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​What effect will Brexit have on the procedure for placing food products on the market?

With the Withdrawal Agreement

The single market regulations and, therefore, the free movement of goods will remain in effect, meaning that nothing will change.

Companies should bear in mind that it would be necessary to know their business equivalent regarding other Member States of the EU in terms of procedures for placing food products on the market (food complements and food products aimed at certain population groups).

Without the Withdrawal Agreement

The UK will establish its own food safety, production and quality regulations for the preparation of its food products. However, it will become a third (non-EU) country, so in accordance with EU regulations on protecting human and animal health, border health controls will be applied to the exit and entry of products in both directions, and Spanish companies will have to be used to sell their products in Spain. 

Will tariffs be placed on products coming from the United Kingdom or on the products we export to the United Kingdom?

With the Withdrawal Agreement

These will not be created until after the transition period and will depend on the specific agreements that may be reached between the parties during that period.

Without the Withdrawal Agreement

When the United Kingdom becomes a third country, a common customs tariff will be applied according to the product in question.

How does Brexit affect sanitation controls for the import and export of food?

With the Withdrawal Agreement

The United Kingdom will continue to apply European legislation until the end of the transition period, meaning that goods will continue to move freely as they do now under the same legislative requirements and without the application of tariffs.

Without the Withdrawal Agreement

The United Kingdom would be considered as a third country and border controls will be conducted on all consignments imported from the United Kingdom. These controls may relate to sanitary, phytosanitary or commercial quality aspects.
Exports will need to comply with the legislation drawn up by the United Kingdom and certification may be necessary in some cases. For products of animal origin, businesses may need to be included on lists of authorised exporters.

Depending on the product in question, various sanitary, phytosanitary or commercial quality controls may be necessary, meaning that operators will need to address their inspection applications to the competent control services via the corresponding platforms (TRACES, CEXVEG, CEXGAN or ESTACICE).

Will European Union rules on products from the United Kingdom cease to apply in terms of food quality and safety? What controls will be applied to products from the United Kingdom?

With the Withdrawal Agreement

The United Kingdom will continue to apply EU regulations during any transition period that may be established.

Without the Withdrawal Agreement

The United Kingdom will have its own food quality and safety rules for the production and manufacture of its food products. Nonetheless, as laid down by EU regulations, UK goods will need to meet European Union requirements on the protection of human and animal health, the environment and consumer rights before arriving in Europe.

What is the precise scope of the contingency measures on veterinary and phytosanitary legislation, and when will they apply?

With the Withdrawal Agreement

The contingency measures will not be needed because European Union regulations will continue to apply.

Without the Withdrawal Agreement

The EU regulations on public and animal health will no longer be applicable to the UK. As a result, the entry of animals and animal products from the UK to the EU will only be authorised if the UK is included on the list of authorised countries in the sectors specified by EU law.

The contingency measures announced by the Commission's Communication of 13 November 2018 consider that the UK will be included on the lists for live animals and animal products, provided that there is a guarantee that all the conditions of applicable veterinary or public health legislation are met. In the case of a no-deal scenario, the UK will be included on these lists starting from the withdrawal date.

With respect to phytosanitary matters, the UK will be considered a third country, so all plant exports, plant products and other objects regulated by EU law must be subject to inspection at the point of entry into the EU.

If there is no agreement, will live animals and animal products be controlled at the border when brought into the European Union from the United Kingdom?

If there is no deal, from the exit date each shipment of live animals and animal products from the UK must be subject to controls at the EU-approved Border Inspection Posts (BIPs) for entry into the European Union.

For more information:

Health requirements applicable to the sale of livestock products between the UK and Spain in case of a no-deal exit.

Is the European Commission ready to approve the necessary Border Inspection Posts for conducting sanitary and phytosanitary controls, and how fast will this approval take place?

European Union legislation includes certain flexibilities; e.g. accepting temporary installations for inspection facilities or the use of commercial installations for storing consignments. To be ready on 30 March 2019, any new or expanded border inspection posts should be proposed by Member States to the European Commission before 15 February 2019.

What will the plant health requirements be for plant products shipped to the UK from Spain if there is no agreement?

