Brexit and Customs
With regards to Customs and the export of goods, the Commission noted in its communication of 19 December that if the Withdrawal Agreement is not ratified, all relevant EU legislation on imported goods and exported goods will apply as of the withdrawal date (29 March 2019).
This includes the levying of duties and taxes and the respect of the formalities and controls required by the current legal framework, in order to ensure a level playing field. The Commission noted that Member State action continues to be essential. Member States must take all necessary steps to be in a position, as from the withdrawal date in case the withdrawal agreement is not ratified, to apply the Union Customs Code and the relevant rules on indirect taxation to all imports from and exports to the United Kingdom. The Commission also added that they should use the existing possibilities to issue authorisations for facilitation measures provided for in the Union Customs Code. In meetings with the Member States, the Commission has provided detailed information on the options available under the Union Customs Code. CLECAT appreciates these efforts, as this was also requested and discussed by CLECAT’s Brexit Working Group.
The Commission has moreover adopted, on 19 December two technical measures. A Delegated Regulation to include the seas surrounding the United Kingdom in the provisions on time-limits within which entry summary declarations and pre-departure declarations have to be lodged prior to entering or leaving the Union’s customs territory. The regulation ensures that Entry and Exit Summary Declarations can be lodged at the latest two hours before departure from a port in the customs territory of the Union, instead of 24. The other adopted regulation concerns export of dual-use items. If the Withdrawal Agreement is not ratified, the export of dual-use items from the EU to the United Kingdom, as of the withdrawal date, will require individual licenses. To facilitate controls on the export to the United Kingdom of dual use items as of the withdrawal date in case of no-deal and to ensure the good functioning of the export authorisation, the Commission has adopted a proposal for a Regulation to add the United Kingdom to the list of countries for which a general authorisation to export dual-use items is valid throughout the EU.
Furthermore, the UK has communicated that it is set to remain in the Common Transit Convention (CTC) after Brexit. The CTC is used for moving goods between the EU member states, the EFTA countries (Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland) as well as Turkey, Macedonia and Serbia. The UK is currently a member of the CTC while it is in the EU and has successfully negotiated membership in its own right after Brexit. This would apply to any new trading relationship with the EU or in the unlikely event of a no deal. Membership of the CTC will help ensure that trade moves freely between the UK and CTC members after the UK leaves the EU. It will provide cashflow benefits to traders and aid trade flow at key points of entry into the UK, as traders will only have to make customs declarations and pay import duties when they arrive at their final destination. In case of a no-deal situation the CTC will also be applied.
The UK has also updated most of its technical notices in case of a no deal situation, as a result of the UK’s Cabinet agreement on 18 December to proceed with the Government’s next phase of no deal planning.