As it currently stands, the effects of Brexit on international trade and customs duty are unknown. Many commentators have made various predictions, but in truth, no one knows what will await us post the "Article 50" negotiations.
Although the Government's wish for a "frictionless" border with the EU is laudable, in the short term at least, this may not be achievable systemically. It will be up to individual businesses to arrange their operations to minimise risk and damage - and maximise potential opportunity.
The Institute of Directors, in its comprehensive "Navigating Brexit" policy report, has touched on the need to prepare, saying;
"business people must not wait for the outcome of negotiations before undertaking their own planning and consultation in an attempt to minimise the potential for disruption to existing commercial relationships"
"For those businesses engaged in the EU goods trade, it is essential to begin exploring what extra paperwork dealing with the EU as a third country would entail. Planning for a worst case scenario is necessary"
"Inward and outward processing relief, .... warehousing are procedures which will become important for those firms selling or importing from the EU. Businesses already trading with non-EU markets will have an advantage in knowing how to use these kinds of procedures to mitigate any increase in costs or delays"
"There is a strong incentive for UK-based goods traders who have not yet done so to apply now for AEO authorisation under HMRC's ongoing roll-out of the EU's new UCC".
As the UK's leading provider of duty management/reporting software and services, we are uniquely placed to help you navigate through the uncertainty and to implement the processes and procedures necessary to allow for as smooth a transition possible on day one of the UK standing independent of the EU. Indeed, our position has meant that we are involved in the information gathering/planning phase with both HMRC Treasury and HMRC following the publication of the Future customs arrangements; A FUTURE PARTNERSHIP PAPER published by HM Government in late August 2017.
In that paper, broad options have been put forward in respect of our relationship with the EU going forward and the need for a transitionary period to allow business to properly implement whatever the new arrangement will be. The face to face discussions have also addressed the issue of contingency planning should we end up with both no deal and no transition agreement at the end of the Article 50 2 year period.
What is interesting to note from both the paper and discussions (and one would assume, will also be detailed in the coming Customs White paper) is the reliance on;
- "negotiating mutual recognition of Authorised Economic Operators (AEOs), enabling faster clearance of AEOs' goods at the border"
- "simplifications for business, such as self-assessment to allow traders to calculate their own customs duties and aggregate their customs declarations"
- "making existing domestic simplified procedures easier for traders to access, in a way that is compatible with the UK's international obligations, in order to reduce the requirements traders need to comply with for their goods to be cleared at the border"
All of which continue the IOD's theme of implementing mitigation procedures now in advance of our exit and future relationship...whatever form that may take.
Over the coming days, weeks and months, we will be developing tools to assist in assessing the impact of Brexit and will release them - We will also continue to update information as and when we have it - here on our website. If you would like to contact us in the meantime about Brexit planning or other Customs issues please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org