HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has written to 145,000 VAT-registered businesses trading with the EU about simplified importing procedures and also updated them on the actions that they need to take to prepare.
The government has announced plans to phase in for EU imports the pre-arrival forms known as Entry Summary Declarations, if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
Officials on Monday held a series of meetings with organisations who represent the haulage industry and handle a significant portion of the UK’s cross border trade, to confirm that from 29 March, the status quo will be temporarily maintained as they will not need to submit Entry Summary Declarations on imports for a period of six months.
Currently Entry Summary Declarations are not required when importing goods from the EU. They will continue to apply for trade from the rest of the world.
The measure is designed to give business more time to prepare for changes to EU-UK trade arrangements in the event that the UK leaves without a deal. This builds on the plans that Transitional Simplified Procedures (TSP) can be used for at least 15 months for customs declarations.
Financial Secretary to the Treasury Mel Stride MP said:
We’ve listened to businesses and are responding to their concerns.
We have been adamant that in the event of no deal, trade must continue at our borders, and we will continue to make our borders secure.
Maintaining continuity with the current system for the first six months and phasing Entry Summary Declarations in will ensure we deliver on that promise.
The new rules only apply to goods coming from the EU, and will maintain the status quo for carriers. Importers will still be required to submit import declarations for customs purposes – which are not the same as Entry Summary Declarations. HMRC announced ways of making these import declarations easier, through Transitional Simplified Procedures on 4 February 2019.
After the six-month transitional period, carriers will be legally responsible for ensuring Entry Summary Declarations are submitted pre-arrival to HMRC at the time specified by mode of transport.
The measure will not change the UK’s commitment to ensuring our borders remain secure in the event of a no deal and Border Force will continue to carry out intelligence-led checks. A Readiness Task Force in preparation for EU Exit is being recruited and Border Force is on track to increase staff headcount by 900 at the end of March 2019.
The UK’s approach to dangerous goods coming into the UK is not affected.
Pauline Bastidon, FTA’s Head of Global & European Policy, said:
“Today’s HMRC announcement on the temporary waiver of security and safety declarations for post-Brexit logistics movements is a great response to FTA’s campaigning over the past two years, and a positive step towards minimising disruptions on trade between the UK and EU and integrated supply chains after Brexit. However, it is imperative that the UK government maintains pressure on the EU to ensure that a similar waiver is adopted by the EU. To ensure that Britain can keep trading efficiently, it is vital that the European Commission and UK agree a longer term, more sustainable arrangement to remain in the same security zone, which would make safety and security declarations for UK-EU trade irrelevant. Above all, it is vital that the UK’s supply chain remains as frictionless as possible – British business needs to be confident that goods and materials will continue to transit the nation’s borders as swiftly and efficiently as possible.
Sources: www.gov.uk / fta.co.uk
As few as 1,224 UK hauliers could be eligible to transport goods to the EU if the country departs the union without a deal in place.
Logistics industry representatives say a UK-EU agreement on road transport must be prioritised over a trade deal.
Yesterday the UK government issued a series of technical notices outlining the situation in the event of a no-deal Brexit, which admitted that UK driving licences would no longer be valid on continental Europe’s road without an accompanying international driving permit (IDP).
The government said it was “seeking to negotiate a comprehensive agreement with the EU to cover the continued recognition and exchange of UK licences after exit”.
It added that if this approach failed it would pursue individual agreements with EU countries. However, it confirmed that EU licence holders would not be required to hold an IDP when operating in the UK.
Lorry drivers could be forced to obtain permits for the countries they visit, similar to those already used to drive in some states in the United States or Japan.
Despite reports that French Authorities may stop cross channel rail services as well as refuse UK aircraft permission to transit its air space, the Freight Transport Association said priority must be given to ensuring the haulage sector was able to continue operating.
Pauline Bastidon, head of European policy, said: “The UK’s logistics sector is the beating heart of the economy, and one on which most businesses rely for goods, services, raw materials and ingredients. Without secure, safe and timely logistics movements between the UK and the EU, on which many schools, hospitals, shops and other businesses have come to rely, they will find it difficult to source goods in the short to medium term, while new trading arrangements are confirmed.