If there is no agreement, the UK will have to establish the plant health requirements for the entry of these products into its country. These requirements may include a plant health certificate or other type of specific requirements or pest control measures that must be checked at its points of entry.

In principle, all fruits and vegetables will be able to be shipped to the UK without the need for a plant health certificate. Only some products such as plantation material, citrus fruit with leaves and some wood will need a plant health certificate.

For more information:

Plant health requirements applicable to trade in products of plant origin between the UK and the EU if there is a no-deal exit.

Will it be possible to continue using and marketing plant varieties from the UK catalogue? 

Once the United Kingdom becomes a third country, any plant varieties only registered at the behest of the UK will be removed from the Common Catalogues of the European Union. As a result, these varieties may no longer be marketed in the rest of the European Union.

The 27 Member States and the European Commission have established simplified procedures to enable breeders to easily register varieties in at least one of the 27 Member States so that the plant varieties in question remain in the Common Catalogues, thereby allowing them to be marketed in the European Union after Brexit.


Will it be possible to continue selling Spanish foodstuffs with protected designations of origin (PDO) or protected geographical indications (PGI) in the United Kingdom? Will their names be protected?

In principle, the United Kingdom will subject the import of products protected by a PDO or PGI to the same rules as similar products without a geographic indication.

The protection of their names will depend on whether a withdrawal agreement is approved or not.

If so, it is established that European Union PDOs and PGIs registered before the end of the transition period will enjoy at least the same level of protection as provided under current European Union legislation.

If not, it will be up to the United Kingdom to establish a system of protection for foreign geographical indications within its territory as it deems fit and according to obligations accepted under any international treaties and agreements it may have ratified.

What protection will be afforded to protected designations of origin (PDOs) and protected geographical indications (PGIs) for foodstuffs recognised in the United Kingdom within the European market?    

If a withdrawal agreement is approved, the principle of mutual recognition will be applied and UK PDOs and PGIs registered before the end of the transition period will enjoy at least the same level of protection in the European Union as provided under current European Union legislation.

If no agreement is approved, the European Union will decide on the system of protection for UK geographical indications (which will not necessarily need to be equivalent to PDOs and PGIs), bearing in mind any pertinent international treaties to which the European Union or the various Member States are party: Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) of the WTO; the Paris Convention; the Lisbon Agreement; in a hypothetical future scenario, the Geneva Act, etc.


Will British farmers and fishermen be subject to the same standards as those of the European Union?

If there is an agreement, the farmers and fishermen of the United Kingdom will continue participating in the Common Agricultural Policy and Common Fisheries Policy, and be subject to its standards and obligations, until the end of the transition period (in principle on 31 December 2020).

In the agreement that will govern future relations, EU and Spanish negotiators will ensure that no situations of unfair competition arise concerning the regulations that the United Kingdom may establish for its agriculture, fisheries and food industries. If any such circumstance is observed, appropriate measures will be taken.

If there is no agreement, before the withdrawal date, the regulations could diverge, to a greater or lesser extent, depending on the decisions adopted by the UK authorities. In this situation, EU and Spanish institutions will address this issue and its consequences appropriately, seeking to safeguard the interests of those affected by the Common Policies, especially farmers, fishermen and the general public.

How will Brexit affect the funds obtained from the Common Agricultural Policy and the Common Fisheries Policy in Spain?

If there is an agreement, the United Kingdom will have to fulfil all its financial obligations derived from the current 2014-2020 Multiannual Financial Framework, which includes the First Pillar support of the CAP until 2020, the content of the rural development programmes within the current framework committed until 2023 and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund. Therefore, Brexit should not affect the assistance received by Spain during this period.

Subsequently, the assistance received by Spain under these two EU policies will depend on what is agreed among the 27 remaining Member States for the future 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework.

If there is no agreement, before the withdrawal date, a significant budgetary dispute would arise between the European Union and the United Kingdom, which could affect the implementation of the last financial years of the current Financial Framework and the design of the future one (2021-2027). European Union and Spanish institutions should address this issue and its consequences, and take appropriate decisions in this regard, in order to safeguard the interests of beneficiaries of the Common Policies, especially the CAP, as far as possible.

More information on the website of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.

Non official translation