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Are you prepared for Brexit?

Leading initiatives support imports and exports of organic products

Control Union UK and Organic Farmers & Growers (OF&G) are working together to ensure the integrity of organic products entering the UK when we reach the end of the transition period of the UK-EU Withdrawal Agreement on 31 December 2020.

UK regulator, Defra has stipulated that Certificates of Inspection (CoI) on products imported from the EU and EEA will not be a legal requirement during the first six months of 2021. However, this position has not been reciprocated by the EU on goods being exported from the UK.

Securing visibility and integrity around the trading of all exported and imported organic products is essential. To help ensure the necessary obligations of organic certification are met when products reach the UK market, Control Union UK has set up the UK Organic Gateway Service. As the largest certifier of UK organic land, OF&G is working with Control Union UK to support this initiative, which will be available to all organic operators, regardless of their certifier.

To provide a complementary platform for UK exports, OF&G is introducing a portal-based system for the processing and sign-off of CoI for organic products destined for the EU, to ensure a reduction in any potential delays.

Working in tandem, these two initiatives provide exporters and importers with equivalent platforms that facilitate the processing of CoI as we face the challenges of a new trading environment.

“Without confirmation of a Brexit deal, a lot of uncertainty remains around the trading of organic products,” says Roger Kerr, chief executive at OF&G. “At the end of the transition period, the complexity and cost of doing business is likely to increase.

“OF&G is therefore keen to support initiatives that help mitigate these factors, while providing the necessary assurances for cross-border transactions. We believe that these two processes will help both importers and exporters deliver this in a timely and cost-effective way.”

It is a position supported by Franco Costantini, MD at Control Union UK. "Thanks to our presence in the UK and our role as a control body in about 130 countries, we’re able to support exporters and importers to reduce the burden of the new UK-EU requirements.

“The UK Organic Gateway gives visibility of products being imported in the UK and ensures that the original CoI arrive at the destination, without delays,” concludes Mr Costantini.

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