The NFU has written to Mark Spencer MP, the cabinet minister for farming, to raise concerns over the loss of parallel trade permits, post-Brexit.
NFU members are concerned that the loss of the permits will have a negative effect on the availability of plant protection products (PPPs) and want the minister to commit to retain them.
Parallel trade permits allow plant protection products to be imported into the UK for sale and use, because it has been authorised from the EU country it is being sourced from.
But then only if the UK regulator determined that the product was identical in composition to a reference product already authorised in the UK.
The imported PPPs help to fill supply gaps when there are shortages, but also offer a wider variety of sources and prices.
As the NFU points out, they effectively act as a price regulator. However, from
30 June, all sales of parallel products are due to end, while the final use date for these products has been set for
30 June, 2024.
The reason for the cessation of practice comes down to information sharing.
The UK regulator would check whether the import was identical to a reference product by obtaining authorisation data from either country’s regulator (EU) or from the company that produced the product.
Defra and the HSE determined that this data exchange was an EU function and therefore could not continue following Brexit.
The NFU states that farmers have already begun to experience a loss of PPPs on the market, both the choice and availability, with fears that price rises may follow.
This, the NFU states, could have a significant impact with an estimated 10% of all PPPs used in the UK coming from parallel permits.