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Border Delivery Group Update - 19 March

BDG Weekly Update: Northern Ireland, temporary tariff regime, guidance from French customs.

This bulletin provides an overview of the latest EU Exit information relating to UK borders from across UK Government.

Leaving the EU with a deal remains the Government’s top priority. This has not changed. However, the UK Government must plan for every eventuality including no deal. Without a deal, businesses may need to take action before 29 March 2019.

As intermediaries and trade bodies who work with UK businesses, the role that you can play in helping the UK Government reach out to businesses and individuals is crucial.

As well as using this bulletin for your own contingency planning, you can help us reach your clients, customers and members prepare by forwarding this email on or sharing the content via existing channels.

For more information, go to GOV.UK/EUEXIT.

Contents of this update:

  • Avoiding a hard border in Northern Ireland in a no deal scenario
  • Temporary tariff regime for no deal EU Exit
  • Guidance from French customs authorities for UK businesses in the event of a no deal EU Exit
  • MAKE UK: No Deal EU Exit webinar link
  • Import VAT on parcels
  • Changes to your customs authorisations if the UK leaves the EU without a deal
  • Accounting for import VAT if the UK leaves the EU without a deal
  • Exporting controlled goods after EU Exit
  • Expansion of ePassport gates

Avoiding a hard border in Northern Ireland in a no deal scenario

The government has set out its approach to avoiding a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

The unique social, political and economic circumstances of Northern Ireland must be reflected in any arrangements that apply in a no deal scenario.

On 13 March government confirmed a strictly unilateral, temporary approach to checks, processes and tariffs in Northern Ireland. This would apply if the UK leaves the EU without a deal on 29 March.

The UK government would not introduce any new checks or controls on goods at the land border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, including no customs requirements for nearly all goods.

The UK temporary import tariff also announced on 13 March (details below) would therefore not apply to goods crossing from Ireland into Northern Ireland.

Go to GOV.UK for more information and detail on the specific changes proposed.

Temporary tariff regime for no deal EU Exit

Government has published details of the UK’s temporary tariff regime for no deal, designed to minimise costs to business and consumers while protecting vulnerable industries.

This regime is temporary, and the government would closely monitor the effects of these tariffs on the UK economy. It would apply for up to 12 months while a full consultation and review on a permanent approach to tariffs is undertaken.

British businesses would not pay customs duties on the majority of goods when importing into the UK if we leave the European Union without an agreement.

Under the temporary tariff, 87% of total imports to the UK by value would be eligible for tariff free access. Tariffs would still apply to 13% of goods imported into the UK.

You can find more information in the news story, or the full guidance.

Guidance from French customs authorities for UK businesses in the event of a no deal EU Exit

French customs authorities have published guidance for UK businesses in the event of a no deal EU Exit.

If the UK leaves the EU with no deal Brexit customs formalities and controls at the border between France and the UK will be reinstated for goods.

Any exchange of goods between France and the UK, both for imports and exports, will be subjected to two customs declarations, one to British Customs and one to French Customs.

Two pieces of guidance from the French Customs and Excise helps UK businesses to prepare for the new arrangements:

  • Anticipate your customs declarations for a hassle-free crossing
  • Preparing for Brexit: French customs guidelines

Go to GOV.UK to access the guidance and for more information.

MAKE UK: No Deal EU Exit webinar link

On 13 March MAKE UK and UK Government held a no deal EU Exit workshop: ‘Everything you need to know on customs, excise and VAT post Brexit’.

The purpose of the workshop was for UK Government officials to provide advice and guidance on customs procedures and facilitations for traffic between the UK and the rest of Europe, should the UK leave the EU without a deal.

You can view a recording of the webinar here.

Import VAT on parcels

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have published guidance to help you find out about import value added tax (VAT) on parcels, if you are outside of the UK and sell goods to UK buyers, if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

When the UK leaves the EU, if you are based outside the UK and sell goods to UK buyers that are worth £135 or less, you must pay import VAT.

To pay import VAT you can either:

  • register with HMRC to report and pay the import VAT due yourself
  • pay a parcel operator that offers a service to pay import VAT to HMRC on your behalf

Go to GOV.UK for additional guidance.

Changes to your customs authorisations if the UK leaves the EU without a deal

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, you’ll need to check whether your current authorisations to use special and simplified procedures (known as customs facilitations) still apply.

Customs facilitations (including special procedures) make trading between other countries easier, quicker and cheaper.

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal your business must be established in the UK to use most customs facilitations (with the exception of temporary admission) in the UK.

Go to GOV.UK to check if these changes apply to you.

Accounting for import VAT if the UK leaves the EU without a deal

If the UK leaves the EU with no deal businesses registered for VAT in the UK will be able to account for import VAT on their VAT return rather than pay when, or soon after, the goods arrive at the UK border.

This will apply to goods from both EU and non-EU countries and will help businesses currently moving goods into the UK from other EU member states to reduce any cash flow impacts after the UK leave the EU.

Businesses or individuals who are not VAT registered in the UK will not be able to account for import VAT in this way. They’ll need to pay import VAT up front at the time of import.

In the event of a no deal EU Exit, all businesses importing goods into the UK will need a UK Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number.

Go to GOV.UK for additional guidance.

Exporting controlled goods after EU Exit

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) have published additional guidance explaining what will change for exporters of controlled goods if the UK leaves the EU with no deal.

Controlled goods are regulated through a system of export licensing and include:

  • military items • dual-use items (items with both civil and military uses)
  • firearms
  • items that can be used for torture or capital punishment

Go to GOV.UK for further guidance.

Expansion of ePassport gates

As part of the Spring Statement last Wednesday, the Chancellor announced the expansion of ePassport gates to nationals from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the United States of America from June 2019. Citizens of these countries will also be exempt from the landing card requirement from June.

You can read more information about the announcement here.



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