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EU Flowering Bulb Imports

Volume 692: debated on Thursday 22 April 2021

What steps he is taking to improve the domestic inspection process for flowering bulbs imported from the EU. (914628)

It is important that we maintain our biosecurity. Physical inspections of high-priority plants from the EU, including flowering bulbs, have taken place at their destination since 1 January. This is a temporary arrangement designed to prevent delays at the border, but it is working effectively and has been well received by the trade.

Sadly, the bulb organisation that I spoke to told me that a couple of people have left the trade because it is not worth their while. I know that a lot of progress has been made since January on facilitating the trade between the UK and the EU, but there is still a lot of friction in the import and export of flowering bulbs. For instance, the export of bulbs in the green, which have soil on them, is now prohibited except in very specific circumstances, and sometimes 1,000 boxes might need to be inspected, which is not easy. What plans does my hon. Friend have to discuss with her EU counterparts the prospect of simplifying the trade in flowering bulbs with the EU?

It is true that the plant-health requirements for dormant bulbs are different from those for bulbs in growth. My officials and I are willing to discuss directly with my hon. Friend’s constituents the specific issues that she raises. I reassure her that we continue to have discussions with our counterparts in EU about export processes.