GB-EU Border Checks (UK & EU from 1st Jan 2021)

On 14 July, the EU updated and reissued it’s 1 Jan 2021 Readiness Notice on Customs (dated 22 Nov 2019) and combined the content with the updated and replaced Readiness Notices on Preferential Rules of Origin (dated 4 June 2018) and Customs and Indirect Taxation (dated 30 Jan 2018), here.

The day before, on 13 July, the UK published its Border Operating Model, here. I Blog posted about it at the time.

The Institute for Government in the UK has published a handy explainer – here.

GB to EU trade – From 1 Jan 2021

(1) Full customs declarations (UK export declarations and EU import declarations) will be required.

(2) If applicable, tariffs and import VAT will be payable at the time of import, unless traders are eligible to defer payments.

(3) UK exit summary Safety and Security declaration (or combined fiscal and safety and security declaration) and EU entry summary Safety and Security declaration will be needed.  

(4) Checks according to international conventions (e.g. CITES) will take place.

(5) Full SPS checks will be imposed, including a requirement for UK Export Health Certificates.

(6) Additional requirements will apply to the export of other controlled goods, in line with EU and member state rules.

(7) Excise goods will be subject to the rules applied by the importing EU member state.

EU to GB trade –

From 1 Jan 2021

(1) Full customs declarations will be required for controlled goods (e.g. excise goods like tobacco and alcohol).

(2) For standard goods (most goods), simplified customs requirements will be in place from January. Traders will have to keep sufficient records of their imports, but will be able to defer full customs declarations until 1 July 2021 (although they may submit customs declarations before if they wish).

(3) If applicable, tariffs will be payable, but it will be possible to defer payment until customs declarations are made (no later than July 2021). If applicable, import VAT will be payable, although many traders will be able to defer payment.

(4) An EU exit summary Safety and Security declaration will be needed.

(5) Checks according to international conventions (e.g. CITES) will take place.

(6) Imports of high-risk live animal and plants (and animal and plant products) must be pre-notified to the UK authorities via IPAFFS, have correct health documentation and may be subject to checks. Physical checks will be carried out at the point of destination or other approved premises.

(7) Import licenses and other requirements will apply to the import of some high-risk goods.

(8) Businesses importing excise goods will need to pay GB excise duties using the CHIEF or CDS systems (although excise duties are already payable on excisable imports from the EU).

From April 2021

Imports of all products of animal origin, regulated plants and plant products will require pre-notification to the UK authorities via IPAFFS and must have correct health documentation. Necessary physical checks will take place at the point of destination or other approved premises.

From July 2021

(1) Full customs declarations will need to be made at the time of import for all goods. Some traders may be eligible for simplified declaration procedures.

(2) Any applicable tariffs will be payable on import, although many traders are eligible to defer payments.

(3) A UK entry summary Safety and Security declaration will be needed.  

(4) Products subject to SPS checks will need to transit through a designated Border Control Post equipped to handle the goods in question and be subject to checks. Goods will subject to an increased rate of physical checks.

EU-UK Readiness post 1st Jan 2021 (EU)

On 14th July, the European Commission published a Guidance Note “Withdrawal of the United Kingdom and EU Rules in the field of Customs, including preferential origin”.

This document (35 pages) is here.

The Guidance Note summary advice to Stakeholders –

–  consider whether they need to obtain an EORI number from an EU Member State;

–  consult their competent customs authority for further advice on their individual situation; and

–  adapt input and supply chains to take account that UK input will be non-originating for the purposes of tariff preferences with third countries.

Some points (this is not a full list, please read the document) –

(1) From 1st Jan 2021, UK EORI numbers will cease to be valid in the EU and will be invalidated in the relevant IT system EOS/EORI, including those UK EORI numbers linked to the ongoing operations covered by the Withdrawal Agreement.

Customs authorities of EU Member States should accept requests before 1st Jan 2021 and assign to them EORI numbers with the 1st Jan 2021 or thereafter as the “start day of EORI number”, according to the requests of the persons concerned.

(2) Authorisations granted by UK customs authorities are not valid in the EU from 1st Jan 2021. From 1st Jan 2021, the UK customs authorities are not an EU competent customs authority.

The UK is a Contracting Party to the Convention on a Common Transit Procedure (CTC), so from 1st Jan 2021 authorisations granted by the UK for transit simplifications are not valid in the EU Customs Decisions system, but need to be treated in the UK’s national system as a Contracting Party to the CTC. Where then the UK communicates to the Member States which of those authorisations continue to be valid within the framework of the CTC, the Member States are to accept those authorisations as valid.

