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Exporting from East Suffolk

East Suffolk is home to many businesses supplying products locally, regionally and nationally. Many businesses, including small artisan producers, are seeing the potential growth opportunities in export, including to recognised new and emerging markets such as China, Brazil, India, South Africa and Russia but also potential opportunities in Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey.

East Suffolk is well served by a comprehensive road network with access to a local rail network direct to the Port of Felixstowe, London Gateway, Tilbury and Harwich. Freight handling airports including Gatwick, Stansted, Luton, East Midlands and Heathrow are easily reached and the presence of local freight forwarders and freight agents, who can help with export arrangements, make the area well placed to meet your needs.

We are keen to promote and support local businesses and we have a strong, vibrant Economic Development and Regeneration Team with extensive contacts who can help you with sourcing appropriate funding (where available), business advice, mentoring or networking opportunities and events.

Before you decide to export, you first need to consider the import conditions of the country to which you are exporting. Useful information and contacts are available from the Department for International Trade (DIT) and from trade organisations such as the Institute of Export and International Trade. The UK Government has strong links with many countries and the Commercial Attaché at the British Embassy or High Commission in that country may be able to provide additional information.

Currently exports to the EU do not usually require any form of certification as these are determined to be free trade. However, post Brexit this will change. The Department for International Trade (DIT) provides useful information to help you plan.

If you are panning or considering exporting it is essential that you obtain details of the import requirements for the country you hope to export to as well as your customers’ requirements and specifications. If your product is food or food related then you may need a health certificate as part of that export documentation.  Some countries have specific health certificates that must be issued and others do not.

If there is no specific certificate available but the country of destination and/or your customer require one then the local authority can issue certification to facilitate your export.

Products of animal origin

In order to import foods (usually meat, fish, dairy – known as Products of Animal Origin or POAO) into some countries, including USA, Turkey, Australia, Canada, Indonesia, India, Russia and China, you will need an Export Health Certificate which is issued by the competent food authority in the UK. A list of the foods which this arrangement applies to is published by the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA), an executive agency of The Department of the Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA)

If you are exporting a product of animal origin to any non-EU or EEA Country via the EU or EEA then a Health Certificate may be required. Please contact APHA for advice.

There are specific requirements for importing foods to China including pre-approval of the manufacturers, exporters and also pre-notified signatories for health certificates. This process can take some time and you need to contact APHA urgently if you wish to consider such exports. It is strongly recommended that you do not enter into a contract to export to China unless you have ensured that the procedures are in place to allow it.

Applying for an Export Health Certificate

Once an application for a Health Certificate is submitted to APHA, it is processed by them and then sent to the local Official Veterinary Surgeon (OVS) or the Local Authority Environmental Health Officer (EHO) (for fishery products only) where it is printed on specially watermarked paper. There is currently no fee charged by APHA for the processing of the request but the local OVS or the EHO may make a charge.

Please note - a certificate cannot be issued or signed by an Official Veterinarian (or EHO in the case of fishery products) if the consignment has already left the UK. 

If you wish to make an application for a Health Certificate please contact the APHA Processing Team.

Export Health Certificates or Food Safety Premises Endorsement for Export can be issued for countries not on the list but these are not usually required by the Government of the Importing Country. They are usually requested by the import agent or the importer as part of their traceability and food safety management systems. Applications for these certificates are made to the local authority (not APHA) and are printed and signed by the local authority Environmental Health Officers or specially authorised Food Safety Officers. There is a fee for this service. 

Export Health Certificates issued by the local authority

Applications for a Health Certificate to be issued by the local authority must be made at least five working days before the consignment leaves the manufacturing or distribution site in East Suffolk. If you do not give five days notice then you will receive a Food Safety Premises Endorsement for Export if your application is approved.

Export Certificates will be issued once official control checks are carried out on the consignment. These checks could be documentary (from the documents provided with the application), identity checks (where the consignment is examined) or physical (where the consignment is also subjected to additional checks including organoleptic tests, visual examination or sampling).

Please be aware that Export Health Certificates cannot be issued once the product has left the manufacturing or distribution site here in East Suffolk. However, we can issue a Food Safety Premises Endorsement for Export.

Food Safety Premises Endorsement for Export issued by the local authority

A Food Safety Premises Endorsement for Export can be issued at any time up until the arrival of the consignment in port. The certificate will confirm that, from the documents provided with the application, the product has been manufactured or processed at a premises which is subject to official controls including inspections.

Applying for an Export Health Certificate or Food Safety Premises Endorsement for Export

Before making an application to the local authority for a Health Certificate or Food Safety Premises Endorsement for Export, please ensure that the product and country is not on the APHA list. If you make an application to the local authority and it should be made to APHA, we will refuse the application and advise you to contact APHA. The application fee will still be charged and no refund will be given. There is a fee for this service.

When applying for a certificate from the local authority you must choose the destination country. If the consignment is being sent to a country outside of the EU or EEA via another EU country then please ensure that you select that option on your application. This is because different rules and certification requirements may apply. Many consignments travelling into the EU or EEA and then transferring to another aircraft, vessel or port will require an application to be made to APHA. Please contact APHA to confirm before submitting your request.