HMRC updates guidance on AEO

HMRC has updated their guidance on AEO, adding clarity to the application process itself.

The HMRC Guidance page, ‘Check if Authorised Economic Operator status could benefit you‘ is an excellent summary of the benefits of AEO and how to apply.

Since the launch of AEO back in 2008, VARTAN has proudly supported over 100 companies in acheiving their AEO accreditations. Understanding HMRC’s expectations allows VARTAN’s experts to mitigate any risks or issues that could impede an application.

If you’d like to discuss AEO’s benefits and the application process, please contact us.

Customs Grant Schemes

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) and HMRC have published a very useful website to provide information and assistance on the ongoing Customs Grant Schemes.

The site includes an excellent FAQ page which covers the availability and the history of the schemes in some depth.

You can find the PWC website FAQ page here.

In summary, businesses that complete customs declarations now have until 31 January 2021 to apply for grant funding to help them increase their capacity to do so. Whilst the UK left the EU on 31 January 2020, we are now in a transition period that lasts until 31 December 2020. During this time there will be no change to the way businesses trade with the EU. However, HMRC’s recommendation to businesses is that they begin preparing now for future customs arrangements from 1 January 2021.

If you are a grant holder looking for a customs training provider, we can design a training package specifically for your business. Contact us for more details.

What about Brexit?

For about three years we hardly heard about anything else in the UK. Now, of course, the focus is on the coronavirus pandemic.

It would be easy to forget that we are in a transition period up to 31 December. The BBC’s Europe Eeditor, Katya Adler, reminds us that there has only been one round of EU-UK trade negotiations so far. Will any real progress be made by video conference?

You can read Katya’s article here.

If you need advice on Brexit and its impact on Customs, imports or exports, please contact us.

BIFA welcomes new CDS timetable

Feight forwarders say HMRC is acting pragmatically

The British International Freight Association (BIFA) has welcomed the latest announcement by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) of an extension to the implementation timetable of CDS – the new computer system which will replace CHIEF.

The announcement means that traders will not need to move from CHIEF to CDS by the end of September 2020 as originally scheduled and dual-running of both systems will continue with CHIEF remaining operational beyond 2020.

For the full story please see the BIFA website here.

For advice on this, or any other Customs, import or export topic, please contact us.




Changes for clearing import and export goods – CIP 5

From early March 2020, HMRC is introducing automatic sorting of import and export clearance documents that they receive. This means traders will now need to fill out and send a PDF summary form (called a trader submission header form or NCH1) to HMRC for each submission that needs further checks.

This small change is being made to improve the efficiency of how import and export documents are processed. If goods are selected for further checks by HMRC (Route 1, Route 2 and Route 0), traders will need to send the NCH1 and all supporting paperwork to the National Clearance Hub.

For more details on these changes, please see the HMRC guidance page here

For advice on this, or any other import and export topic, please contact us.

What does the election result mean for customs clearances and declarations?

Following what was an eventful general election, we now know that the Conservatives and Boris Johnson will be leading the country for the foreseeable future and they look set to deliver on their Brexit promise.

With a large enough majority in the House of Commons, it should now be relatively straightforward for Mr Johnson to get his deal through.

It’s looking increasingly likely that the government will re-introduce the Withdrawal Agreement Bill – the piece of law that lays the framework for Brexit happening – on Friday 20th December 2019. The Government’s aim will then be to get the Bill completed in time for the target departure date of 31st January 2020.

Assuming this happens, this is just the first step in a very complicated process. Many things will need to be addressed, but the top priority should surely be for the UK to negotiate a trade deal with the EU, with the emphasis being for the UK to obtain as much access as possible for its goods and services to the EU. 

But the Conservatives have made it very clear that the UK must leave the customs union and single market and end the overall jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.

Time is short. The EU could take weeks to agree a formal negotiating mandate – all the remaining 27-member states and the European parliament have to be in-agreement. That means formal talks might only begin in March 2020.

These negotiations need to produce a final agreement by the end of June 2020. That is the point at which the UK has to decide whether or not to extend the transition period (by one or two years). But Mr Johnson has ruled out any form of extension. 

If no trade deal has been agreed by the end of June 2020, then the UK faces the prospect of leaving without one at the end of December 2020. If an agreement is however reached, it also has to be ratified before coming into force and that is a process which could take several months. No trade deal of this size and complexity has ever been agreed between the EU and an external country anywhere near as quickly as the time-frame planned here.

Where does this leave us? From a Customs clearance point of view nothing will change until the end of a transition period, which, as you can see from the above, may be extended. However, businesses that currently import goods from the EU will have to do Customs declarations for these goods at the end of the transition period.

Please continue to visit our VARTAN news page for the latest updates. For further guidance on Brexit planning in general, please contact us.