brexit FAQ
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Trading between EU and UK: changes to border controls & preferential tariffs

To continue to help support you in preparing for changes to customs controls from 1‌‌ January‌‌ ‌2022, in this article we’re giving you information about changes to the way border locations will control goods. We also cover how to use commodity codes correctly when importing. This information, as well as other information on changes to customs controls from 1‌‌ ‌January can also be found on GOV.UK.

Border controls

From 1‌‌ ‌January‌‌ ‌2022, ports and other border locations will be required to control goods moving between Great Britain and the European Union. This means that unless your goods have a valid declaration and have received customs clearance, they will not be able to be released into free circulation, and in most cases will not be able to leave the port.

From 1‌‌ ‌January‌‌ ‌2022, your goods may be directed to an Inland Border Facility (IBF) for documentary or physical checks if these checks cannot be done at the border.

It’s important that those involved in transporting your goods are ready and understand how you intend to operate from January‌‌ ‌2022.

If you use a service such as a courier or freight forwarder to move your goods, you need to check their terms and conditions about who will make the declarations, and what other information they need from you to do this.

Commodity Codes

Commodity codes are used worldwide to classify goods that are imported and exported. They are standardised up to six digits and reviewed by the World Customs Organisation every five years. Following the end of the latest review, the UK codes will be changing on 1‌‌ ‌January‌‌ ‌2022. You should go to GOV‌‌.UK and search for the ‘Trade Tariff Tool’ at the time you’re importing your goods to look up the correct commodity codes. You can also check the Trade Tariff news page.

Preferential Tariffs

The preferential zero duty tariffs as mentioned in the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement means that if you bring UK origin goods into the EU, or if you bring EU origin goods into the UK, you won’t need to pay any customs duties on those imports. To benefit from this preferential treatment, you (as exporter) must meet certain requirements:

Strict requirement: Statement on Origin on invoice

For B2C Europe as importer to be able to claim the preferential tariff we need a statement on origin made out by the exporter. A statement on origin is a prescribed text which the exporter adds to the invoice that describes the originating product in enough detail to allow it to be identified. The Statement on Origin is a strict requirement as of now and we do not see this yet on the parcels we receive, so please be aware of this.

The exporter will be identified on the statement on origin by their exporter reference number, the EORI number. You can find the complete list of requirements about the statement on origin here.

Suppliers’ declaration

Please note that in some cases the exporter must also hold additional information showing that his products have UK/EU origin. This may include declarations obtained from their suppliers. A supplier uses a supplier’s declaration to give information about the originating status of goods, on the specific preferential rules of origin, to the exporter who needs this information to make out a statement on origin. The exporter is always responsible for the correct identification of the originating products on the invoice. Read more about these requirements here.

Until 31 December 2021, if you as exporter issue a statement on origin to claim a zero rate on imports into the EU or UK, you do not need to hold a supplier’s declaration at the time you issue the statement. You must be confident that the goods meet the rules of origin and make every effort to get suppliers’ declarations retrospectively. From 1 January 2022, you must hold a supplier’s declaration (when needed) at the time you issue a statement on origin.

Where you can get help with importing and exporting

We have a range of blogs on importing and exporting with the EU that you can read or check out our FAQ page.

Our customer service advisers are available to answer your queries on Customs and International Trade. They’ll help you with importing, exporting and customs reliefs. Contact us through +44 (0)1753 531 998 or visit our contact page.

We’ll continue to provide guidance and support to help you and your business, including sharing information from GOV‌‌.UK. Read more about our customs clearance solutions here.

Source: HMRC

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