What are parallel trade permits?
Parallel trade permits have allowed plant protection products to be imported into the UK, sold and used, based on regulatory assessment work done in another EU country.
A parallel trade permit could be obtained for a plant protection product if it was both;
- authorised in the EU country it is being sourced from, and
- determined by the UK regulator to be identical in composition to the authorised product.
Key dates to note:
- 30 June 2023 – sales of parallel products will end
- 30 June 2024 – final use date for parallel products
Parallel importing of pesticides due to end
To assess and confirm the imported product was identical, the UK regulator gathered appropriate data from the EU source country regulator, or the product manufacturer. This exchange of data was an EU function, under the pillar of ‘free circulation of goods within the internal market’. Having left the EU, this function is no longer accessible to the UK and the parallel importing of pesticides will end.
HSE has withdrawn parallel trade permits in Great Britain and set a final date for sale of parallel products of 30 June 2023 and a final use date of 30 June 2024.
What does this mean for farmers?
We expect to see a loss of choice of plant protection products available on the market.
For the parallel trade process to work, there must be a competitive opportunity in the marketplace – to buy the product at a lower price in the source country, and to sell it in the importing country at a price that is lower than the identical branded reference product. So parallel products create a price floor in the marketplace.
Without them, there is a risk the price of plant protection products will increase.
These products have also been used to bridge gaps in supply when the identical branded products have had availability issues. Without parallel products, we might also see some shortages in supply.
The NFU plant health unit has been working on this issue, discussing it with parallel trade importers, the wider industry and Defra.
We are trying to better understand the scale of the potential impacts of losing parallel trade, and investigating possible alternative ways to maintain choice and competitiveness in the plant protection product market for farmers.