(3) Authorisations granted to economic operators with UK EORI numbers are not valid in the EU from 1st Jan 2021, unless the economic operator has an establishment in the EU, has the possibility to obtain an EU EORI and to apply for an amendment of the authorisation to include the new EU EORI instead of the UK EORI number. Where an authorisation cannot be amended by replacing the UK EORI by an EU EORI, the economic operator should apply for a new authorisation with his new EU EORI.

(4) UK content (material or processing operations) is “non-originating” under EU preferential trade arrangements for the determination of the preferential origin of goods incorporating that content.

Note the specific different arrangements that apply in Northern Ireland from 1st Jan 2021.

EU-UK Readiness post 1st Jan 2021 (UK 1st Jan 2021)

Yesterday, 13 July, the UK published its Border Operating Model (206 page Policy Paper) that will apply from 1st Jan 2021 for GB trade with the EU – here.

In addition, HMRC information for traders importing or exporting goods between Britain (GB) and the EU after 1st Jan 2021 is published – here.

HMRC also has guidance on declaring goods brought into GB from the EU after 1st Jan 2021 (update from 10 July) – here.

Specific instructions –

(1) Plants and plant products (update from 10 June) – here

(2) Animals, animal products and high-risk food and feed not of animal origin (update from 10 June) – here

In addition, the Forestry Commission’s guidance on importing wood, wood products or bark from non-EU countries is updated – here.

Protocols for GB trade with NI, and NI trade with the EU (including Ireland) will be published later this month (the UK government said yesterday 13 July).

I Blog posted a few days ago on EU-UK Readiness on the EU side.

EU-UK Readiness post 1st Jan 2021 (EU 1st Jan 2021)

The European Commission published a Communication “Getting Ready for Changes. Communication on readiness at the end of the transition period between the European Union and the United Kingdom” today 9th July. This document is here.

The Communication is posted on the European Commission’s End of Transition Period Readiness Page here, where other notices, with various publication dates, are posted.

Key points in the 35 page Communication (this is not a full list):

(1) As of 1 January 2021, the European Union and the United Kingdom will be two separate regulatory and legal spaces.

(2) As of 1 January 2021, licences issued to railway undertakings by the United Kingdom will no longer be valid in the European Union, and certificates or licences issued in the United Kingdom to train drivers will no longer be valid for the operation of locomotives and trains on the EU’s railway system.

[I Blog posted recently specifically re Railways]

(3) As of 1 January 2021, air carriers holding operating licences granted by the UK licensing authority for the commercial carrying by air of passengers, mail and/or cargo, will no longer be able to provide air transport services within the European Union. EU air carriers and holders of aviation safety certificates will need to ensure, and uphold compliance with European Union requirements, including airlines’ requirements on principal place of business and EU majority ownership and control, as well as the European Union aviation safety acquis.

(4) As of 1 January 2021, road transport operators that are established in the United Kingdom will no longer hold a European Community licence. In the absence of a reciprocal access agreement, the limited quotas already available under the mechanism of the European Conference of Ministers of Transport (ECMT) will be available for EU operators to conduct journeys to the United Kingdom, and for UK operators to conduct journeys to the EU.

[I Blog posted in 2019 about this topic]

(5) As of 1 January 2021, EU REACH registrations held by manufacturers and producers established in the United Kingdom will no longer be valid in the European Union. These entities will have to ensure that their substances are registered with a manufacturer or importer in the European Union or appoint an ‘Only Representative’ in the European Union as registrant for the substance.

[A UK REACH will operate in the UK, I Blog posted about this in 2019]

(6) As of 1 January 2021, downstream users in the EU will have to check whether chemical substances they use are registered by a registrant established in the European Union. Where this is not the case, they should:

* check whether the UK registrant they deal with plans to appoint an ‘Only Representative’ in the European Union; or

* register the substance in the capacity of importer.

Re Northern Ireland specifics (this is not a full list)

(1) Checks and controls will take place on goods entering Northern Ireland from the rest of the United Kingdom, for example on food products and live animals to ensure adherence to sanitary and phytosanitary (‘SPS’) requirements. Goods leaving Northern Ireland to enter the EU must comply with EU standards and rules.

(2) EU customs duties will apply to goods entering Northern Ireland unless the Joint Committee (set up under the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol) sets out a framework of conditions under which these goods are considered not to be at risk of entering the EU’s Single Market. Based on such a framework, no customs duties will be payable if it can be demonstrated that goods entering Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK are not at risk of entering the EU’s Single Market.

Border Controls from 1st Jan 2021 (EU Goods Imports)

The UK Government has today (12 June 2020) announced that border controls for EU goods imported into Great Britain will be introduced at the end of Transition Period in stages.

