Cautious welcome for new Customs Declaration Service

London, UK: HMRC’s planned new Customs Declaration Service has received a cautious welcome. by the United Kingdom Warehousing Association.

Peter Ward, chief executive, United Kingdom Warehousing Association: “The impact of Brexit on customs regulations is of huge concern to members “

The impact of Brexit on customs regulations is of huge concern to members and is high on the association’s agenda, says Peter Ward, chief executive, United Kingdom Warehousing Association.

“There is considerable confusion among import/export businesses as to what lies ahead,” he said.

“We welcome the introduction of the new CDS [Customs Declaration Service] to replace the Chief [Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight] system, which is desperately outdated and already creaking at the seams, but we need reassurances from the government that the new system will cope with the estimated 200 million extra customs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,” he said.

“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 the Customs Declaration Service through a government gateway account and will be provided with self-service tools, guides and checklists. Some additional information will be required by Customs Declaration Service for declarations to align with the World Customs Organisation Kyoto Convention, currently being implemented in the UK through the Union Customs Code.

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 the association’s forthcoming conference, which will be addressed by representatives from HMRC and the association’s customs advisor, Barbara Scott of Customs Associates. 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 UK, 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 said.

“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 United Kingdom Warehousing Association conference will be held on 7 to 8 March at Casa Hotel, Chesterfield.

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