Border Controls on GB-EU trade in 2021

Border controls on GB-EU trade in 2021

The government released an announcement last week on the approach to border controls on GB-EU trade in 2021 and it formally notified the EU that it will not accept or seek an extension to the Transition Period.

Border controls are being introduced in stages up until 1 July 2021, to give businesses more time to prepare. An email that we have received from HM Revenue & Customs states that the stages are:

  • “From January 2021: Traders importing standard goods will need to prepare for basic customs requirements and will have up to six months to complete customs declarations. Tariff payments can be deferred until the customs declaration has been made. Traders moving controlled goods such as tobacco and toxic chemicals will be required to complete a customs declaration. 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) 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 Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) commodities there will be an increase in physical checks and the taking of samples.”

The email states that This approach does not apply to the flow of trade between Northern Ireland and Ireland, or between Northern Ireland and GB.”

The UK Global Tariff will apply to all goods imported into the UK from 1 January 2021, unless an exception applies. The measures announced by the government will not apply to third countries outside of the EU. Full import controls will continue to apply on trade between the UK and third countries outside of the EU and EEA.

In the publication, the government makes various pledges to support the customs infrastructure – it remains to be seen whether practical, efficient and robust  infrastructure can be put in place in the time-frame – particularly with the other challenges the government, and UK as a whole, are currently facing. The government has advised that a border operating model will be published in July 2020.

The government announcement can be found