WSDA: Warning on new rules for those exporting to EU

Those that export Ag products to the European Union need to be aware of new regulations taking effect next month. The Washington state Department of Agriculture is alerting businesses that export plant products that starting December 14th, they will be required to have a phytosanitary certificate for most plant products bound for Europe.

Before plants and other raw and minimally processed plant products can enter EU member states, as well as Switzerland and Montenegro, shipments must be inspected and receive a phytosanitary certificate. Without the necessary certification, shipments will be rejected without recourse.

EU said the new regulations are meant to prevent the introduction of plant insects and disease pests. The regulations reflect a change that was made in 2016, however, implementation was delayed until this year.

The new regulations affect virtually all plant products. While some plant products already require phytosanitary certification, many have not had any requirements to enter the EU market. Plant products that will now require phytosanitary certification include:

  • Fruit and vegetables (other than preserved by deep freezing)
  • Cut flowers
  • Cut trees or branches retaining foliage
  • Grain or grain products
  • Hop bales, pellets and cones
  • Seeds
  • Other unprocessed or minimally processed plant products, including wood

In addition to the new certifications, 36 high-risk plant groups will be completely prohibited from entering the EU until the U.S. Department of Agriculture establishes additional certification standards for these products. Of these, three will impact Washington growers: plants related to apples, cherries, and alder.

WSDA is the only entity in Washington authorized to provide phytosanitary certificates for exports. WSDA expects high demand for certification services as a result of the change in EU regulations. Exporters are encouraged to plan ahead to arrange for inspections and certification as soon as possible. Per EU requirements, shipments may be inspected up to 30 days before exportation.

Visit the WSDA’s website for information about obtaining certification, including associated fees for inspections.

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