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Compliance advice summary: Preparing for Brexit


The countdown to 31 December 2020 is edging closer for all businesses. It is not yet fully known what will happen after this date regarding trade between European Union (EU) countries and the UK. But there are steps you can take now to prepare for the changes coming in.

At the end of the transition period, importing and exporting goods from the UK to the EU would be very similar to importing goods currently from non-EU countries. To import and export goods you will need to have a GB EORI number which is a 12-digit Economic Operator Registration and Identification number. An EORI number was not required until now as the UK was a part of the free trade area and tariffs did not apply, this is irrespective of the outcome of ongoing trade negotiations.

The EORI number will need to be cited in documentation such as customs declarations and clearances and is used by computerised customs systems as an identifier. Without this your goods could potentially be held up at customs.

From 1 January 2021 you will need an EORI number that starts with XI to:

  • move goods between Northern Ireland and non-EU countries;
  • make a declaration in Northern Ireland;
  • get a customs decision in Northern Ireland.

To get an EORI number that starts with XI, you must already have an EORI number that starts with GB.

If you already have an EORI number that starts with GB and HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) thinks you need one that starts with XI, they will automatically send you one in mid-December 2020.

The EORI number will need to be cited in documentation such as customs declarations and clearances and is used by computerised customs systems as an identifier. Without this your goods could potentially be held up at customs.

For further information, the government has published the UK transition document ‘Border Operating Model’ which discusses the three-stage implementation of border controls which have been put in place to manage the switch to the new way of working between 1 January and July 2021

To help ease the transition period and uncertainty a number of ECMT permits were available for operators, applications for these closed on 20 November – these permits enabled you to transport most types of goods (or drive an empty vehicle) through ECMT member countries. The criteria for these were based on the following key areas – exhaust emissions level of your vehicle (Euro V or VI) number of annual international journeys, proportion of your haulage that is international, the goods you carry, and the type of journey conducted. If you were successful you will need to carry with you your ECMT permit along with certificates of compliance, certificates of roadworthiness, logbook and translations for the certificates of compliance/certificates of roadworthiness. You will need a certificate of compliance and roadworthiness for each tractor and trailer used and your vehicle must have rear marker plates on display.

Regardless of whether you have been successful or not in obtaining an ECMT permit you will still need to ensure your drivers have the correct driving documents required. All UK drivers will still need a Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) in order to work. Drivers need to carry their Driver CPC qualification card while driving in the EU, they will continue to need the correct category of driving licence for the vehicle they are driving. Please note that if your driver has taken the advantage of the 11-month photocard/entitlement extension that this is only recognised within the UK, not in the EU. Additionally, drivers may need an international driving permit (IDP) alongside their UK driving licence to drive in some EU and EEA countries. An updated list can be found on gov.uk.

Furthermore, drivers may need immigration permissions to undertake an international journey to the EU. Further details will be issued subject to the outcome of negotiations; however, drivers will need at least six months on a UK passport to travel to the EU from 1 January 2021.

All goods being exported by road to the EU via the Port of Dover or Eurotunnel will, from 1 January 2021, need to use the government’s new ‘check an HGV is ready to cross the border’ service. Border ready goods will receive a green or amber Kent Access Permit (KAP) allowing them to proceed to their port. 

Each Kent Access Permit would be valid for 24 hours to cover a single trip, and police and DVSA enforcement officers could issue penalties to hauliers found heading for Dover or Eurotunnel without one. Thus, travelling in contravention of a ‘red’ result (being advised not to travel) or failure to use the ‘check an HGV is ready to cross the border’ service at all and so not having a valid KAP, would be a fineable offence. It is proposed that fines for not having a valid KAP are set at £300.

Enforcement would be against the driver, rather than the haulier or freight forwarder who has formal responsibility for completing the customs paperwork. This is because the offence of not having a valid KAP, ignoring the Operation Brock contraflow, or driving without a valid Brock permit would be committed by the driver of the vehicle. The government has been clear that goods moving from the EU to GB will also be subject to third country import controls, but these checks will be phased in during the first half of 2021. 

NI PROTOCAL

All Irish Sea movements from GB to Northern Ireland will move under a pre-lodgement model. This will mean that all consignments must have completed a Safety & Security declaration alongside an Import declaration before it can be shipped from GB to NI.

The pre-lodgement model is when both the importer and exporter have completed the customs formalities along with the haulier completing any safety and security declarations and pre-lodgement processes prior to arriving at the port of departure. 

The pre-lodgement will ensure that delays at terminals are minimised as loads will clear customs during the crossing. Some goods will still be subject to routine and random checks following discharge. These checks may be related to customs but will primarily be related to Sanitary & Phytosanitary (SPS) controls that involves the movement of products of plant or animal origin.

GB to NI – Goods will be subject to new declarations,  and may be subject to duties if considered ‘at risk’ of moving to the EU (including Ireland).

NI to GB – Moving goods should take place as it does now, with no additional process, paperwork, or restrictions – except in extremely limited circumstances to take account of international obligations or duty suspension.

NI to/from Ireland – Moving goods should take place as it does now, with no additional process, paperwork, or restrictions – except in extremely limited circumstances to take account of international obligations or duty suspension.

Northern Ireland to and from the Rest of the World – Trading will continue broadly as it does today. Northern Ireland will benefit from future UK Free Trade Agreements, and the UK tariff regime1 will apply to imports – unless goods are considered ‘at risk’ of moving to the EU.

Transit routes – Goods will be subject to specified processes. Transit can be used to move goods from GB to Northern Ireland via Ireland. Transit declarations would apply, and some traders would need to use sealed trucks.

As operators you need to ensure you are prepared for any eventuality which is a hard task to bear but you are essential in ensuring a smoother transition come 1 January 2021.

*www.logistics.org.uk/mac

Published On: 10/12/2020 16:00:51

 


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