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Pets: Imports

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN HL2618, tabled on 10 September 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to prepare for the requirement for mandatory veterinary health certificates for imports from the EU, that come into force on 1 October.

Answered on

24 September 2021

The Government has set out a new timetable for introducing full import controls for sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) goods being imported from the EU to the UK.

The new timetable considers the challenges businesses have faced due to the global pandemic, as well as its impact on supply chains across the UK and Europe. The Government believes a more pragmatic timetable will help give businesses time to recover from the pandemic and adjust to the new processes.

The controls will now be phased in across 2022.

From 1 July 2022:

  • The new requirements for GB Export Health Certificates from EU exporters, which were due to be introduced on 1 October 2021, will now be introduced on 1 July 2022.
  • Phytosanitary certificates for lower risk plant produce, due to be introduced on 1 January 2022, will now be introduced on 1 July 2022.
  • Physical checks on SPS goods at Border Control Posts will now begin on 1 July 2022.

All current controls for live animals, products of animal origin under safeguard measures and high priority plants and plant products remain unchanged.

In addition, the following customs controls will be phased in:

  • Full customs declarations and controls will be introduced on 1 January 2022 as previously announced.
  • Safety and Security declarations on imports will be required as of 1 July 2022 as opposed to 1 January 2022.

The new timeline allows importers, exporters and EU certifiers more time to prepare for the requirements and controls. It will ensure we reduce any anticipated disruption when these measures are introduced.

Defra has been working hard with businesses to ensure they are prepared and has run numerous webinars and advice sessions, attended by around 4,000 businesses.

Around 4,600 businesses are already registered for the Import of Products, Animals, Food and Feed System (IPAFFS). More than 13,000 individual users are registered for IPAFFS.

The process is simple and only requires a Government Gateway account to register. We have sought to make these processes as straightforward as possible, and many thousands of businesses are already prepared for their introduction.

Defra is working closely with customs agents who are keen to provide import and export support to businesses. We are looking to provide digital solutions to simplify processes and encouraging more agents to offer pre-notification support and support to EU exporters.

Pre-notification procedures from January 2022 to July 2022 have been reduced and now mirror the current import process introduced for live animals in January this year, requiring importers or their agents to complete 15 simple information boxes on IPAFFS.