UK offers simplified customs system to apply for ‘no deal’ Brexit

We take a look at HMRC's proposed plan post Brexit

This week, HMRC announced their plan to try to counteract the disruption from a ‘no deal’ Brexit.

The Transitional Simplified Procedures (TSP) for customs were shared by letter to 145,000 VAT registered businesses trading with the EU.

The TSP is intended to make importing easier for a period of one year, if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. It is hoped that businesses will then have the time to prepare for usual import processes, with HMRC confirming that they would give at least a 12 month notice period before the easements in the TSP are withdrawn.

Once businesses are registered for the TSP, they should be able to transport goods from the EU into the UK without having to make a full customs declaration at the border. They will also be able to postpone paying any import duties to one month post import.

Mel Stride, the Treasury Minister, reiterated that “leaving the EU with a deal remains the government’s top priority”. She claims that this procedure is just reflective of the steps the government must make to prepare for all eventualities.

When speaking to the Institute of Import and Export, Phil Tobin, Managing Director at Bibby Financial Services said that such efforts will “not be enough to stop a customs nightmare in the event of a no deal Brexit”. Many are concerned that even though the procedure intends to reduce the amount of information importers need to provide, there are still likely to be blockages in the queue which will affect importers who rely on being moved quickly through the border.

Robert Keen, Director General of the British International Freight Association (BIFA), told LlodsLoadingList that they are concerned that while the proposed easements will make it easier for new applications to obtain authorizations “there does not appear to be equivalent liberalization of the regimes for existing holders, such as freight forwarders”. It is their belief that this skews favor for new applicants while discriminating against existing holders.