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Coronavirus (COVID-19) –  update 13

Coronavirus (COVID-19) – update 13

1 Apr 2020

We have received responses from UK Government on some of the issues which we have raised affecting UK importers, including customs documentation; format of phytosanitary certificates; checks on low risk plant products; HMI checks; and organic certification.

HMRC – Original documentation

We have received the following response from HMRC with regard to provision of original documentation on UK imports (EUR1 certificates):

Apologies for the delay in getting back to you.

On preference documents, we are to clarify with the trade that, although declarations are made electronically, the original certificates should, as much as feasible, still be in the possession of the declarant. In the case where this is not possible, we will accept “possession” to include scanned copies of original paper certificates or electronic versions obtained from the website from the issuing authority.

This arrangement will operate for the duration of the COVID-19 and it will remain the declarant’s obligation to obtain the original certificate as soon as the current restrictions allow.’

Yesterday we shared the guidance issued by the European Commission; this has been followed up by the UK Government which has published on moving goods through customs and customs authorisations during the coronavirus (COVID-19):

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/moving-goods-through-customs-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/customs-authorisations-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19

HMRC is continuing to work on guidance to address other easements and support for businesses, and will share further updates.

Defra plant health

We are sharing with you the information we have received from Defra in response to questions we raised with the Secretary of State – CLICK here. We have asked Defra to give further clarification on some of the statements provided and we still await a response.

Certificates of Inspection – Organic products

You will see a statement given by Defra on its position in the above letter. We understand the European Commission is about to advise EU Member States (and the UK) on how they can provide an easement to the legal requirement to produce original certificates.

When we receive any further advice we will pass it on to you.

Defra has contacted each National Plant Health Authority in exporting countries with regard to acceptance of electronic copies of the phytosanitary certificate – CLICK here to see this letter.

If you have any issues and queries please contact us.

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