In the recent years economic, environmental and consumer pressures have a very strong influence in the development of these sectors of the economy. The key consumer drivers of agricultural and horticultural sectors have been identified as the rising prices and the growing demand for the ‘organic’ products.
In spite of consumer resistances, Genetic-Modification technologies are also taking active part in the development of new varieties of products. However the sector remains one of the most regulated in the UK and also internationally.
There have been numerous import restrictions including licenses and duties to control the movement of agricultural and horticultural products into the UK.
This paper brings out a short report on the prevailing regulations on the imports, reasons for such regulatory measures and the possible ways of overcoming such restrictions to boost up the import of agricultural and horticultural commodities.
2.0 Restrictions on the Import of Agricultural and Horticultural Products into UK:
According to the web page of Business Link, there are no restrictions for importing agricultural and horticultural products from any other member countries of the European Union, however subject to the payment of applicable VAT and Excise duties.
For importing these products from other countries it is necessary to comply with the import licensing requirements and common customs tariff of the EU.
2.1 Import Licenses:
Import restrictions on the Agricultural and Horticultural products are exercised through the import licenses. The import licenses may be product-specific or trade-specific. Detailed and exhaustive provisions have been made for the standards to be maintained in respect of different products.
Similar provisions have been made for imports to be supported by applicable certificates, licenses and other documentary requirements. In addition to the requirements of certificates and other documents, quantitative restrictions and anti dumping duties have been imposed in respect of the import of certain commodities.
Department of Trade and Industry is the regulatory authority governing the imports.
The plants which carry a high risk of serious pests or diseases require a ‘plant passport’ to move the products within the EU. Another requirement is the production of a phytosanitary certificate for the import of plant products from outside the EU.
The imports of Agricultural products form nations other than the members of the EU countries are governed by the Common Agricultural Policy. The products covered under the policy require a ‘CAP import license; and other items need to be covered by a ‘tariff rate quota’ depending on the origin of the respective goods.
In order to ensure that the wood used for packaging of the agricultural products are treated to the international standards and also to prevent the pest infestation and diseases the shipments of the products packaged in wood containers also need a phytosanitary certificate.
3.0 Reasons for Restriction on Imports:
Severe restriction have been imposed on the import of agricultural and horticultural products in to UK mainly with a view to ensuring the health and safety of the people of the country as these products are susceptible to contaminations and may cause the passing of multifarious diseases.
Besides the heath and safety there are other reasons also which attribute to these stringent measures of import restrictions and control. They are:
To maintain the quality of the products entering the country so that they meet with the domestic business standards prescribed for the agricultural and other products.
To have a very tight control on the quantity of the agricultural and horticultural products entering the country. These are in addition to the qualitative restrictions. This is mainly to protect the domestic agricultural sector as it contributes heavily to the economy of the country
To ensure that the ultimate consumers get the commodities with adequate quality standards and sub standard produce is not dumped into the country
To maintain the rules and regulations in conformity with those of the other countries of the world with whom UK has bilateral trade agreements or other understandings
To impose an effective control on the packaging of the goods so that the goods are delivered to the ultimate consumers in a perfect shape and quality in such a way that the consumer gets the maximum for what he is paying