Now that the UK has left the EU single market and customs union, the government has deregulated commodities like citrus fruit and leaf imports. The UK is a major export market for South Africa’s citrus sector, reportedly taking 9.5% of the country’s citrus exports in 2019. Only the Netherlands imported a larger proportion (17%).
“Leaving the EU single market and customs union means we can tailor regulation and import controls specifically to the needs of Great Britain rather than the EU,” a spokesperson for the UK High Commission in South Africa said. “However, imports of citrus fruit and leaves into Northern Ireland will currently continue to be subject to the EU’s plant health import requirements.”
This means that South African (and other) producers can now export citrus fruits and leaves to Great Britain without needing a phytosanitary certificate or having to give advanced notice of their intention. This reduces bureaucracy and allows producers to respond more rapidly to changes in British market demand.