16 December 2020, UK: New support for traders and businesses goes live today with the launch of the Movement Assistance Scheme (MAS), to help them meet new requirements for moving animals, plants and associated products from Great Britain to Northern Ireland after the transition period ends.
This includes advice to businesses through a dedicated helpline and means traders will not need to pay certification costs, which will be reimbursed by government to those certifying the products. Together, these measures will make it easier for traders to continue to move agri-food goods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.
Farming, Fisheries and Food Minister Victoria Prentis said:
“As we implement the Northern Ireland Protocol, these arrangements ensure there is unfettered access for traders and minimises the impact of these new requirements.
“The Movement Assistance Scheme will help make it easier to move animals, plants and agri-food goods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland and will give practical help and support to businesses.”
This follows the publication of the Command Paper setting out details of an agreement in principle on the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol, including movement of agri-food goods.
From 1 January 2021, traders will need to meet new sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) requirements following the end of the transition period given that the island of Ireland is treated as a single epidemiological unit. These SPS requirements include Export Health Certificates and Phytosanitary certificates for specific agri-food goods.
The scheme removes the need for traders to pay certification costs and will reimburse the costs incurred by those certifying the products up to a set amount. We will monitor the performance of the scheme, and review it after three months to determine how to best provide ongoing support to traders.
In addition to the scheme launched today, the UK Government has agreed that authorised traders, such as supermarkets and their trusted suppliers, will benefit from a grace period from certification requirements for products of animal origin, composite products, food and feed of non-animal origin and plants and plant products, through to 1 April 2021.
Guidance on the new scheme and moving agri-food goods to and from Northern Ireland is available.