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It’s been a big couple of weeks what with the Border Operating Model and the NI Protocol approach.   We’ve read them all. We’ve reread them. We’ve read them slowly in case anything is hidden.

There are a few hidden gems and interesting items, so we thought we’d put together this little overview….  (some of the items below are NOT in the border operating model or NI, but we have picked them up on the way..). In no particular order

  1. TARIFFS: first real indication (perhaps) that the UKGT (UK Global Tariff) released in May is aspirational more than operational.  Page 84 of the BOM (Border Operating Model) includes the following text: “The tariffs applicable to UK importers will be published…when they are finalised and before implementation. The latest publication can be found [and it provides a link].”  We had said (since May 2020 when they were released) that the UK import tariffs are part of the negotiation tactics and are unlikely to be the final version, even in a no-deal.  We stand by that assessment.  You should, nonetheless, plan for the ones that are currently published at least until they are formally updated.
  2. The UK is no more!  Provocative statement but in customs planning terms one will rarely use the term “UK” from here on in and particularly when talking about trade with EU.  GB is treated as a 3rd country, and NI is treated (by the EU) as part of the EU.   Be careful when writing your plans and use GB over the UK in nearly all cases.
  3. AEO: Doesn’t show its face until 90 pages into the BOM.   AEO will not put out any fires on day one.  It has its place but right now (in terms of EU planning) the only real advantage is a 70% reduction in the CCG required for a deferment account (see note below).   If your planning time is limited (whose is not!), then concentrate on CFSP and authorised consignor over AEO.
  4. Deferment without CCG.  Keep reading “HMRC will shortly announce a plan for deferment accounts not backed by CCG” (Customs Comprehensive Guarantee – bank guarantee).   So, one of the main benefits of AEO (at the moment) might not be such a benefit after all, at least not just yet.
  5. Incoterms: the BOM does not touch on incoterms until page 184 (of 206!).  Make sure you know the pitfalls of ex-works/DDP and even DAP. Watch our video:
  6. Check what you need to export to the EU.   We like this feature: https://www.gov.uk/check-duties-customs-exporting 
  7. Dangerous: We have picked this up a few times, and we don’t like it: “UK Gov is developing the capability to request any consignment changes its routing or not to proceed…to prioritise flows..”   This relates to the permission to proceed on GB exports.   This reads that, for example, if Kent is snarled up (and you are heading for Kent), HMRC might say you can’t. We’ll monitor this one but don’t like the idea at the moment or even the idea that it could be an option.
  8. SMART freight: don’t attempt to enter Kent (on GB export) unless you are border ready (GB and FR side).   Complete the SMART freight portal/app, and you will get a KAP (Kent Access Permit).  No KAP – a fine of around £300!
  9. SPS controls: does your commodity code require SPS controls? Check the list here: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX:32007D0275
  10. GB imports: From Jan 21 to Jun 21 you have up to 6 months to present your final import Dec. 6 months from import not until.   So Jan by the end of Jun, Feb by the end of Jul, Mar by the end of Aug and so on. 
  11. GB imports: You might have 6 months to do the import entry but you have to account for the import VAT quarterly.  OK to estimate (if import not yet is done) and correct later.   Strange process but that’s what it is.
  12. Intrastat:  If you currently do intrastat returns you should continue, even after Jan 21
  13. GB to FR (for example) is a full export and import process, including health certs etc.  NI to FR is transit, no export, no import and significantly, no duty in FR
  14. Transit from EU to EU via GB technically requires health cert and border control post on re-entry to EU.   We understand that the EU are proposing a special arrangement for Rep of Ireland so only a TRACES NT (or similar) record is required (no paperwork and no vet on arrival).  Not ratified yet but sounds like a plan.   Would it include flows from NI to EU (or vice versa)?   We don’t know yet.   Would be strange to have EU able to offer such a health-based dispensation in a UK territory but stranger things have happened.
  15. CFSP can be applied for if you are the UK established importer or…..and this is a first…..an EU established importer.  You’ll need a UK deferment account but worth considering for DDP and consignment stock movements to GB. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/using-simplified-declarations-for-imports#who-can-apply
  16. ETSF (temp storage) can be operated WITHOUT inventory until Jul 21 (major relaxation)
  17. Bottled water is mentioned a number of times.  There are controls but will not need health cert or border control post check.
  18. ISPM15 pallets.  Still a problem.  Still required in either direction. Which raises the question….. does GB to NI require ISPM15 pallets?   No answer yet but we sit on the NI Protocol Group and will raise it…
  19. Authorisation by a declaration: you can have IPR/OPR/TA without pre-authorisation for up to 3 movements per year.  The entry claims the relief and applies for that movement in the same process.   For regular movements you need to be authorised (this is not a new arrangement but we thought we would raise it here anyway)
  20. Direct/indirect rep.   We have picked up a lot of text recently that suggests a UK agent can act for the non-UK established importer (think DDP and/or consignment stock here) if that entity is established in the EU.   This is a good plan but the text is woolly and the liabilities are significant.   We have asked for clarification.  We sit on the BPDG and they have assigned this for ‘deep dive’ action.
  21. TSS (Trader Support Scheme) for NI importers/exporters is being offered free of charge for trade with GB, EU and even rest of world.  Leaves NI customs brokers in a rather precarious position as HMG have just offered a free alternative.   We await further details but it is unlikely to be what it initially seems.   Bear in mind that it’s release coincided with Michael Gove’s visit to NI.   
  22. NI border model has suggested some relaxation for GB to NI of SPS goods where supermarkets are involved.  Not confirmed yet but very likely that GB to NI foods for NI retail will be excused from full SPS controls.  This would be a major plus and we will be keeping our fingers crossed for this one..
  23. Back to GB NI. Processed fruit/veg (ie bagged lettuce) unlikely to require SPS controls. 

There, a bunch of little gems for you. These are fast-moving times and we will continue to monitor changes.

Photo: Alex Borland/ CC0 Public Domain

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