This notice will apply to the importation of live honey bees and honey bee products. It has been issued by Defra.

The current regime for importing live animals and animal products into the UK is regulated by EU legislation.

For imports to the UK from outside the EU (third country trade)

Goods are notified to the UK using the EU’s Trade Control and Expert System (TRACES). Health certificates are required and veterinary checks are carried out on entry to the UK at a Border Inspection Post (BIP), an inspection post approved for carrying out veterinary checks on animals and animal products entering the EU.

Goods originating in countries outside the EU, destined for the UK, which enter the EU to transit onwards to the UK, are normally checked at the first point of entry into the EU. Once they have entered the EU they are subject to normal rules for imports to the UK from within the EU.

For imports to the UK from within the EU

Different rules apply to trade between countries within the EU. Exporting live animals requires exporters to provide either an EHC or, more generally, an EU-specific version of an EHC, known as an Intra Trade Animal Health Certificate (ITAHC). For all other animal products, no certification is required and no specific processes need to be followed. Where there are currently no border checks required for live animals and animal products from the EU, risk-based checks are made at the final destination.

After March 2019 if there’s no deal

In the unlikely event the UK leaves the EU in March 2019 with no deal in place, the EU will not allow the UK to access the EU import notification system, TRACES.

To ensure those involved in importing live animals and animal products could continue to do so, a new import notification system is being developed to take the place of TRACES. The new system will be available for early testing in January 2019 and, in the unlikely event of a ‘no deal’ scenario, would be fully operational for all users from the day the UK leaves the EU.

TRACES users

Anyone currently using the TRACES system would need to start using the new import notification system, together with any updated processes that system may require, ahead of March 2019.

In the unlikely event of a ‘no deal’ scenario, guidance and training material would be available several months in advance of March 2019, clearly setting out any differences from the existing system, although these will be minimal as it has been developed to replicate TRACES functionality.

Import notifications and import controls

There would be no change on the day the UK leaves the EU to current import controls or requirements for notifications of imports of live animals and animal products for imports direct from the EU.

These imports do not need to be notified on TRACES at the moment and, in order to ensure a smooth transition, the government would not introduce new requirements at the point the UK leaves the EU.

There will be no change to current import controls and requirements for notifications of live animals and animal products imported directly from third countries. The only difference is that importers would need to use the new import notification system, instead of TRACES.

Changes would apply to control requirements for imports of third country animal products which move through the EU before arrival in the UK from March 2019.

Importers would need to notify UK authorities using the new import notification system and would be directed to an existing UK BIP where the relevant checks would take place. This requirement would ensure the current level of biosecurity is maintained.

The requirement for live animal imports from a third country, which move through the EU before arrival in the UK, to enter via a UK BIP is being reviewed as all live animals would have been subject to checks at the point of entry to the EU. For live animal imports the importer will be required to notify the UK authorities using the new import notification system.

Border Inspection Posts

There would be an increase in the number of consignments requiring import control checks at a BIP as a result of the need to carry out these checks on transit items that are currently carried out elsewhere in the EU. Those carrying out the checks at the BIP would receive notifications on the new import notification system to support checks and controls. These users will be fully trained to minimise the impact at the border and reduce the chance of delays.

More information can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/importing-animals-and-animal-products