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Export of Fertilisers


There is no legal requirement in the UK for an export certificate to accompany a consignment of fertilisers for export. It is possible to sell a fertiliser to all Member States of the European Union without having to comply with the domestic requirements and legislation of those countries. However, in order to do so, the fertiliser must be one of those which can bear the designation "EC fertiliser". Some fertilisers might display the designation "EEC fertiliser". EC and EEC designated fertilisers are listed in EU Fertiliser Regulation (EC) 2003/2003. Exporters of fertilisers to non-EU countries should contact the authorities in the destination country to establish their import requirements.

Export of EC Designated Fertilisers

Annex 1 of EC Fertiliser Regulation 2003/2003 (currently under revision) defines the composition and definition of all fertilisers, which have been approved as EC Designated fertilisers. All EC designated fertilisers can be traded freely throughout the EU, under the conditions set out in the Regulation. An import certificate from the recipient Member State is not required. There is no duty payable and there are no customs checks. Companies seeking to export to the EU should identify which fertiliser type their product fits into under Annex 1 of the Regulation, seeking legal and/or independent professional advice, if required. (See Flow Chart at Appendix 4)

Registering an EU Fertiliser

Companies seeking to export a product to the EU that is not currently designated an EC Fertiliser can apply through any EU national authority, to have it registered as a new fertiliser type and added to Annex 1 of the Regulation. Before doing this, they should familiarise themselves with the “Guide to the compilation of a technical file on application to designate a fertiliser as ‘EC fertiliser” (See Appendix 5). If the company wishes to use Defra as the national authority, they must be able to confirm that the product will be produced in the UK, and that the UK be the main beneficiary of the product. If they are unable to do this, Defra is unlikely to support their application. Exporters should contact Defra’s Fertilisers Mailbox at providing a draft of the technical file. Defra will then work with them through the application process. 

Export of GB Fertilisers to the EU (Excluding EC Designated Fertilisers)

Mutual Recognition of National Fertilisers 

It may be possible to sell a GB product which meets the GB Fertiliser Regulations 1991, but has not been designated an EC Fertiliser, to other Member States, due to the Mutual Recognition Regulation (MRR). In intra-EU trade in goods, Mutual Recognition is the principle that a product lawfully marketed in one Member State and not subject to Union harmonisation should be allowed to be marketed in any other Member State, even when the product does not fully comply with the technical rules of the destination State. (See Flowchart at Appendix 6)

Some Member States may have restricted the marketing of some products in their territory through formal procedures set out in the MRR. The free ‘SOLVIT’ online service is available to businesses to help resolve any issue raised by a public authority which they believe prevents or delays their plans to freely provide products, and/or generally carry out business anywhere within the EU.

Export of Fertilisers to Non-EU Countries

For non EU (sometimes referred to as ‘third’) countries, it is for the importing country to specify what they require in terms of certification and some non EU countries require confirmation that the material is deemed acceptable to the authorities in the country of origin. (See Appendix 7). Defra can assist the process by issuing an export certificate (sometimes called a certificate of free sale). Potential exporters should complete an EXCA1 application form (Appendix 8) and send it electronically to Defra at together with the draft certificates that they intend to use. (See Template at Appendix 9).

Once Defra have acknowledge receipt of the application, the company should send a hard copy of a letter of indemnity, on company headed paper which has been signed and dated by a person in authority within the company. This letter must state: “(full name), (position), of (company), undertakes on behalf of the said (name of company) that the said (name of company) will indemnify the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs against any claims arising out of the giving of the said certificate, howsoever caused.” Defra will check the draft certificate(s), register, stamp and issue an export certificate

Defra can also provide a letter official confirmation that there is no registration or licensing process in the UK. Contact

Additional Help and Information on Importing and Exporting Fertilisers

Import/Export Tariffs

All UK businesses must declare any imports/exports to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) to ensure that any import VAT, duty, excise or levies due on them under UK and European law are collected. Commodity codes and other measures applying to imports and exports can be accessed on the online UK Trade Tariff tool. Exporters may also have to pay custom duties and taxes in the destination country.

UKTI works with UK based businesses to ensure their success in international markets through exports. Companies that are new to exporting may contact a UK Trade & Investment Adviser for help with starting to export. An overview of UK Trade & Investment's (UKTI) export services for UK companies can be found at 

UK Export Finance provides small and medium-sized businesses with trade finance and insurance for exporting.

Companies may also wish to read government schemes to help exporters.