10. Brexit: border controls and end of transition period
Government has announced the current transition period will not be extended and controls for importing goods will now apply from July 2021.
Recognising the impact of coronavirus on businesses’ ability to prepare, and following the announcement in February that the UK would implement full border controls on imports coming into GB from the EU, the UK has taken the decision to introduce the new border controls in three stages up until 1 July 2021.
The stages are:
• From January 2021: Traders importing standard goods, covering everything from clothes to electronics, will need to prepare for basic customs requirements, such as keeping sufficient records of imported goods, and will have up to six months to complete customs declarations. While tariffs will need to be paid on all imports, payments can be deferred until the customs declaration has been made. There will be checks on controlled goods like alcohol and tobacco. Businesses will also need to consider how they account for VAT on imported goods. There will also be physical checks at the point of destination on all high risk live animals and a proportion of low-risk live animals.
• From April 2021: All products of animal origin (POAO) – for example meat, pet food, honey, milk or egg products – and all regulated plants and plant products will also require pre-notification and the relevant health documentation.
• From July 2021: Traders moving all goods will have to make declarations at the point of importation and pay relevant tariffs. Full Safety and Security declarations will be required, while for SPS commodities there will be an increase in physical checks and the taking of samples: checks for animals, plants and their products will now take place at GB Border Control Posts.
To support businesses with the new processes taking effect next year, the Government has developed a new £50m package to boost the capacity of customs intermediaries. Additionally, the Government has committed to building new border facilities in Great Britain for carrying out required checks, such as customs compliance, transit, and Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) checks, as well as providing targeted support to ports to build new infrastructure.
The Government updated proposals to control imports from January 2021 in light of the COVID-19 crisis. From January 2021, controls will apply to all goods. Traders will be able to delay submission of full customs declarations and payments by six months, with the exception of controlled goods which will need a full declaration from January. All products from animal origins will need health certification and documentation checks from April. From July 2021, all traders will make declarations and pay tariffs at the time of importation.