Operate after Brexit

Changes from January 2022

Trade with the EU - changes from January 2022

HM Government's temporary easements for businesses moving goods from, to and through Great Britain have ended. Find guidance and new regulations you need to be aware of from 1 January 2022.

What's changed?

  • Import easements ended on 1 January 2022
  • Other new import rules planned for July, September and November 2022 are on hold

From 1 January 2021, Great Britain ceased to be part of the EU Single Market and Customs Union.

For businesses that move goods from, to or through Great Britain, this has meant following HM Government’s new Border Operating Model (updated June 2022) – a blueprint setting out the new customs formalities and other regulatory requirements.

The following guidance features highlights from the 150-page Border Operating Model document, which you are recommended to check for guidance on goods specific to you, either as exporter or importer.

Changes phased in

To allow businesses to prepare for Border Operating Model changes, HM Government has phased in these new border control processes. A series of temporary easements were introduced, including allowing GB importers to defer making customs declarations on goods being brought into GB from the EU.

Easements ended

Government easements on import processes ended as of 1 January 2022 (with the exception of goods entering GB from the island of Ireland – to allow for ongoing negotiations over the Northern Ireland Protocol).

If you are an exporter that imports components of your goods from the EU, read the following ‘Imports from EU’ section as this will be most relevant to you.

1. Imports from EU checklist (1 January 2022)

Changes introduced from 1 January 2022

1.1 Customs declarations due

As an importer of goods from the EU, you can no longer delay making customs declarations into HMRC’s systems (CHIEF or CDS).

The default import declaration you need to make is called the ‘full frontier declaration’– or FFD in short. You need to make this declaration if you imported goods from the EU during 2021.

Your FFD contains all the required customs information in one declaration, allowing you to complete all your customs declarations processes in one go and removing the need for a supplementary declaration to be completed after the goods move.

If you are the importer, it is your responsibility to ensure the information about your goods, such as the commodity code (see HM Government guidance), is declared correctly on your declaration.

If using a customs broker, be sure to send clear and precise information in your written instruction.

1.2 Customs declarations: simplified procedures

As importers, you have another option called simplified declaration procedures which allows you or your intermediaries to clear goods for import using streamlined processes.

  • This allows you to submit or record only essential information relating to the goods movements at the point of entry into GB
  • You provide the remaining customs data required via a supplementary declaration (SDI) by the fourth working day of the month following when the goods arrive in GB

Apply for authorisation

1.3 Customs declarations: Pay duties owed

Your FFD also accounts for the taxes and duties you need to pay at the point of import, before your goods are cleared for entry into GB. If you imported during 2021, there may be duties outstanding which you need to pay.

Importers who have a duty deferment account (DDA) can postpone duty and tax payments associated with the FFD until the 15th day of the month following the goods movement.

A DDA provides the cashflow benefit of deferring customs duty, import VAT and excise duty for an average of 30 days.

Find out more and how to apply 

1.4 Rules of origin – pay lower or zero tariffs

The EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) allows importers to benefit from zero tariffs (or customs duties) on goods.

However, your EU supplier/exporter needs to provide you with evidence that the goods originate in either the UK or EU for the zero tariffs to apply.

As a GB importer, you can claim tariff preference on import if you have one of the following:

  • A statement on origin – this must be made out by your supplier/exporter to confirm that the product originates in the EU
  • Importer’s knowledge – this option allows you, the importer, to claim tariff preference based on your own knowledge of where the goods you are importing originate from

Check to see if your goods meet the TCA’s rules of origin

1.5 Customs declarations: GVMS and 'pre-lodgement model'

Certain GB border locations are implementing the 'pre-lodgement model', whereby customs declarations need to be submitted before departure and validated on HM Government’s new border control IT system, the Goods Vehicle Movement Service (GVMS), in advance of the goods being taken onboard vessels in the EU.

Detailed technical requirements at certain ports have been summarised in an easy to view format by the Institute of Export & International Trade.

Hauliers will:

  • Need to confirm pre-lodged declarations for the goods they are carrying into GB, using GVMS, to generate a Goods Movement Reference (GMR) number
  • Not be allowed to board any ferry heading to a GB port adopting the pre-lodgement model if they do not possess a GMR

Other ports will be adopting a temporary storage model whereby customs formalities are completed for the goods entering GB while they are in storage at that port for a maximum time of 90 days.

1.6 Pre-notification of sanitary and phytosanitary imports

If you are importing sanitary and phytosanitary goods, including live animals and animal by-products, the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) or Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) need to be pre-notified from 1 January 2022:

Certification, physical checks and entry via an official Border Control Post (BCP) port on agri-food imports from the EU commence on 1 July.

2. Imports from EU checklist

Planned changes from 1 July 2022 on hold

In April 2022, HM Government announced that there would be no further import controls on EU goods introduced this year.

