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Chamber and committees

Rural Affairs, Islands and Natural Environment Committee

The Official Controls (Extension of Transitional Staging Period) Regulations 2021- DEFRA OFC/08

Letter from the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Islands to the Convener, 1 July 2021

Dear Finlay,

The Official Controls (Extension of Transitional Staging Period) Regulations 2021- DEFRA OFC/08
Currently Untitled SI – DEFRA OFC/010
EU Exit Legislation – Protocol with Scottish Parliament

I am writing in relation to the protocol on obtaining the approval of the Scottish Parliament to proposals by the Scottish Ministers to consent to the making of UK secondary legislation affecting devolved areas, arising from EU Exit.

That protocol, as agreed between the Scottish Government and the Scottish Parliament, accompanied the letter from the then Cabinet Secretary for Government Business and Constitutional Relations, Michael Russell MSP, to the Conveners of the Finance & Constitution and Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committees on 4 November 2020 and replaced the previous protocol that was put in place in 2018.

I attach a Type 1 notification which sets out the details of two SIs which the UK Government propose to make and the reasons why I am content that Scottish devolved matters are to be included in these SIs. Please note, we are yet to have sight of the final SIs and they are not available in the public domain at this stage. We will, in accordance with the protocol, advise you when the final SIs are laid and advise you as to whether they are in keeping with the terms of this notification.

The proposed amendments in these instruments relate to controls on imports to Great Britain of animals and animal products, plants and plant products, including food and other imports relevant to the agri-food chain – collectively known as sanitary and phyto-sanitary (“SPS”) checks. The draft instruments are intended to do two things:

* Extend the period in which importers from the rest of the world (outside the EU or EEA) may use EU form certificates and documents (rather than ones produced by the Secretary of State or the Scottish Ministers); and

* Extends beyond 31 July 2021 the end date of the transitional staging period for SPS products entering GB from EU or EEA member states.

The SIs also intend to briefly extend the ‘grace period’ during which current EU model Export Health Certificates (EHCs) accompanying consignments of animals and animal products imported from non-EU/EEA countries to Great Britain will continue to be accepted. This extension is to allow further time for RoW countries to incorporate the new GB EHCs into their export systems, if needed, where there are particular issues that have been raised.

If the relevant Regulations are not amended to extend the current end date for the transitional staging period, then there will be legislative requirements for official controls on the entry of EU/EEA SPS goods for which the necessary infrastructure is not yet in place.

At this stage, with Parliament entering recess, there is no practical scope to bring forward a separate Scottish statutory instrument to revise the end date of the transitional staging period. In addition, we intend to continue discussions with officials in the UK Government over the summer regarding the implementation of the Border Operating Model.

I am copying this letter to the Convener of the Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,
Mairi Gougeon

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Annexe A

Notification summary