Preparing for Brexit and a possible 'no deal'

The United Kingdom (UK) is scheduled to leave the European Union (EU) on 29 March 2019. If you export to the UK, there is information available to help you prepare for Brexit, including for a possible 'no deal' situation.  


Bilateral agreements signed

On 21 January 2019, New Zealand and the United Kingdom signed 2 bilateral agreements:

  • Sanitary Measures Applicable to Trade in Live Animals and Animal Products (the Veterinary Agreement)
  • Mutual Recognition in Relation to Conformity Assessment (the Mutual Recognition Agreement),

Signing of the agreements is significant as it ensures existing trade arrangements between New Zealand and the United Kingdom (UK) will continue after the UK exits from the EU. The agreements are intended to come into effect either as soon as the UK leaves the EU (in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit) or at the conclusion of any transition period that might be agreed between the UK and the EU.

The agreements align with those currently in use between New Zealand and the European Union (EU). They recognise the high quality of New Zealand’s food production standards and will provide certainty for New Zealand companies that export animal products to the UK.

The Mutual Recognition Agreement allows products to be tested, inspected and certified in New Zealand before being exported to UK and vice-versa.

For New Zealand veterinary medicine manufacturers, signing of the agreements means Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) certificates that accompany their exports to the UK will continue to be recognised and accepted by UK authorities. No extra steps, such as additional GMP inspections, will be required.

Download a statement with more details on these agreements – Beehive website

Government advice available on Brexit

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT), and the New Zealand Customs Service (Customs) are monitoring the progress of Brexit. We're working to minimise any disruption to New Zealand's primary sector exporters.

Other websites with Government updates on Brexit and information on how it could affect New Zealand are:

Preparing for a possible 'no-deal' EU exit

The UK and EU have a provisional agreement for the terms of the UK's exit from the EU. If the UK exits the EU without an agreement in place, this could result in a 'no-deal' exit.

Your business may wish to prepare for this scenario. Guidance on importing to and exporting from the UK and the EU under a 'no deal' scenario is available on the MFAT and NZTE websites.

Export conditions and requirements

Officials have made substantial progress on maintaining regulatory arrangements for our trade with the UK for exports of:

  • animal products
  • seafood
  • organics.

UK authorities confirmed with all trading partners in late December 2018, their intention to continue to accept existing EU model health certificates and establishment listings relating to exports of animals and animal products for at least 6 months after 29 March 2019 in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit scenario.

Additionally, work is well advanced to provide for the longer-term continuation of the arrangements governing the export of animals and animal products between New Zealand and the UK in preparation for when they leave the EU. It's expected these arrangements will be concluded before Brexit day on 29 March 2019.

If we end up with a ‘no deal’ Brexit, MPI intends to publish the UK Overseas Market Access Requirements (OMAR) on our OMAR web page before 29 March 2019.

Tariff rate quotas

New Zealand's main dairy and meat exports in the EU market are under tariff rate quotas.

Access to country tariff quotas in the EU (including the UK) is managed by the New Zealand Meat Board (for high-quality beef and sheep meat) and MPI (for butter, cheddar cheese, and cheese for processing). 

If you have questions about tariff quotas for:

Brexit may affect pet exports

Export requirements for cats and dogs to enter the United Kingdom (UK) or the European Union (EU) directly from New Zealand are not expected to change following Brexit.

However, if there is a 'no deal Brexit' scenario, exporters moving cats and dogs between the UK and any country in the EU after 29 March 2019, should be aware of the possibility that there may be additional steps and longer preparation times required.

We recommend you visit the UK Government's website for the latest news.

Find out more

The UK Government has information to help you prepare for a possible 'no deal' Brexit.

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