Therefore, the government will not impose further physical sanitary checks on agri-food (animals, animal products, plants and plant products) imports to Great Britain from the EU, due to have started on 1 July.

Under the original Border Operating Model schedule, physical checks on meat imports, plants and plant products were due to start on 1 July 2022 and on dairy on 1 September, with all remaining foods including fish and composite foods to be subject to checks from 1 November.

2.1 Staying in place

  • Current controls (physical inspection and health certification) introduced in January 2021 on the highest risk categories of live animals and animal by-products not for human consumption will continue at Border Control Posts (BCP) on arrival in GB
  • Checks on high-priority plants and plant products will continue to take place ‘at destination’, rather than the planned 1 July move to a BCP on arrival in GB. These products will continue to need phytosanitary certification
  • DEFRA still requires pre-notification of SPS imports into the IPAFFS system – mandatory since January 2022
  • Frequency of checks and charges for imports of plants and plant products – for more information, read guidance from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

2.2 Changes to 1 July schedule

From 1 July there will be no requirement for:

  • Physical, documentary and identity checks on SPS imports from the EU at the GB border (aside from those checks outlined in 2.1 above)
  • ENS (safety and security) declarations
  • Prohibitions and restrictions on the import of chilled meats
  • Export Health Certificates for animal-origin products, or phytosanitary certificates for plants and plants products
  • Certificate of Inspection for organic goods
  • Certificate of Conformity for some fresh produce subject to marketing standards
A new digital approach

In place of the changes scheduled for 1 July, HM Government is targeting the end of 2023 as the revised introduction date for its new import controls regime – for goods from the EU and the rest of the world. It will explain this regime in its new Target Operating Model this Autumn.

Part of this new approach is a move towards digitising customs and SPS checks.

The government says its new approach will be based on an assessment of risk, with a proportionate, risk-based and technologically-advanced approach to controls.

This includes a UK Single Trade Window which will start to deliver from 2023, the creation of an Ecosystem of Trust between government and industry and other transformational projects as part of the government’s 2025 UK Border Strategy.

3. Imports from Ireland checklist (1 January 2022)

Changes from 1 January 2022 – temporary easements stay in place

3.1 GB importers of standard (non-controlled) goods from the island of Ireland

  • Requirement for import declarations continues to be delayed
  • GVMS is not needed for goods moving through GB pre-lodgement ports
  • No pre-notification required by GB importer for sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) goods unless deemed high-risk
  • INSTRATAT (the EU system for collecting data on intra-EU goods movements) arrivals need to be submitted for GB imports from Ireland (where value threshold has been met)

4. Exports to EU checklist (1 January 2022)

Changes from 1 January 2022

4.1 Goods Vehicle Movement Service (GVMS)

Certain GB border locations are using HM Government’s new border control IT system, the Goods Vehicle Movement Service (GVMS).

Detailed technical requirements at certain ports have been summarised in an easy to view format by the Institute of Export & International Trade.

From 1 January 2022, GB exporters sending goods to the EU (including Ireland):

  • Hauliers to check the port through which your goods will leave GB – either GVMS or Inventory Linked
  • For goods moving through pre-lodgement (GVMS) ports, standard information is needed for GVMS to create GMR (goods movement reference) for goods to board the vessel
  • Check detailed customs procedures to be taken

Rules of origin for exporters

The EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) allows importers to benefit from zero tariffs (or customs duties) on goods:

  • Throughout 2021, GB exporters have had access to an easement allowing them to export goods to the EU under preferential trade arrangements. Under these arrangements exporters were not required to hold supplier declarations (as evidence that goods being used in manufacture are eligible for preferential duty rates to apply) at the time of export.
  • From 1 January 2022, this easement no longer applies. As the GB exporter, you must provide the EU importer with a statement on origin to indicate that the goods being exported meet the TCA’s rules of origin and are eligible for preferential duty rates to apply.

5. Exports to EU checklist (15 January 2022)

Changes from 15 January 2022

5.1 Sanitary and phytosanitary exports: Export Health Certificates required

While not related to UK Border Operating Model, this requirement comes with new EU legislation for suppliers of products of animal origin, composite food products and plant products, resulting in change for health certification for certain products:

If you export products of animal origin (POAO) and composite food products, here are actions to take:

  • Apply for an Export Health Certificate (EHC)
  • Find the appropriate EHC for your product
  • Read the terms and conditions of the EHC to identify whether goods the meet criteria for export to the EU
  • For certain POAO, GB-based suppliers/exporters need to be registered as an ‘approved establishment’ in the EU. Details of businesses already approved and how to register can be found on Food Standards Scotland.
  • Apply for EHC and nominate official for inspection
  • Your customer, the EU importer, should pre-notify EU authorities at the relevant EU Border Control Post prior to goods arriving via TRACES
  • Certified EHC travels with goods, and goods enter EU via relevant Border Control Post for checks

If you are exporting plant products:

For further information, visit DEFRA.GOV 

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