Brexit: what consequences for the EU organic sector? (IT)


EOCC, the European Organic Certifiers Council, after a discussion with the British representatives both of the DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs of the United Kingdom) and of the UK Mission UK at the European Union, sent a series of information to the associated Control Bodies  on the consequences of Brexit for EU countries and for the trade in organic products between EU  and the United Kingdom.

The document basically says that, until 31 December 2020, the transition period, nothing changes. After 31  January 2020, organic products could be considered in the category of trade with third countries. Organic products from the UK could be considered as products imported from Third Countries. More information is expected to be released shortly, depending on broader discussions at the upper level of the UK-EU negotiations.

From 1 January 2021, and until 31 December of the same year, organic food and feed from the EU will continue to be accepted in the UK. This is a decision taken by the UK government on 15 October 2020 concerning  EU recognition for trade in organic products. To ensure a smooth transition process, the UK will actually recognize the EU as equivalent for organic trade purposes until 31 December 2021: a temporary measure that will give certainty to the organic sector, while UK's goal to negotiate a durable and long-term organic equivalence agreement with the EU remains.

For EU CBs, this means that until 31 December 2021 it is not necessary to request recognition from DEFRA. Some EOCC members had warned the EOCC in early October that there may be an obligation to be recognized by DEFRA: this would have been the case if the UK had not foreseen this temporary measure for 2021 and it would have been necessary to recognize each individual CB in the EU. The EOCC had contacted the Commission and DEFRA, and the matter was therefore clarified. However, if it is not possible to negotiate an equivalence agreement on organic products between the UK and the EU during the year 2021, the individual recognition of the EU CBs by DEFRA may be required from  the year 2022.

For the CBs based in the United Kingdom, 6 of them have already applied to be recognized by the Commission and to be included in Annex IV of Reg. 1235/2008. The Commission is still evaluating their applications (the letter from the Commission can be downloaded HERE) and the topic should be on the agenda of the next COP meeting on 28-29 October 2020. The COM plans to publish the list before the end of the year.

Source: BioAgriCert