UK Government publishes its vision for the future customs arrangements with the EU

Wednesday 16th August 2017

Future Customs Arrangements Paper

Although the 'future partnership paper' (link above) as a whole is very interesting in its overall thrust, some of the key points for "customs geeks" are the fact that they say:

  • They want to "...put in place new negotiated and potentially unilateral facilitations to reduce and remove barriers to trade; and implement technology based solutions to make it easier to comply with customs procedures". The unilateral facilitations are described as:
    • simplifications for business, such as self-assessment to allow traders to calculate their own customs duties and aggregate their customs declarations;
    • speeding up some authorisation processes, for example through increased automation and better use of data, and in the longer-term streamlining authorisation requirements to reduce complexity, such as in relation to the UK's existing framework of duty suspensions and reliefs; and
    • 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.
  • "...This approach involves utilising the UK's existing tried and trusted third country processes for UK-EU trade"

A Customs White Paper will be published in advance of the Customs Bill, brought forward to this Autumn. Whilst a negotiated solution - delivering consistency with EU law and continuity and certainty for business where possible - is the Government's priority, the forthcoming Bill will "...give the Government the powers necessary to operate standalone customs, VAT and excise systems....following our exit from the EU".

So, we should hope for the best but prepare for the worst! We live in interesting times!!