The United Kingdom Warehousing Association (UKWA) has greeted the HMRC’s planned new Customs Declaration Service with a cautious welcome. According to UKWA’s CEO Peter Ward, the impact of Brexit on customs regulations is of huge concern to members and is high on the association’s agenda.
“There is considerable confusion among import/export businesses as to what lies ahead,” he said. “We welcome the introduction of the new CDS to replace the CHIEF (Customs Handling of Import & Export Freight) system, which is desperately outdated and already creaking at the seams, but we need reassurances from the government that the new system will cope with the estimated 200 million extra customs entries that will result from Brexit. It is imperative that we know when and how it will be launched.
“Arguably, this single most important issue will affect all our lives – it is critical, not just for businesses, but for everyone who depends on the seamless flow of goods into and out of our country, that we get this right.”
Ward challenged the ‘frictionless, uninterrupted trade’ vaunted by the Prime Minister, insisting that the necessary recording of data and collecting of duties and taxes relating to all UK import/export movements post-Brexit will make a smooth transition impossible.
Importers and exporters will be expected to sign into CDS through a Government Gateway account and will be provided with self-service tools, guides and checklists. Some additional information will be required by CDS for declarations to align with the World Customs Organisation Kyoto Convention, currently being implemented in the UK through the Union Customs Code (UCC). In addition, to align UK customs data with international standards, there will also be several changes to location of goods identification.
The coming changes and the impact on import/export businesses in the UK will be firmly under the spotlight at UKWA’s forthcoming National Conference, which will be addressed by representatives from HMRC and UKWA customs advisor Barbara Scott of Customs Associates Ltd. Those attending will learn in more detail what lies ahead, be given guidance on new requirements and have opportunity to ask direct questions on a face-to-face basis.
“In June 2016 over 17 million people voted to leave the EU, but I question how many of those voters even understood the difference between the single market and the Customs Union, let alone the serious ramifications of leaving the Customs Union,” Ward commented. “We don’t yet know where this will end – ‘Hard’, ‘Soft’ or any other kind of Brexit, one thing we know for sure is that it will bring challenges for our industry on an unprecedented scale.”
The UKWA National Conference will be held on 07-08 March at Casa Hotel, Chesterfield.