation to EU imports requiring increased levels of controls (those under the former EU Regulation 669/2009) and for organic products as required under Regulation (EU) 2017/625.

The Commission has stated that it is closing down access to TRACES Classic, however there are some IT issues relating to certain operations on the new version.

Defra is interested to hear about specific concerns and examples of issues. We will be responding regarding the upcoming changes to the levels of checks on particular commodities.


Place of business

A significant issue arose regarding the new legislative requirement that businesses which register on PEACH should be located in the UK. We have secured a grace period until 30 April 2020, and we are in discussions with Defra with regard to its interpretation that registered foreign companies may have to provide a UK address in the future. This is the advice published on PEACH:

Any existing and new traders currently with a non-UK address will be required to update and supply a valid UK address via their existing PEACH account by the 30 April 2020. Existing foreign Traders currently registered on PEACH will be notified via email of these changes.

This new requirement has been brought about by the Plant Health Regulation (EU) 2016/2031 Article 65 (Official register of professional operators). Failure to update this requirement will lead to de-registration of foreign traders accounts on PEACH’.

As soon as we have an update on Defra's position we will advise members.