Import and Export of Goods Post Brexit and Changes to Customs Regulations

As predicted by many people in the lead up to Brexit and during the transition period potential changes to procedures at customs stations and the application of duties and taxes have caused some disruption to imports and exports for the HE Sector. UKUPC worked with supply chains within awarded framework to ensure preparations were made and minimum effects would be felt in provision of goods from the EU and this approach was successful in the main but what of on going effects of changes and how can they be mitigated?
There has been minimal effect on the HE sector from Brexit in terms of affecting exports but in the same period changes to the customs regulations brought into effect through the World Customs Organisation now require the use of Harmonisation (HS) Codes providing detailed inventory of contents for all exports. This is done by providing shippers with a completed CN22 or CN23 form depending on value of contents but the disruption and added admin may occur.
The main impact on imports for the sector has been that since the UK has left the Customs Union the rules regulating countries outside of the EU have simply been adopted for imports from the EU, this means all imports which may previously have had a smooth journey through customs will now be stopped if applicable to duties and taxes. Depending on arrangements with the logistical company importing these goods may be held at customs until the person / company listed on the declaration form as the importing party pay the duties and taxes resulting in significant delays.
It should also be noted that currently for any goods valued under £135 the supplier is responsible for the collection and payment of VAT to HMRC which while making things simpler for the buyer has increased reluctance in some areas of supply due to additional administration and dealing with payments direct to HMRC from suppliers.
Options to mitigate disruption
All couriers awarded to the National HE Couriers Framework have committed to advising on completion of documentation and can also offer advise on additional ways to mitigate the potential delays. Some options include:
  • Establishing a deferment account for the University which can be charged for any fees and paid to HMRC at the end of each financial period (usually monthly). While this option will reduce or remove any issues at customs it will require additional work to administer and allocate any charges at the end of each period. Further details on deferment accounts can be found here.
  • Some couriers on the framework will allow use of their company deferment accounts to speed passage of goods. Again this will resolve any delays at customs but it has been noted by some Universities that this can lead to some billing issues where devolved ordering is in place or even in cases where student residences are on campus and the University address is listed as the receiving party. NEUPC and a number of University members are currently working with appropriate couriers to see if these issues can be overcome.
  • Where possible ensure that goods are bought Duties and Taxes Paid (DTP) by the supplier which will negate the majority of issues that may arise during transit and at import to the UK.
For further information on the HE Couriers Framework please visit HE Contracts or contact Andy Hughes 
Further reading: