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You need a plant passport if you transport plants and plant products within the EU. These plants and plant products are listed in the register of products (in Dutch) requiring a plant passport, kept by the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA). A complete list of harmful organisms and (potential) carriers thereof, and which requirements apply, can be found in the annexes of the council directive (2000/02/EC) (pdf).
What is a plant passport
A plant passport guarantees that the product is free from harmful organisms included on the quarantine organisms list. The plant passport is issued by one of the following inspection services:
- Flower Bulb Inspection Service (BKD)
- Quality Control Bureau Fruit and Vegetables (KCB)
- Netherlands Inspection Service for Horticulture (Naktuinbouw)
- Dutch General Inspection Service for Agricultural Seed and Seed Potatoes (NAK, in Dutch)
New EU rules have been introduced to protect against the spread of harmful organisms in the EU as of 14 December 2019. The European phyto-directive has been replaced by 2 new European directives: the directive on plant health and annexes in the implementing and control regulations.
The main changes include:
- the obligatory use of plant passports is expanded to all plants intended for planting, including pot plants, bedding plants and tub plants for consumers;
- harmful organisms will be re-assessed;
- companies trading in plants must be registered in a national register;
- new procedures for imports will be introduced;
- a new format for the export certificate and a pre-export certificate are to be introduced;
- European phytosanitary reference laboratories will be established.
Exporting plants to the United Kingdom after Brexit
On 31 January 2020 the UK has left the European Union, which marks the start of the transition period until 31 December 2020. During this transition period, the UK is no longer a member of the EU, but will still be subject to EU regulations. If you import plants from or export plants to the United Kingdom, you will need to take extra measures (in Dutch) after this transition period. This is because then the UK will be considered a third country. For instance, to export plants you will need a phytosanitary export certificate instead of a plant passport. Also check the Brexit Portal Export and import pages (in Dutch), the Get ready for Brexit website and What does Brexit mean for my customs matters?. Make sure you take steps to prepare in time.