The General Directorate of Agriculture has called on exporters wishing to export agricultural products to the UK to be mindful of the new procedures and requirements in place, after the transition period following Britain’s departure from the EU expired on December 31.
Following the result of a referendum held in 2016, the UK’s divorce from the EU on January 31, 2020 – commonly known as Brexit – gave Britain the freedom to set an independent trade policy.
The UK government has since committed to increase access to UK markets for developing countries, as Cambodian agricultural products gain more support and market share.
The directorate issued a letter on May 28 detailing a number of the changes, citing a notice from the UK embassy in Phnom Penh entitled “Update on UK departure from European Union [EU]: changes to imports of plants and plant products from 1 January 2021”.
According to the letter, plants and plant products – including seeds for cultivation – from non-EU countries to England, Wales and Scotland require phytosanitary certification for each consignment from the exporting country. Northern Ireland will use the same procedures as before January 1.
Import of plants, fruits, vegetables, cut flowers, soil and other restricted goods into the UK will require prior notice, and importers based in Britain must register through the Procedure for Electronic Application for Certificates from the Horticultural Marketing Inspectorate (PEACH) system prior to importing plants or plant products, it said.
“After registering with Government Gateway and PEACH, importers can use PEACH to notify and track the status of their consignment. However, British importers can continue to use the existing system until instructed to register for the new service,” the letter continued.
Hun Lak, Cambodia Rice Federation chairman and owner of several agricultural farms, told The Post on May 31 that as far as he knew, Cambodia had yet to ship any fresh agricultural product to the UK at a large scale – unlike other countries such as Thailand, Vietnam, China, Japan and South Korea – exporting just small amounts of dried processed products.
With the UK offering Cambodia duty-free access and no export quotas for many items, he said he was hopeful that Cambodia would aspire to produce goods in high demand on the British market that meet quality and phytosanitary standards, creating more opportunities to reach and convert new UK buyers.
“Although my company does not have agricultural products for export to the UK, I know that it is a big market. Cambodia must strive to produce quality products at reasonable prices for export to the UK,” Lak said.
Trade between Cambodia and the UK totalled $877.54 million last year, down by 17 per cent year-on-year from $1.05728 billion, according to the Cambodian Ministry of Commerce.
Cambodia exported $826.16 million worth of merchandise, down by 15.48 per cent year-on-year and imported $51.38 million, down by 35.6 per cent.