UK/EU trade deal and animal health – NOAH comment

NOAH has previously welcomed the free trade agreement between the UK and EU. Confirmation that there will be zero tariffs and zero quotas is a key priority for NOAH as this will help ensure the continued availability and supply of animal health products for UK vets, farmers and pet owners. However, there will be some changes at the point of import/export involving additional bureaucracy for business.

Vitally important for the viability of the UK livestock sector is that trade in the majority of food and plant products can continue.

The UK retains regulatory autonomy. For our sector, a complete revision of the UK Veterinary Medicines Regulation 2013 will be required and this will form a major focus of NOAH’s work in 2021. It will provide opportunities to develop the regulatory climate business needs to encourage and foster innovation in the UK. This will involve a comprehensive review to ensure that the veterinary medicines regulations are fit for purpose for many years to come.

On areas such as the fight against AMR and sustainability, NOAH welcomes the collaborative approach set out in the trade agreement. A joined-up One Health approach is an integral part of NOAH’s Vision for Animal Health and Welfare.

A specialised Working Group on Medicinal Products, including veterinary medicinal products, has been established under the Partnership Council set out in the agreement. This will assist the Specialised Committee on Technical Barriers to Trade, reviewing and ensuring proper functioning of the Annex referring to medicinal products. A mutual agreement on Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) and on GMP inspections is included which is welcome.  Currently, important issues such as the mutual recognition of batch testing, certification and release; any collaboration with the EU regulatory network; mutual recognition of Maximum Residue Levels (MRLs) for veterinary medicines for food producing animals or UK collaboration with the EU on matters relating to pharmacovigilance are not included.

NOAH will continue to work with Government and others to help protect the nation’s animals, ensuring medicines are available, looking at the opportunities for UK agriculture in future trade agreements and ensuring the UK is an attractive market for new animal health product innovation.