Exporting plant reproductive material and prohibited plants to the EU - what you need to know

Overseas trade

The UK government has published new guidance on Plant variety rights and marketing plant reproductive material from 1 January 2021, in which it has been confirmed that the UK will not have third country equivalence for certified plant reproductive material.

The full guidance also outlines the future processes for applications for plant variety rights.

This means that the UK will not be able to export UK certified plant reproductive material, including fruit propagating material, seed potatoes, and other certified seed, to the EU.

Furthermore, such products will not be able to be exported to Northern Ireland, as the island of Ireland is being treated as a single SPS zone subject to EU regulations.

For ornamental species the guidance states that the EU “does not grant equivalence to a third country. However, businesses can trade material freely, subject to plant health, labelling and country of origin requirements. The variety must be on a supplier’s list and accepted in an EU member state.”

The recently published guidance on Importing and Exporting Plants and Plant Products from 1 January 2021 also states that from 1 January 2021, the UK will not be able to export high-risk plants, seed and propagating material, seed and ware potatoes, and other prohibited plants (including growing medium).

The NFU continues to actively engage with Defra on these issues, emphasising the importance of continuing the equivalence application process to ensure that goods can continue to move between the UK and the EU, and raising the concerns of our farmer and grower members.

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