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Looking beyond Brexit - inward investment to Poland

A smart solution to customs headaches caused by Brexit

By Krzysztof Laskowski, sales specialist / customs agent, Connectivity & Products - Governments Services, SGS Polska Sp. z o.o.
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Two months after the moment when UK finally left the EU, we can note significant changes in circulation of goods between EU and UK. These changes have affected a variety of areas of our life.

Lack of proper preparation and cooperation between parties engaged in transport of the goods has caused huge delays in deliveries; what is worse, a significant number of transports did not take place due to lack of relevant documents.

The departure of United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the single European market and Customs Union on 1 January 2021 at the end of the post-Brexit transition period has resulted in the need to submit a customs declaration when moving goods, as required by the EU law. Businesses should get familiar with formalities and customs procedures, due to fact that the UK has now become a third country just like Ukraine or Belarus. Preparation of customs clearance is not the only obligation as far as getting preferential treatment on the basis of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) between the UK and the EU. In order to fulfill the requirements, it is necessary to prove the status of origin of the goods.

One of the biggest challenges facing businesses is their lack of knowledge of the new procedures, and the lack of capability to adjust to the new reality by British exporters and importers. As a result, many conflicts are taking place between consignors and consignees. In order to set up areas of responsibilities it is worth using Incoterms, a series of pre-defined commercial terms published by the International Chamber of Commerce relating to international commercial law.  These clearly divide the costs and responsibilities between seller and buyer, and because they are used all over the world, they are familiar to businesses.

The TCA provides for the duty-free movement of goods, however it concerns only goods produced in the UK and EU. This agreement means that all exported goods must be accompanied by the customs documents and a certificate of origin. It is thanks to this certificate that we are able to prove the origin of the goods, and on that basis apply a preferential duty rate when the goods are placed on the market.

Companies should have prepared for the changes much earlier, unfortunately not everyone was aware of the full consequences of Brexit. Businesses believed that there would be no need to make customs and border declarations if a deal was reached. As it happened, customs declarations would have had to be introduced in both a ‘deal’ and a ‘no-deal’ scenario.

We are aware of businesses’ uncertainty and their lack of knowledge in the area of customs and tax issues. As a result, we have prepared a special solution – SGS TransitNet – which supports companies with their the customs clearance preparations. We take care of preparing export customs declarations (EX), transit customs declarations (T1/T2) and the release of the goods for trading, which means preparing import declarations.

Products of animal origin (POAO) will be an important element in this process from 1 April  and 1 July. Businesses have to know that an ENS (Entry Summary Declaration) will be required for all transports arriving to Great Britain, and that the GVMS (Goods Vehicle Movement Service) which is being used in ports, will be required for all transports arriving in Great Britain, regardless of whether or not the goods are being carried under transit procedure.

What is more, British importers will not be able to delay import declarations; this is a vital point. Business which use pre-lodgment model will have to submit import declarations before their goods leave the territory of the European Union. Import duty (where applicable) and VAT will have to be paid within 24 hours from the arrival of the transport to Great Britain (unless deferred).

Further changes are still ahead of us (implementation of phytosanitary and veterinary controls from 1 April, veterinary checks from 1 July, and the replacement of simplified customs declarations by the full version from 1 July. We as SGS constantly support companies with our knowledge and good practice, regardless whether you are a carrier, exporter or importer. TransitNet clients are able to open T2 declarations from different places in the EU on the way to the UK. We also open T1 declarations through regular and simplified procedure from approved locations across the UK.

External Transit (T1) is applicable to non-EU goods. The external transit procedure allows by default for non-EU goods to be moved from one point to another point within the customs territory of the EU, so that customs duties and other charges are suspended.

Internal Transit (T2) is generally applicable to EU goods. The internal transit procedure allows goods to temporarily leave and re-enter the  EU customs territory, maintaining their EU status.

TransitNet is a tool specifically designed to help our business partners adjust to the changes caused by Brexit.

Thanks to SGS affiliates located across the EU including Ireland, and in the UK, we understand the new requirements related to Brexit. We support and advise companies as to how they should prepare for the new realities and the upcoming changes. Our mission is to provide business with the confidence that their activities will not be burdened with the risk of losses –  time, money and energy. Every company that works with us has benefited in the context of Brexit, having made it through the most difficult period of political uncertainty, and their business did not suffer.

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