Opportunities and threats: The changes Brexit is bringing to potatoes

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02 December 2020
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Opportunities and threats: The changes Brexit is bringing to potatoes

AGREEMENT for third country equivalence from the EU was desperately needed to protect the future of British potato exports to both the EU and Northern Ireland as the Brexit transition period entered its last few weeks.

Without it, exporters were staring over the edge of a cliff, British Potato Trade Association president Sandy McGowan told an AHDB webinar exploring the impact of a Brexit no-deal.

“At the end of the transition period on the 31 December 2020 at 11pm UK time, we become a third country. That third country status means we have no access to the EU market, as there is a special clause and annex within the European Commission rules, which seed and ware potatoes fall under, that excludes trade and supply of these products,” he said.  

To maintain the ability to export into the EU, the UK must be approved by the EU as meeting basic standards for sale, mostly around sanitary and phytosanitary measures, and placed on an approved list of third countries able to export potatoes into the EU.

NFU’s EU Exit and International trade policy adviser, Emily Roads, said latest guidance from the government was that equivalency was unlikely to be in place before January 1st, 2021.

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“We are pushing the government to prioritise these equivalency applications,” she said.

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