Last Friday (12th June) Michael Gove, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster revealed, “We have informed the EU today that we will not extend the Transition Period. The moment for extension has now passed. At the end of this year we will control our own laws and borders which is why we are able to take the sovereign decision to introduce arrangements in a way that gives businesses impacted by coronavirus time to adjust”.
The government strategy is through the use of a phased implementation of controls in: January, April and July of 2021.
January: Traders importing standard goods, which covers everything from electronics to clothes, will have to prepare for basic customs criteria, such as the keeping of satisfactory records of imported goods but will have up to 6 months to finalise customs declarations. Tariffs will need to be paid on all goods imported, payment may be deferred until a customs declaration has been made.
April: Products of Animal Origin (POAO) meat, pet food, honey, milk or egg products for instance, together with all regulated plants and plant products will require pre-notification as well as relevant health documentation.
July: Merchants moving all goods must make declarations at the point of importation and pay all relevant tariffs. Full Safety and Security declarations will also be needed, while for Sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) commodities there will be an intensification in physical checks measures and the taking of samples. Checks for plants and their products, as well as animals, will now take place at Border Control Posts.
Organisations such as BCC, the Freight Transport Association and the Road Haulage Association have expressed their satisfaction with the decision, agreeing that this is a welcome, temporary and pragmatic response to find ways to help offset the current strains on businesses as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Commenting on additional grant funding to support customs agents, BCC Director of Trade Facilitation Liam Smyth said, “We are pleased to see the government respond to our call to provide additional funding for customs agents. More than 150,000 traders will need support to make customs declarations for the first time, and this £50m will help to make that happen.”
Unless an exemption applies, the UK Global Tariff applies to all goods imported into the country from 1 January 2021. The measures announced on the 12th June will not apply to third-party countries outside the EU.