“That would create the very real risk of shortages and empty shelves.
“The priority now must be to secure a new UK-EU road transport agreement; an even more urgent priority than a trade deal. Without permits there will be no trucks, and without them, no trade.”
She welcomed the proposal for a new UK-EU agreement on licences, but explained that even with this in place, the administrative burden on the industry would be enormous.
“These would still impose unwelcome burdens and cost on British hauliers seeking to acquire the necessary permits and there is no reassurance in the ‘No Deal’ papers that there would be sufficient to cover all transport moving to and fro across the UK’s borders.
“There is still a large amount to do to keep Britain trading efficiently with its biggest customer, the EU, and to suggest that these are processes which can be implemented swiftly would be to ignore the complexity of a huge administrative task now being placed on the UK’s freight industry.”
Far worse, however, would be a no-deal situation in which every UK haulier needed an IDP to operate in Europe, she said, given the lack of capacity on the part of UK authorities to issue the permits.
“The fact that the UK driving licence would only be accepted in partnership with an international driving permit would create delays and confusion for many operators, some of whom may not even be aware that they would require additional paperwork.
“Of real concern is that these permits would not be available to purchase at every post office, (the papers suggest 2,500 outlets, rather than the full network), and will not be on sale until 1 February, leaving operators little time to undertake the necessary administration ahead of Brexit day.
“At this point, we expect only 1,224 permits to be made available to UK hauliers every year if they wish to travel to the European Union. That number pales into insignificance when you consider that the port of Dover can handle up to 10,000 vehicle movements a day,” she said, adding that this could effectively break supply chains between the UK and Europe.
“Without a significant improvement in the planned number of accepted permits for HGVs travelling across the border, there is a very real threat to the integrity of the UK’s supply chain, and delays and product shortages could be a reality while alternative suppliers are sourced and arranged,” Ms Bastidon said.
Source: The Loadstar / The Independent
According to the Freight Transport Association (FTA) the government’s commitment (announced on 26 June 2017) to securing existing duty free access to UK markets for 48 of the world’s developing nations will ensure that British manufacturers and retailers can continue to trade efficiently and profitably. These agreements should ensure that the price of household items, ranging from textiles to tea, can be maintained at pre-Brexit levels.
Alex Veitch, Head of Global Policy at FTA says “Imports of many of our staple household items, which reach our shores in bulk shipments from around the globe, currently benefit from reduced or zero tariff agreements. These keep prices stable, both for retailers and for manufacturers – a key requirement when other areas of the economy are currently more volatile. FTA lobbying of government has been relentless in the past year on behalf of the members of the British Shippers’ Council, to ensure that their opinions have been considered, and we look forward to working with the Department for International Trade in the coming months to ensure that the nation’s shopping basket continues to be as affordable as possible.”
Since the EU referendum announcement, FTA has met representatives from the Department for International Trade on three occasions to discuss the priorities of the logistics sector. “Today’s announcement is good news for British retailers, and great for developing countries. Trade policy is set by EU member states, so after Brexit the UK will be free to chart its own course. By committing to a policy of duty-free access to UK markets for these states, the government has stated its intentions to ensure that Britain will keep on trading outside the European Union.
As an EU member, the UK and companies based here can sell their goods freely to customers anywhere else in the EU without those customers having to pay additional taxes to import those goods. British consumers and companies can also import from elsewhere in the EU without tariffs. The EU also has agreements allowing free trade with countries such as Norway, Switzerland, South Africa and South Korea. Outside the EU, the UK will need to strike new deals in order to have free trade with those countries or the remaining EU members.
According to analysis by Civitas, if the UK leaves the EU without a trade deal UK exporters could face the potential impact of £5.2 billion in tariffs on goods being sold to the EU. However, EU exporters will also face £12.9 billion in tariffs on goods coming to the UK.
Brexit is still making its mark on the logistics industry, and the period of uncertainly means that global trade is at a transition. The UK will have to feel its way, and hope that the agreements made stay in place to ensure that we are in a strong position to trade.