The government has begun publishing a series of notices designed to inform UK businesses and citizens of the implications of a no deal exit from the EU. 25 papers have been published to date, covering a wide range of topics, including import/export, medicines, export of controlled goods and labelling. A number will be added throughout the coming weeks, with approximately 80 expected in total, designed to cover all areas.
The documents are shared following the publication of the White Paper on the 18th July, outlining the UK's intent for it's relationship with the EU beyond Brexit. While Dominic Raab, Minister of State for Existing the EU maintains the UK/EU are on course to agree an orderly exit, the papers are designed to ensure the country prepares effectively for all eventualities.
The primary message coming through the papers is that businesses need to be aware there is a likelihood the UK and EU will begin to treat each other as third countries from the 30 March 2019, which is just over seven months at the time of writing. From an import/export perspective, what this means is relatively straightforward, at least for those companies already trading beyond the EU, as their EU shipments would largely revert to the rules and bureaucracies involved in those transactions.
One notable additional task will be to inform HMRC of goods arriving from the EU, and for goods destined to EU markets. At present, these declarations are only required when goods go beyond the EU, with around 55 million completed at the last count. There are expected to be an additional 200 million required once we leave the EU. While relatively straightforward, declarations require accurate information, including details of where the goods are coming from, where they’re going, the basis under which they’re being moved (customs procedure code), and what they are, which is shown using commodity codes. Commodity codes are widely used in global trade, and among other things, their principle use is to determine the percentage of duty applicable at a border. Those trading with EU markets at present will want to ensure any codes they hold in their company data is accurate, to ensure no additional delays in the new world. The costs of these entries need to be factored to, with an average of around £30 per shipment a reasonable yard stick.
Another consequence of the UK/EU treating each other as third countries will be an increase in scrutiny on documents used in fulfilling transactions. The papers published identify software systems as an area of potential investment for businesses looking to ensure they’ve adequate provision in place, although it does talk more in regard to software for making declarations. The vast majority of these declarations are made via third parties, ordinarily the freight businesses and agents involved in facilitating transactions on behalf of the buyer or seller. When it comes to producing export documents however, this remains the responsibility of the seller or shipper. Those businesses looking to enhance their abilities in this area might like to see what we at i2i Infinity have to offer. Our ezConsign software offers globally compliant paperwork options, with no upfront cost, and guidance from UK based experts. Registration is free and there’s no obligation.
Additional posts will be created in the coming weeks as the additional papers are published, including a break down of some of the fundamental aspects, including how to obtain an EORI number, and ensure commodity codes are valid.
Click here to see the full range of publications from UK Government.
Keep checking back to this blog for updates as the communications exercise continues, and contact us if you have any queries.