HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has announced plans to phase in Entry Summary Declarations should the UK leave the EU without a deal this March.
In a report published this week, the Government said the measure is designed to “give businesses more time to prepare for changes to EU-UK trade arrangements”.
Entry Summary Declarations are currently used when importing goods from the rest of the world. They are used to notify customs authorities of goods and transport vehicles arriving in the country with the purpose of making a risk analysis of the cargo.
However, should the UK leave the EU without a trade agreement in place, Entry Summary Declarations will be required when importing goods from the EU.
With around 60 per cent of UK trade currently covered by EU agreements, this is set to be a major change for businesses importing goods into the UK from anywhere overseas.
To avoid significant disruption, HMRC has confirmed plans to temporarily maintain the status quo for a period of six months to give businesses time to prepare.
After six months have elapsed, carriers will then be legally responsible for ensuring Entry Summary Declarations are submitted pre-arrival to HMRC at the time specified by mode of transport.
Commenting on the plans, Financial Secretary to the Treasury Mel Stride MP said: “We’ve listened to businesses and are responding to their concerns.
“We have been adamant that in the event of no deal, trade must continue at our borders, and we will continue to make our borders secure.
“Maintaining continuity with the current system for the first six months and phasing Entry Summary Declarations in will ensure we deliver on that promise.”
The news follows the announcement of Transitional Simplified Procedures for customs, giving around 145,000 VAT-registered businesses trading with the EU more time to prepare for usual import processes.
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