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Brexit Update

10 December 2020

Brexit

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Read our latest update covering the recent announcements made for Brexit and how this could impact you...

1. Goods Vehicle Movement Services (GVMS).This is a new government IT border control system that will help to speed the movement of road freight across the UK-EU border.  It is slightly behind the original delivery schedule and is due for live testing next week.  It enables declaration references (CHIEF, CDS, EORI, carnet number, Security & Safety declaration, transit movement documents) to be grouped or linked together, creating a single Goods Movement Record (GMR) for Border Force staff and hauliers. It will demonstrate that all documents have been lodged for a single movement, tell lorry drivers where to report at the port, and confirm to hauliers before arrival at the port, that goods have been successfully cleared.

2. The UK has agreed a three-month grace period with the EU for the movement of certain goods from Scotland, England and Wales to Northern Ireland, from “trusted traders”.  It is particularly important for large UK supermarkets moving food to their retail shops in Northern Ireland.  It temporarily removes the need for Border Force and HMRC sanitary and phytosanitary checks and health certificates.  Such checks and documents will still be required for the movement of live animals including horses from GB to NI from 1 January.

3. Further evidence of likely delays at the UK border in early January for road freight arose this week when Honda suspended manufacture at their Swindon car plant in response to the lack of parts due to delays at UK ports especially Felixstowe, Southampton and London Gateway.  This week there were also further lorry tailbacks in Kent due to absent Border Force staff and increased stockpiling by UK businesses for Christmas and Brexit. The cycle retailer Brompton has over 1.5 million parts held at UK ports or in transit awaiting delivery to their London assembly facility.

4. The ability of the UK to determine its own customs duty rates separate from the EU, presented in the UK tariff, which comes into force on 1 January 2021, was demonstrated this week, by the decision of the UK government to remove the existing retaliatory customs rates for imported USA goods, imposed by the EU in response to the ongoing dispute about state subsidies of the their respective airline manufacturers, Airbus and Boeing.  These higher EU tariffs were approved by the World Trade Organisation (WTO).  The UK government explained that this decision is to encourage the USA to enter into negotiations for a free trade deal with the UK.  The UK’s ability to set its own customs duty rates must still meet the overall principles of the WTO, of which the UK is a member.  The WTO principles include a goal to discourage protection, reduce dumping and the “most favoured nation” which states that reciprocal free trade deals are allowed but otherwise a tariff rate granted to one WTO member must be granted to all members.