The announcement is here.

This staged approach will apply to EU goods imports to GB only. The EU will enforce the checks required by EU Law in its side of the border, there are no announcements for facilitation applicable to GB goods exports to the EU.

Per the Government announcement –

• From January 2021: Traders importing standard goods, covering everything from clothes to electronics, will need to prepare for basic customs requirements, such as keeping sufficient records of imported goods, and will have up to six months to complete customs declarations. While tariffs will need to be paid on all imports, payments can be deferred until the customs declaration has been made. There will be checks on controlled goods like alcohol and tobacco. Businesses will also need to consider how they account for VAT on imported goods. There will also be physical checks at the point of destination or other approved premises on all high risk live animals and plants.

• From April 2021: All products of animal origin (POAO) – for example meat, pet food, honey, milk or egg products – and all regulated plants and plant products will also require pre-notification and the relevant health documentation.

• From July 2021: Traders moving all goods will have to make declarations at the point of importation and pay relevant tariffs. Full Safety and Security declarations will be required, while for SPS commodities there will be an increase in physical checks and the taking of samples: checks for animals, plants and their products will now take place at GB Border Control Posts.

An EU to GB (EU goods imports to GB) border operating model will be published by the UK in July 2020.

Trade flows between Northern Ireland and Ireland, or between GB and Northern Ireland are separate and covered by the Withdrawal Agreement.

The UK Global Tariff will apply to all goods imported into the UK from 1 January 2021, unless an exception applies. The measures announced today will not apply to third countries outside of the EU. Full import controls will continue to apply on trade between the UK and third countries outside of the EU and EEA.

As I commented in earlier Blog posts, commencing August 2020, we (Cardinal Environment) will be putting some staff through the UK Customs Academy Level 4 Certificate in Advanced Customs Compliance (tariffs and customs training). This is to facilitate client queries in the foreseeable.

UK Global Tariff (UK Brexit)

I posted before that the UK has announced its new UK Global Tariff.

These are tariffs that will apply on any products that the UK imports on a Most Favoured Nation (MFN) basis from the end of the transition period when the UK is no longer bound by the EU’s Common External Tariff. The published tariffs come after a public consultation on the subject was held in February this year.

Under the new Global Tariff, 66% of tariff lines will see some degree of change.

Tariffs on around 2,000 products have been fully eliminated, almost doubling the number of tariff-free products compared to the existing EU MFN schedule. A further 40% of tariff lines have been ‘simplified’ meaning that they have either been rounded down to the nearest standardised band, or have been converted from specific duties into simple percentages. And just under 10% of tariff lines have been converted from being expressed in € to being expressed in £ using an average exchange rate over the last 5 years. This conversion also entails some degree of simplification, as specific duties have  been rounded down to the nearest £, and for two-part duties, which include both a percentage tariff and a fixed charge, the percentage component has been rounded down to standardised bands.

My Blog does not focus on tariffs and customs, but as I explained in an earlier Blog post, we (Cardinal Environment) will be putting some staff through the UK Customs Academy training, in order to assist our customers further.

L. Alan Winters CB, Professor of Economics and Director of the UK Trade Policy Observatory; and Michael Gasiorek, Professor of Economics at the University of Sussex and Julia Magntorn Garrett, a Research Officer in Economics at the University of Sussex, (Fellows of the UK Trade Policy Observatory) have written a useful Blog on the subject.

This Blog is here. Extracts are below in italics.

The largest relative change is for stone, plaster and cement, where around 85% of tariff lines have changed to some degree, just under half of which have been fully liberalised. This is followed by processed food products, where most of the change is due to conversion of specific duties, and plastics and rubber products and chemical products where the vast majority of tariff lines have been simplified (rounded down).

The tariff changes would increase the share of imports that can be imported duty-free from countries currently trading on MFN terms. Under the Global Tariff, around 70% of the UK’s imports from ‘MFN countries’ would be duty-free compared with around 52% currently. However, the Global Tariff is far less liberal than the UK’s (now superseded) ‘No deal’ tariffs that were published in October last year, which would have seen tariffs eliminated on around 95% of imports from ‘MFN countries’.

If the UK and the EU do not reach a trade deal by the end of the transition period, the Global Tariff will apply also to imports from the EU. In this scenario, only around 44% of imports from the EU would be tariff free, compared with 100% currently. This is a higher share than if the current MFN tariff schedule was applied on EU imports, but is a much smaller share than it would have been under the ‘No deal’ tariffs.

Canada is one of the countries that did not roll over their trade deal with the EU, this writing is useful on the subject, and gives context – here.