BBP Newsflash 2022 #4

Phytosanitary controls and import from third countries –derogation for research facilities

In order to exclude any risk to human and animal nutrition and to ensure the health and quality of crops, the EU pays particular attention to plant protection. The import of plants from third countries is also controlled in this regard to prevent the introduction, spread and establishment of pests in the EU. FAVV-AFSCA has published a procedure for import, transport, storage, useand cultivation of plant pests, plants, and plant products, specifically for research purposes.

Document available in Dutch and French

Operators with a registration (erkenning / agrément) 17.1 for issuing plant passports

Please note that if you are not invited for an inspection on a yearly basis the operator needs to contact their FAVV-AFSCA local control unit to have an inspection organized. Otherwise, they could lose their registration (in which case they will be formally notified).

Frequently asked questions(FAQ) on plant passports

Available in Dutch and French


Animal-by-products (ABP) include dead animals or parts and other products derived from animals that are not destined for human consumption. In R&D ABP are often used. Examples of ABP include carcasses, tissues, primary cells derived from (experimental) animals, blood samples of animal origin, polyclonal antibodies, fetal calf serum. Also, ingredients used in microbiological growth media such as peptone, tryptone, and casein are ABP.

If you want to use ABP for research purposes you need to register at FPS Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment. Moreover, you need to keep a register of all received ABP’s including details on origin, nature, date of disposal and disposal method.

When shipping ABP, please do not forget to pre-notify in TRACES NT (this notification needs to be done by someone responsible for the shipment, and most often this is the courier, broker service, a declaring agent etc.) and make sure to verify whether the courier is allowed to ship ABP and has a point of entry in Belgium. In case the point of entry is abroad it is advised to have a FAVV/ AFSCA import permit in English. Don't ignore the additional requirements stated on it, what's more, the other EU country may impose additional requirements.

Elimination of the VAT de minimis threshold

As of 1 July 2021, the VAT de minimis threshold of 22 EUR is no longer applied and VAT is being charged on all goods entering the EU. The result is that any shipment entering the EU needs to pass Customs, where, based on the description of the good and the GN (Goods Nomenclature, also known as HS code) code, the assessment is made if additional controls and/or inspections are needed, and goods are sent to the inspecting authority, prior to any further clearance action. Several members have experienced clearance delays as a result, with even loss of perishable biomaterials, and BBP took contact with the Federal Public Service Finance, Customs and Excise to find solutions.

The advice was given to:

  • Add relevant information on the precise nature of the shipment to invoices, waybills and other accompanying documents to speed up the clearance process
  • Discuss with the involved courier service or broker to minimize delays as a result of the additional controls.

If you want to consult which additional controls and/or inspections are needed for a specific GN code, you can check this upfront in the TARBEL Tariff Browser: TARBEL -Tariff Consultation (

Give in the (first part of) GN code and click on ‘Browse Nomenclature tree’. In there, select the commodity you’re interested in, and on the next page, you’ll be able to consult the non-tariff and tariff measures, as well as taxes applicable on the commodity. The details of the conditions can be seen when clicking on the letter ‘C’.


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