The UK government has released more than 300 pages of updated advice explaining how the new trade border with the EU will work just hours before it goes into effect, leading business groups to advocate for leniency in the application in the coming months.
The eleventh hour paper released on New Year’s Eve included 70 pages of case stories and complex flow diagrams explaining the new business processes needed to export goods to Europe, including 26 ‘milestones’ for l shipment of fish.
It came hours after Boris Johnson was repeatedly challenged in the Commons by opposition leaders for his claim that his Brexit trade deal with Europe would remove ‘non-tariff barriers’ at the border.
Industry and carriers that are exposed to EU business risks have repeatedly asked the government for clarification on the new processes that took effect on Friday. The HMRC estimated that the trade would lead to more than 215 million additional customs declarations per year.
Rod McKenzie, chief policy officer for the Road Haulage Association, said the late release of the documents characterized the government’s approach to communications in the run-up to the new Brexit frontier going into effect.
“Traders and carriers have been continuously disappointed with government communications: late, inadequate, unclear and confusing. This certainly qualifies in the “late” category. Businesses like to plan their logistics without realizing that everything is left to the very last minute, ”he said.
The combination of pre-Christmas storage and the absence of some road operators until new processes have settled in should minimize immediate problems with trade, but ministers warned of the risk of disruption over the course of the first three months of 2021 as companies adjust.
The document describes in great detail the new processes that will be required to move goods across the border, which will now include customs forms, export health certificates for animal and plant products and a host of other regulatory documents.
For fish and shellfish entering the EU from January 1, the document explains that UK exporters will need to register with a UK economic operator, or an ‘EORI’ number to process customs documents, obtain certificates capture, UK vessel registrations and complete an export veterinary certificate. EU health certificates to ensure compliance with EU rules.
To ensure that the goods are received safely on the other side, the company will need an EU EORI number of the importing member state, a common entry health document and ‘an entry into TRACES, the EU system for the certification of marketed animal products.
At the same time, the carrier will need to have completed an entry summary declaration in order to pre-declare the incoming shipment to EU customs regardless of the country of destination – in the case of France, it is is the IT system “SI Brexit”, but each EU member state uses different software.
Once all the documents are completed, the carrier must apply for a Kent access permit to travel to Channel ports and can then board the ferry to the EU, assuming the documents are correct at the recording. Drivers are advised during the crossing if they need to stop for inspection upon arrival.
Goods arriving from the EU will be subject to checks phased over a six-month period as part of a unilateral UK action to try to keep the flow of traffic flowing and give businesses time to adjust .
UK food and drink exporters will be particularly affected by the new rules, but manufacturers will also have to comply with a long list of new requirements in order to demonstrate that their products comply with EU rules and are sufficiently manufactured in the UK. United Kingdom to be eligible. for zero-tariff entry into the Union’s single market.
Despite requests from business group leaders for the deal to include grace periods, the new rules will enter into force immediately on the EU side, leading to calls for a flexible approach from the authorities responsible for the application on both sides of the chain.
Adam Marshall, managing director of the British Chambers of Commerce, said the information had “arrived quite late in the day” and warned that many companies would take time to familiarize themselves with the details.
“The UK and EU need to put maximum emphasis on cross-border flows in these early months and ease the pressure on business compliance wherever they can,” he said.