A new Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the EU and UK is now in force since 1 January 2021, that includes an agreement about the trade of organic products.

What was agreed to facilitate trade in organic products?

  • Reciprocal recognition of equivalence of the current EU and UK organic legislation and control system, for all categories of organic products.
  • SCOPE: -Unprocessed agricultural and aquaculture products produced in the United Kingdom or in the European Union -Processed agricultural products for use as food or feed processed in the UK or the European Union, with ingredients that have been grown in the UK or the EU or that have been imported into the UK or the EU in accordance with UK or EU laws and regulations.
  • Organic products complying with EU law and certified by control bodies recognised by the EU will be accepted on the UK market and vice-versa.
  • In view of new EU rules for organic products applying as of 1.1.2022, equivalence will be reassessed by end-2023.

Concretely: Food and feed certified as organic in the EU, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein will continue to be accepted as organic in UK until 31 December 2023. Food and feed certified as organic in UK will continue to be accepted as organic in the EU until 31 December 2023.

Main changes regarding exports to the UK:

  • From 1 January 2021, exports of organic products from Third Countries (excepted EU, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland) to all parts of the UK other than Northern Ireland (=England, Wales and Scotland), will require an interim paper-based Certificate of Inspection, called GB COI.
  • Exports from the EU, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein + Switzerland will be required to be accompanied by a GB COI from 1 July 2021. (phased approach to reduce unnecessary barriers to trade).
  • An electronic system will be developed by UK authorities to replace this interim system.
  • For exports from Third countries to Northern Ireland, a COI will still be issued on the EU TRACES NT system.

Main changes regarding imports from the UK:

  • The 6 UK organic control bodies have now been recognised by the EU as Equivalent until 31 December 2023 and listed in R(EU)1235/2008, which means that you will be able to import organic goods from the UK.
  • A Certificate of Inspection issued on TRACES NT must be issued for each import from Great Britain into the EU from 1 January 2021, and presented to EU competent authorities before custom clearance. -In case you have never imported organic products from Third Countries into the EU, your activity has to be declared as importer to your certification body and the company must be registered and valid as ‘organic importer’ on TRACES NT.
  • Regarding organic goods, Northern Ireland will follow EU rules (for imports and exports), therefore no COI will be necessary for imports from Northern Ireland.

The UK currently has organic reciprocal equivalence agreements with the following Third countries: USA, Canada (UKCOEA) , Australia, Chile, Israel, Tunisia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, Switzerland

To know more: You can also find useful information on the websites of DEFRA and our partner Soil Association Certification, regularly updated. You can also contact our experts at Ecocert!

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