Brexit: Agri-Food products

18 September 2018 - Alexander Colaert - Stefaan Kindt

Brexit: Agri-Food products

Why does Brexit matter for you?

The United Kingdom submitted on 29 March 2017 the notification of its intention to withdraw from the Union pursuant to Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union. This means that, unless a ratified withdrawal agreement establishes another date, all Union primary and secondary law will cease to apply to the United Kingdom from 30 March 2019, 00:00h (CET) ('the withdrawal date'). The United Kingdom will then become a 'third country'.

If no withdrawal agreement is in place on 30 March 2019 the EU Treaties will cease to apply to the UK. It is understood that, should there be "no deal", there will be no transition period and EU law (in particular, the Single Market) will cease to apply to the UK/EU relationship from that date.

Preparing for the withdrawal is not just a matter for EU and national authorities, but also for private parties. As the British government publishes a series of technical notices outlining how businesses should prepare in the event of a no-deal it is becoming more and more clear that a “no deal” scenario will have many unwanted and adverse effects on companies in the UK.

In case of a hard Brexit, what will change?

Subject to any transitional arrangement that may be contained in a possible withdrawal agreement, as of the withdrawal date, EU food law no longer applies to the United Kingdom.

According to EU food law, in some instances the food business operators, authorisation holders, or their representatives have to be established in the EU. For example, According to Article 4(6) of Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 on genetically modified food and feed, the applicant for an EU authorisation or his representative shall be established in the EU. As of the withdrawal date, establishment in the United Kingdom no longer complies with this requirement. According to EU food law, in some instances EU authorisations require the submission of an authorisation dossier through the competent authority of an EU Member State. Examples include the following:

  • Article 9(1)(a) of Regulation (EC) No 1935/2004 on food contact materials requires applications for authorisations of substances to be made via a competent authority of a EU Member State.
  • Article 5 of Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 on genetically modified food and feed requires applications for authorisation to be sent to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) through the competent authority of a Member State. As of the withdrawal date, applications through the competent authority of the United Kingdom are no longer possible.

How can we help you?

Our specialists are ready to guide your company through the swamp of regulatory issues in a post-Brexit landscape.

We provide advice on incorporating a company in Belgium in case you need to relocate or in case you need a EU – based company to continue your business.

Belgian government is working on creating an entrepreneur-friendly environment: corporate tax rate has been decreased to 29% and will further be lowered to 25% in 2020. SMEs will benefit a decrease in the rate to 20% (on the first tranche of 100.000 Euro), corporate law will be reformed by 2019 and provides more flexible corporate entities and less strenuous formalities.

Belgium is ideally positioned at the heart of Europe to continue your activities on the mainland.


Stefaan Kindt

Managing Director Alaska Kortrijk-Ieper Managing Director Alaska ESV
+32 (0)56 22 26 02
+32 (0)475 74 85 08

Alexander Colaert

Senior Legal Advisor
0032 56 222 602

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