As the UK departed from the EU single market and customs union at the start of 2021, Whitehall has deregulated commodities like citrus fruit and leaf imports. The UK is a major market for South Africa’s citrus sector, reportedly taking 9.5% of the country’s citrus exports in 2019. Only the Netherlands took a larger proportion (17%).
“Leaving the EU single market and customs union means we can tailor regulation and import controls specifically to the needs of Great Britain rather than the EU,” a spokesperson for the UK High Commission in South Africa told Engineering News. “However, imports of citrus fruit and leaves into Northern Ireland will currently continue to be subject to the EU’s plant health import requirements.”
What this means is that South African (and other) producers can now export citrus fruits and leaves to Great Britain without needing a phytosanitary certificate or having to give advanced notice of their intention. This both reduces bureaucracy and allows producers to respond more rapidly to changes in British market demand.
However, this does not equate simplistically with a regime of no restrictions. The UK will continue to monitor issues such as risk and changes in the needs of the nation.
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