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Defra EU Exit Advice

On Monday the EU27 agreed that it will accept the UK’s request for a Brexit extension until 31 January 2020, meaning we will not be leaving the EU on 31 October 2019. As a result, Government is adapting plans and preparations, including pausing key elements of the ‘Get Ready for Brexit’ campaign, to reflect this new position.

The Government’s preference is to leave the EU with a deal. However, if the Withdrawal Agreement is not ratified by UK and EU Parliaments, then it remains the default position that the UK would leave without a deal on 31 January 2020. 

Defra has provided important information for everyone to be aware of what changes could affect the day-to-day running of business operations. Agri-Food businesses should ensure that they are prepared for EU Exit and visit GOV.UK for guidance.

Specific information for the food and drink sector is available, including advice for importers and exporters of animal products, and advice about food labelling, tariffs, data protection and more. It also includes advice for employers.

Here are some useful additional Defra and industry links:

Farming is Changing

AHDB Brexit

Business finance support - your business can get advice and financial help from government-backed schemes.

Association of Labour Providers Brexit Readiness events

The Association of Labour Providers (ALP) is hosting a number of free Brexit workshops across the country. These are open to all UK recruiters, HR professionals and employers, and will provide specific, practical guidance on the actions that businesses need to take in respect of their existing and future EU workforce. Sign up to the events here.

HMRC Getting ready for Brexit webinars

HMRC are running a number of webinars for UK businesses involved in the movement of goods between the EU and the UK.

Find out what you need to know to keep importing and exporting by signing up for a webinar. 

Defra e-alerts

A Defra e-alert system will help individuals and businesses get ready for Brexit, inform them about broader Defra news and also wider Government initiatives relevant to Defra stakeholders. You can subscribe to Defra e-alerts to receive the latest information about Brexit from Defra as well as broader Defra news. 

Visit and press the Defra e-alert icon under Follow Us.

Smarter Rules for Safer Foods - changes for importers of animals and products of animal origin:

While imports will continue as now during the transition period, the EU are making changes to the pre-notification system. The TRACES Classic will shortly be switched off, and you need to register and be ready to use TRACES NT - the new EU pre-notification system – to pre-notify of relevant goods when the switchover happens. More information is available here.

Export horses and ponies: special rules

Updated rules for exporting horses and other equines, including ponies and donkeys, and what you need to do in a no-deal Brexit. 

The way we trade with the EU and other countries

The UK benefits from trade agreements with other countries through membership of the EU. When we leave the EU some of these agreements won’t apply. Be ready and prepare your business with these steps:

  • Check GOV.UK to see if the countries you trade with are affected here
  • See if tariffs will apply to the goods you import into the UK here
  • See if your international customers will have to pay tariffs on the products you are exporting to them here

Immigration arrangements for EU citizens arriving after 31 October

French customs guidance

Food labelling

The food labelling awareness campaign has re-launched to remind businesses to make changes to their product labels to be ready for Brexit

  • The EU emblem must not be used on goods produced in the UK unless a company has been authorised by the EU to do so. 
  • If you are a domestic producer: It will be inaccurate to label UK food as origin ‘EU’. For the UK market additional information such as signage in shops and online information can help clarify to the consumer the origin of the food. 
  • If you are exporting to the EU: 
  • You must include an EU address for the food business operator (FBO) or EU importer on pre-packed food.
  • Health and ID mark prefixes used to label UK products of animal origin must carry either: the official two-digit ISO Code (‘GB’) or the full country name in capital letters (‘UNITED KINGDOM’).
  • It will be inaccurate to label UK food as origin ‘EU’. 
  • If you are importing from the EU: You must include a UK address for the food business operator (FBO) or UK importer on pre-packed food sold in the UK. The UK government is aiming to give businesses 21 months from exit day to make this change. 

Food and drink showcase Dropbox with shareable resources

Our Dropbox link has resources that you can access. Click here or copy this link into a compatible browser (Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Safari):

Temporary tariff regime update (published 8th October)

On Tuesday 8 October the Government published a statement re-confirming the temporary tariff rates that would apply to the agri-food and other sectors if the UK left the EU without a deal on 31 October.

There are three specific changes affecting HGVs, bioethanol and clothing. Further information about these tariff rates can be found here

News and resources 

Brexit readiness report (published 8th October)

The Government published the Brexit readiness report detailing the UK's preparedness ahead of Brexit on 31 October. This report was published to inform businesses and citizens on what they need to do to get ready for Brexit. Please find the report here.  

Information videos for traders in a no-deal Brexit (updated 9th October)

HMRC have published information videos for traders in a no-deal Brexit. Find further information about Transitional Simplified Procedures, Exporting using the Common Transit Convention and a webinar about the five main areas that UK businesses must be aware of to keep trading goods when the UK leaves the EU. Please find these videos here

Farming Help

Access free, impartial and confidential support from four charities via one ‘phone number: 03000 111 999

The Farming Help partnership at is a collaboration between the Addington Fund, the Farming Community Network, Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution and RSABI.

If you have further questions, please contact:

General trade queries

Brexit Import and Export Helpline: 0300 3301 331

Product and agreement specific queries 

Defra Helpline: 03459 33 55 77

The Department for International Trade also has an online enquiries service here.  


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