The Border with the European Union Importing and Exporting Goods

27 Jul 2020

Business

On 1 January 2021 the transition period with the European Union (EU) will end, and the United Kingdom (UK) will operate a full, external border as a sovereign nation. This means that controls will be placed on the movement of goods between Great Britain (GB) and the EU.

Recognising the impact of coronavirus on businesses’ ability to prepare, and following the announcement in February that the UK Government will implement full border controls on imports coming into GB from the EU, the UK Government has taken the decision to introduce the new border controls in three stages up until 1 July 2021. This flexible and pragmatic approach will give industry extra time to make necessary arrangements. The stages are:

1.From January 2021: Traders importing standard goods, covering everything from clothes to electronics, will need to prepare for basic customs requirements, such as keeping sufficient records of imported goods. Traders will also need to consider how they account for and pay VAT on imported goods. Traders will then have up to six months to complete customs declarations. While tariffs will be payable where due on relevant goods, payments can be deferred until the customs declaration has been made. UK Safety and Security declarations will not be required on imports for the first six months. Standard customs declarations will be needed from this date for controlled goods and excise goods like alcohol and tobacco products. There will also be physical checks at the point of destination or other approved premises on all high-risk live animals and plants, and a requirement to pre-notify for certain movements, but they will not be required to enter GB via a Border Control Post (BCP).

2.From April 2021: All products of animal origin (POAO) – for example meat, honey, milk or egg products – and all regulated plants and plant products will require pre-notification and the relevant health documentation. Any physical checks will continue to be conducted at the point of destination until July 2021.

3.From July 2021: Traders moving any goods will have to make full customs declarations at the point of importation and pay relevant tariffs. Full Safety and Security declarations will be required, while for commodities subject to sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) controls, these will have to be presented to BCPs and there will be an increase in physical checks and the taking of samples. SPS checks for animals, plants and their products will take place at GB Border Control Posts and not at destination. The GVMS will be in place for all imports, exports and transit movements at border locations which have chosen to introduce it.