Customs declarations are enormously important and a necessity for all businesses that import and export goods.
This is particularly relevant as the UK leaves the EU, because goods will be subject to increased border checks and declarations are estimated to rise from 55 million to more than 250 million following the end of the transition period on December 31, 2020. Businesses that import or export goods will need to comply with the rules and make declarations, those who import goods face a great deal more administration.
Paperwork related to imports and exports can be complex. Customs declarations are official documents that are used to accompany goods that are entering or leaving a market. They are used internationally to communicate the origin of the product and its relevant tariff, to allow customs and regulatory authorities to calculate what duty is payable and understand applicable restrictions.
To add to the difficulty, any one of 26 government agencies may take an interest at their borders.
For example, livestock and animal products will get the attention of the Plant Health Agency, the Port Health Authorities and the Rural Payments Agency. Other agencies include Trading Standards, Environmental Health and the National Measurement Office. They all operate at ports to protect consumers, and businesses from products that are a risk to safety, are counterfeit, could harm our environment or simply aren’t what they say they are.
What do I need to know?
As an importer or exporter, making a declaration requires you to understand everything about the goods you are clearing from a customs perspective. You need to know:
- The tariff code for each item in your consignment?
- Do your goods require any special licences or certificates?
- Does the UK have a trade agreement in place with the country of export from the UK?
- Are your goods subject to any quotas?
- Are you importing under the correct customs procedure?
- What is the origin of the goods?
- What duty and VAT will you expect to pay at import?
- What is the correct valuation of your imported goods, including freight and insurance costs?
Why do I need to act before January 1?
Put simply, with such dramatic increases in declarations there are concerns there will not be enough companies offering the service and those that do will be full to capacity.
It’s important to act now to ensure that customs clearance is accurate, timely and keeps your business moving.
Justin Richardson, CEO of Bedfordshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “In the aftermath of the Brexit referendum, businesses and governments across Europe have been trying to get to grips with the implications for cross-border trade. While the details are still not finalised, it’s clear that bringing goods into the UK from the EU will involve a lot more paperwork than it does now.”
If you are interested in finding out how Bedfordshire Chamber of Commerce can help, get in touch at 01582 522448 or www.chamber-business.com/chamber-customs