Controls at the Border 

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster has delivered a speech in which he confirmed the Government’s plans to introduce full import controls for goods moving into and out of the EU to Great Britain after the transition period ends on 31 December 2020.
This will mean that all goods entering the UK from the EU will be subject to the same checks and controls as goods currently coming from the rest of the world and that there will be new processes that UK exporters and importers of EU goods will have to comply with, whether we reach a new trade agreement or not.

I know many of you are already preparing for life outside the EU, but for other members who’ve yet to start putting new business practice in place I would encourage you to begin your preparations now. (For example, from 1 January 2021 businesses will need to make customs declarations to move goods into and out of the EU; you can therefore prepare for border controls by making sure you have an EORI number if you don’t already have one and you can also look into how to make declarations such as using a customs agent.)

It was also announced this week  that HMRC have extended the deadline for businesses to apply for customs support funding to 31 January 2021. There is still at least £7.5 million available so that more businesses can hire or train experts to deal with customs declarations. Details can be found here.
Freeports Consultation

A public consultation on Freeports policy has been launched and will last for ten weeks. It is proposed that up to 10 Freeports will be introduced across the UK, which will be national hubs for trade, innovation and commerce. The Government’s aim is for Freeports to attract new businesses, jobs, investment and opportunity.

You can find more information and respond to the consultation by 20 April 2020 here
UK Global Tariff Consultation – BFA members can have their say!

The Government has launched a consultation on the UK’s independent tariff which I urge members to give their opinion on.

In setting the tariff rates, the Government will uphold the principles set out in the Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Act 2018, and seeks to balance strategic trade objectives, such as the delivery of the UK’s FTA trade agenda, and to maintain the Government’s commitment to developing countries to reduce poverty through trade.

The consultation offers respondents the opportunity to provide:

  • views on changes to the Common External Tariff to create a bespoke UK tariff regime;
  • specific feedback on individual products or commodity codes of importance to them, including on the corresponding tariff rate; and
  • information on their interactions with MFN tariffs and the importance of tariffs to their sectors.

The consultation will close on 5 March 2020 and an announcement on the UK’s new Global Tariff schedule will follow shortly afterwards.  To have your say find further details here.

New Online Tool ‘Check How to Export Goods’

The Department for International Trade has launched a digital tool to give businesses the information they need to export goods out of the UK market.

This is aimed at helping any business, particularly SMEs, to trade with over 160 markets by providing up to date information and guidance on what they need to know and do in order to export goods to an EU country or to the rest of the world.

BFA members looking to export can input their product commodity code and destination and can then access product-level and country specific information including duties, regulations, customs procedures and trade agreements between the UK and other markets. This tool should help you save time by providing the information that is needed to trade goods in one place and  includes key information on:

·                 Commodity codes

·                 Duties, taxes, charges and quotas

·                 Rules of origin

·                 How to move your goods out of the UK

·                 How to move your goods into other countries/destinations

The service is free to use and is available here. and you can also look here for more information and advice on exporting.
Finally some recent announcements:

Firstly, The Department for International Trade and Export Joint Control Unit has published a notice of the current export licensing arrangements which will continue to apply until the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020. Notice to exporters 2020/03: exporting and trading items subject to strategic controls during the transition period.

Secondly, Companies House has produced guidance to help you find out whether your business will need to change its company registration from 1 January 2021, and how to do this. Changing your company registration from 1 January 2021.

Lastly, as outlined in my last update Government negotiations surrounding a free trade agreement are ongoing and the UK  is now in a transition period until the end of 2020. Although this is a time of change there are still some steps you can take now to ensure your business is fully prepared. This link provides a list of actions of what you can do now, all transition period information and the opportunity for you to sign up to email alerts about the transition period.

Best regards,


Lucy Reece-Raybould

BFA Chief Executive