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Exporters face further Brexit related UK import checks in a month’s time

The Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney T.D. is today (Monday, March 1st) urging Irish exporters to prepare for further import checks that the UK will introduce on food and other agricultural products in a month’s time.

These new Brexit checks are part of the UK’s phased introduction of controls which began on 1 January.   In addition to the new customs procedures, exporters of food and agricultural products into Great Britain must, from 1 April, meet new UK requirements including pre-notification on UK systems and new export health certificate requirements.  These changes will also impact exporters moving goods across the UK Landbridge as all transit movements must also be pre-notified and be accompanied by a transit health certificate. 

Speaking on 1 March Minister Coveney said:

"A second wave of Brexit-related change is coming on 1 April.  The first wave primarily affected on our importers but this next phase will provide challenges for exporters.

I know businesses are still trying to come to terms with earlier Brexit changes and COVID impacts but it is vital that exporters fully understand these new UK import requirements and ensure everyone in their supply chain, including the importer and logistics providers are clear on their roles and responsibilities and can meet them.

A range of Government supports, including training and grants, are available to assist.  For more information go to

However, in light of the Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland, none of these new controls apply to North/South trade.

Following the useful meeting of the Joint Committee on Implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement on 24 February, Minister Coveney welcomed the shared EU-UK approach to working together on issues around the implementation of the Protocol:

“Both the EU and UK have underlined their commitment to implementing the Protocol properly, finding pragmatic solutions where issues arise, and making the Protocol work to the benefit of everyone in Northern Ireland – this is precisely the sort of approach that the Irish Government has always advocated. I am particularly pleased that there will be continued joint outreach to business and other stakeholders – engaging with these voices must remain at the heart of our efforts.”



28 February 2021

Notes to Editors:

  • On 1 April, the UK will introduce new documentary import controls on certain categories of EU goods. These new UK import controls will impact on exporters of all products of animal origin, including all meat, dairy, fish and composite products incorporating products of animal origin, as well as regulated plants and plant products.
  • In addition to customs formalities, Irish exporters exporting to or through the UK, excluding Northern Ireland, will need to comply with a number of new UK requirements. An exporter's UK importer will have to pre-notify the UK authorities of the goods, the exporter will have to get the appropriate Health Certificate(s) from the Irish authorities and move the goods together with these Health Certificate(s).
  • These same requirements will also apply to EU goods transiting the UK landbridge.  Furthermore, and in line with the EU approach to imports from the UK, the UK will no longer provide for the import from the EU of fresh meat preparations such as mincemeat and sausages, unless frozen.
  • It’s crucial that exporters fully understand these new UK import requirements and ensure everyone in the supply chain, including the importer and logistics provider, is clear on their roles and responsibilities and can meet them.
  • A range of Government supports are available, including training and grants, to help your business deal with these changes.  However you will also need to engage with your UK importer and with the UK authorities.  Further information is set out at
  • Exporters should also note that a further range of UK changes arise on 1 July.  From that date , the UK will remove the facility for exporters to delay the lodgement of UK customs import declarations and to pay the applicable customs and VAT charges. The UK will also begin to carry out physical and identity controlson certain categories of plant and animal products which must enter through designated UK Border Control Posts.