IGD - Economics bulletin 27 April

Date : 27 April 2021

Your overview of political and economic news with a focus on the food and consumer goods industry, featuring the latest developments and guidance on COVID-19 and adapting to a new relationship with the EU.

Further easing of COVID restrictions

In Wales, outdoor hospitality re-opened yesterday. Up to six people from six households are now able to meet, with social distancing and hygiene measures in place. Indoor hospitality is set to re-open in Wales from 17 May.

In Scotland, the following easing of restrictions took effect from yesterday:

  • Outdoor hospitality fully re-opened
  • Indoor hospitality to serve food indoors without alcohol until 8 p.m.
  • Non-essential retail re-opened

In England, step 3 of the roadmap is due to come into effect no earlier than 17 May. This will include the re-opening of indoor hospitality.

See also the latest easing of restrictions in Northern Ireland

Social distancing review update

The government is conducting a Social Distancing Review to explore whether existing rules, designed to limit virus transmission, could be relaxed in different settings. Defra has received input from the food and consumer goods industry which will be shared with the Cabinet Office. The outcome of the review will be published prior to step 4 of the roadmap which comes into effect no earlier than 21 June.

The government is also conducting reviews covering COVID status certification, global travel and events.

Northern Ireland – update on EU-UK negotiations

The UK government has held further constructive talks with the EU concerning the movement of goods into Northern Ireland. Both sides are said to be working hard to find practical solutions to the issues raised.

This follows a legal challenge from the European Commission after temporarily extending the grace period for supermarkets and their suppliers moving goods into Northern Ireland from 1 April to 1 October (see key dates section for more details).

Further discussions are expected.

New Northern Ireland forum

A new joint Defra – DAERA forum will be established from early May that will focus on operational details of trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.  Further details are expected soon.

Composite products containing products of animal origin (POAO)

Defra is assessing how the new rules for the export of composite products to the EU are being implemented since they came into effect on 21 April. No major issues have been reported so far.

The new rules introduce new Export Health Certificates (EHCs) for composite products as well as new documentation for composite products exempt from certification. 

The new EHCs are available on EHC Online (ECHO). Updated guidance, frequently asked questions and a composite product decision tree have been published.

UN Food Systems Summit - Input required

As part of the preparations for the United Nations Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) in September, the government is seeking to obtain input from the food and consumer goods industry as part of a national dialogue to engage with a wide range of stakeholders to gain their views on transforming the food system. The output from this national dialogue will feed into a pre-summit meeting in Italy in July.

Key dates for UK-EU transition and support for businesses

Businesses trading with the EU should be prepared for the introduction of further border controls on the following dates:

  • 30 June – The grace period for sending certain Prohibited & Restricted goods (P&Rs) from GB to NI ends.
  • 21 August – New model of EHCs is required for POAO exported to the EU, following the end of the transitionary arrangements allowing the use of current EHCs
  • 1 October – POAO and all regulated plants and plant products will require pre-notification and health documentation to be imported into the UK.
  • 1 October – End of the grace period for supermarkets and their suppliers moving goods into Northern Ireland. The start of a phased introduction of the Export Health Certificates for POAO exported to Northern Ireland from GB.
  • 1 January 2022 - Safety and Security Declarations for imports required. Physical checks required at Border Control Posts (BCPs) for POAO and certain animal by-products, and High Risk Food Not Of Animal Origin. Physical SPS checks of high risk plants also to take place at BCPs. Pre-notification requirements and documentary checks required for low risk plants and plant products.

Complete customs declarations for imports to the UK will be required. Importers may no longer defer making declarations. Tariffs will become payable at the moment of import.

  • 1 March 2022 – Physical checks at BCPs for live animals and low risk plants and plant products.

The UK government has issued guidance specifically for food and drink businesses.

Register here for upcoming webinars on trading with the EU.

IGD has also provided additional support to help businesses with EU Exit. Businesses may also wish to refer to the EU EXIT Foodhub, an FAQ website for food and drink businesses

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