The UK and the EU have not yet reached clear agreements on trade in fruit and vegetables. This creates uncertainty and makes exporters nervous. A possible deal will help, but it won’t change much in the short term. “It is now five past twelve,” says Alex van Iepen from direct Fruit Services in an article on the website of the state government.
For the export of many agricultural products, such as fruit and vegetables, health certificates are mandatory. Until 1 January 2021, the EU rules apply. After that, the British will have to lay down and enforce the rules themselves. They’re working on this. But what it looks like is not yet known.
”The content of health certificates requested by the UK is still changing by the day, ” says Brexit coordinator Peter Baas of NVWA. This makes it difficult to assess the necessary adjustments to the documents already prepared by NVWA. Nor is it clear what the British inspection process is going to look like operational. For example, whether the British want to inspect 10 or 15% of consignments of a product, for example pears.
For pear exporter elope, the lack of clarity on the British side is a major problem. “It is important for us to have certainty about controls on the British side of the border, because they can cause delays. We cannot afford that. Because our pears have to get to the UK supermarkets in time.”
A deal between the UK and the EU can remove the uncertainty about border controls, thinking of Direct Fruit Services. “A deal is actually just necessary.”
Surprise from the NVWA endorses the importance of a deal. But he also warns that such a deal does not necessarily remove all uncertainty. Among other things, because a deal mainly affects import tariffs. In addition, export certification is mainly dependent on British rules. And the introduction of the agreements made in the deal costs a lot of time, according to the Brexit coordinator.
Surprise: “we have 250 different health certificates. Some, based on the certificates we have in place, you could adjust in a few days. But all in all, it could take months. It is not for nothing that the World Trade Organization (WTO) has set a standard deadline of six months for this.”