TRADE AND MARKET I NG Brexit also worries the British potato trade mainly dependent on the EU for its exports of ware potatoes. These exports represent a fraction of British production. Indirectly, the UK is of great importance for the Dutch ware potato sector. The UK is the largest export destination for deep-frozen French fries, with a market for this product of about 1.1. million tons (2015). Of these, less than 500,000 tons come from local production, and 600,000 tons from imports. Two thirds of the imports (400,000 tons) come from the Netherlands and one third from Belgium. British imports of deep-frozen French fries increased by more than 8 percent in the second half of 2017. Dutch exports of frozen potato products also benefited from this growth. This is based on an analysis of the British product organisation, the Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board (AHDB). The organisation sees the imports as a threat. The Board therefore believes that, by imposing import duties on Dutch and Belgian deep-frozen chips, the British processing industry can continue to compete with the imports. Entry on the UK Varieties List is necessary In addition to the consequences for the physical trade, Brexit has consequences for plantbreeders’ rights and for the varieties lists for potatoes. The current EU plantbreeders’ rights will no longer be valid in the UK from 29 March 2019. The tide can still be turned if the UK continues to recognise the EU plantbreeders’ rights. This was considered unlikely at the Brexit meeting of Plantum, the Board for Plant Varieties, and NAKtuinbouw that was held before the summer. The British don’t want to remain linked to the European institutions. The second option is that breeders can request a transfer to a UK title for each variety. This too is unlikely due to the large amount of work that the conversion will involve. The third option is the one considered most likely. This means that the UK will automatically transfer all rights into UK titles. This is for an interim period of three years, after which breeders must submit an active request. Despite the positive attitude that expects option If British seed potatoes were to fall under the EU import ban, the UK would lose 22 percent of its export volume of seed potatoes (2017). three to be adopted, there is a chance that this will not happen. The focus in the negotiations on Brexit is probably not at this level. In that case Brexit will mean that breeders and trading companies will need to have varieties specifically on the UK Varieties List. The British government is starting a procedure for transferring varieties from the EU list to the UK list. This is done without registration fees and without any obligation to take over an official DUS or CGO description, as Plantum reported during the joint Brexit meeting. The transfer is a positive development as seed potato merchants are not allowed to sell or produce their varieties in the UK without specific registration. The fact that Dutch potato varieties are no longer available will mean that the range of varieties for British potato growers and the British processing industry will be reduced. Potato trading houses and breeders that only have their varieties on the UK Varieties List must ensure that their varieties are also on the national list of one of the EU Member States. By doing this, the varieties will keep their places on the EU Varieties List. Entry in the EU Varieties List is a prerequisite for marketing a variety in the EU. Registration on the Dutch Varieties List is possible, for example, via the Board for Plant Varieties. Fear of more paperwork Like Dutch agri-entrepreneurs, British agri-entrepreneurs see Brexit as a source of uncertainty. UK companies are looking at opportunities to move to the EU and the British planting stock sector fears the thousands of phyto certificates that will suddenly be needed. The British Agri-Brexit Coalition points to a complex chain of planting stock, with a lot of traffic to and from the EU. Growers and suppliers of agricultural products give priority to meeting the requirements that apply within the EU. They don’t want to lose their markets. The Agri-Brexit Coalition is critical of the British government, which remains unclear about its Brexit plans. The business community in the UK wants clarity and they want trade to contine. ● Jan Gottschall Secretary of the Dutch Potato Organisation (NAO) Potato World 2018 • number 4 21 Pagina 20

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