By the end of the transition period, the Government aims to introduce border import controls on EU goods.
Cabinet Minister, Michael Gove, has mentioned during the Border Delivery Group meeting that all the UK imports/ exports will be treated equally: all shipping in the UK and in the EU will be subject to border controls, customs declarations must be submitted.
Michael Gove declared: "The UK will be outside the single market and outside the customs union, so we will have to be ready for the customs procedures and regulatory checks that will inevitably follow. As a result of that, we will be in a stronger position, not just to make sure that our economy succeeds outside the European Union but that we are in a position to take advantage of new trading relationships with the rest of the world."
UK Policy Director at the Freight Transport Association, Elizabeth de Jong, as a result of Michael Gove’s speech, has declared: “Today’s announcements about the UK’s future relationship with Europe provide more much-needed clarity for logistics operators, and his assertion that there will be no extension to the transition period gives businesses a finite deadline with which to work. Mr Gove put to rest Sajiv Javid’s assertion that the industry had plenty of time to prepare. It is encouraging for an industry that he said he does not underestimate what needs to be done and that he has his civil servants focussed on capturing and providing the industry with the details we need, we hope within the timeframes we need to prepare. As representatives of the logistics industry, we are naturally disappointed that the promise of frictionless trade has been replaced with a promise that trade will be as seamless as possible but not until 2025, with a more realistic but costly “make do and mend” approach to be employed until then. The industry will need the support of government during this period to Keep Britain Trading effectively.”
In the meantime, HMRC has expanded the deadline for companies to apply for customs support by 31st January 2021. The project, first announced in September 2019, had been due to close on 31 January 2020. So far, applications have been made for around £18.5 million out of a possible £26 million – meaning there is at least £7.5 million left to claim from HMRC.
The Director-General of BIFA, the trade association for UK freight forwarding and logistics companies, Robert Keen has declared: “During many meetings with both HM Treasury and HMRC over the last three years, BIFA has highlighted the concerns of our members regarding the capability of the Customs brokerage sector to increase capacity, at a time when that sector already faces a shortage of staff of suitable quality. We emphasised that it could take up to a year to train staff to be fully conversant to prepare a range of basic Customs declarations, even if there was a sufficient number of trainers to train those staff, as well as relevant courses for them to attend. So, the news of a further extension to the deadline for this funding is very welcome, and we are encouraging our members who believe they might benefit to apply; if they have not done so already.”
BIFA states that grants are being made available for all customs intermediaries and traders completing customs declarations with the aim of supporting training and the upgrade of IT systems.
Keen said: “This scheme is intended to help support the extra demand for customs brokerage services associated with the UK’s departure from the EU, as well as issues associated with the replacement of the current system used to process customs entries."
BIFA says the grants could be used to support a business that is extending and taking on new staff or to help train an existing employee to start completing customs declarations for the company. Training can be delivered by an external provider or an in-house trainer.
Source: Freight Industry Times
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