British exports to the EU will not be stopped in a no-deal Brexit as the UK’s ‘listed status’ application has now been approved.
Industry groups had been concerned that failure to secure listed status would put an effective embargo on UK food exports.
EU member states agreed to approve the application this week after the UK met the animal health and biosecurity assurances required for a third country, but the deal would not remove tariffs.
Food Minister David Rutley said: “This is good news for UK businesses. It demonstrates our very high standards of biosecurity and animal health which we will continue to maintain after we leave the EU.”
British Veterinary Association (BVA) president Simon Doherty attributed the breakthrough to the ‘incredibly hard work of Government vets across the UK’.
The National Sheep Association (NSA) has also welcomed the news, but pointed out a no-deal Brexit still carried risks because of the EU’s high tariffs.
NSA communications officer Eleanor Phipps said: “In order to utilise the now secured EU market for UK sheepmeat, exporters will have to face 40-50 per cent tariffs.
“We are still very clear a no-deal Brexit would not be desirable for our industry.”
Defra Secretary Michael Gove has separately confirmed the UK will continue to have access to the EU’s Trade Control and Export System (TRACES) in a no-deal Brexit.
The Local Government Association (LGA) had previously warned losing access to the system, which manages sanitary requirements for animals, semen and embryos, food, feed and plants, would leave the UK vulnerable to a new horsemeat-style scandal.
Speaking to a House of Lords committee last week, Mr Gove said: “It is particularly important for our neighbours in the Republic of Ireland we continue to have access to this system, and while it has not been absolutely confirmed, [the EU] have made an offer, which we have accepted, to be able to continue using the system.”