Seed Potatoes: Imports

(asked on 16th July 2021) - View Source

Question to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs:

To ask Her Majesty's Government why seed potatoes cannot be imported from EU countries; and what assessment they have made of the impact of this restriction on the industry.

Answered by
Lord Benyon Portrait
Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
This question was answered on 30th July 2021

Imported seed potatoes are subject to both plant health and marketing requirements. GB plant health legislation permits seed potatoes to be imported only from the EU, Liechtenstein and Switzerland. There is no plant health reason that seed potatoes cannot be imported from the EU, provided individual consignments meet the required standards. However, GB marketing legislation requires seed potato production and certification systems of countries exporting to GB to be recognised as equivalent to those of GB. Following the end of the transition period marking the UK's departure from the EU, a 6 month temporary authorisation to market EU seed potatoes in GB was granted, to give time for industry to adapt to the new requirements. Following consultation with industry, the authorisation expired as planned on 30 June and applications to market imported seed potatoes from the EU will now be considered on a case-by-case basis. This approach recognises the fact that the UK is broadly self-sufficient in the total quantity of seed potato production, while retaining a mechanism to consider future marketing authorisations as necessary.

Defra, in collaboration with the devolved administrations, remained in communication with the potato industry prior to, throughout and following the temporary authorisation period in order to assess the impact of policy decisions. It was recognised that extension or expiration of the temporary authorisation would have different impacts on different sectors of the industry. Primary industry stakeholders such as the British Potato Trade Association (BPTA), the Fresh Potato Suppliers Association (FPSA), the Potato Processors' Association (PPA) and the National Farming Unions, who between them represent all sectors of the potato industry, all contributed to the evidence to support the final decision.

Reticulating Splines