Monday, April 8, 2019

Animal Transport Post No Deal Brexit More Complicated both for Freight Shipments and Pet Passports

DEFRA Issues Guidelines for Endangered Species and their Products but What about Rover?
Shipping News Feature
UK – EUROPE – Of the many contentious subjects which await the outcome of Brexit negotiations is the status of animals coming into and leaving the UK. Whilst thousands of UK citizens hold pet passports on behalf of their animals, the validity of these documents will be in question if the negotiations result in Britain being given 'third country' status. Now the British International Freight Association (BIFA) has further raised the matter of endangered animals, and indeed plants and products made from them, unless a settlement is agreed.

Firstly those pet passports. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has a web page devoted to possible changes. Note that, possible. As with all Brexit matters, at the time of writing everything depends on the final result. Obviously if the status quo is maintained the existing regulations will stay in place, if not we run into a web of expensive and awkward possibilities not least a 4 month delay after treatment starts before you can take an animal into Europe.

For shipments of animals as freight the restrictions will also tighten in a no-deal situation and with endangered species in mind BIFA recently organised an event to raise the matter which has resulted now in DEFRA issuing additional guidance on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). BIFA has published additional guidance which can be read here, and Robert Keen, Director General of the trade association that represents the UK’s freight forwarding sector, commented:

“One of the consequences of Brexit will be that freight forwarders and customs agents will become involved in regimes with which they may not have been previously. One such area is CITES, which is much wider ranging than people might have thought. BIFA Members expressed their concerns about how the movement of products covered by this regime, which are manufactured in the EU, using for example lizard, snake or crocodile skins, and currently freely imported into the UK, might be affected post-Brexit.

“BIFA sought greater guidance from DEFRA, which resulted in a well-attended regional meeting in Dover. Following that meeting, the government department issued further and broader guidance to be used in the event of the UK leaving the EU without a deal, which sets out how people who trade in, travel with, or handle the shipment of endangered animals, plants or products thereof would be affected.

“The guidance includes further information on the list of CITES-designated ports, including specific guidance for RoRo services. As a body that represents and lobbies on behalf of the UK freight forwarding sector, this is a perfect example of the work that BIFA does to assist its members, which are responsible for handling the shipment of a significant proportion of the UK’s visible import and export trade.”