Just a few weeks to go and still the UK has no withdrawal deal with the EU, despite invoking Article 50 in March 2017 with the UK Government Brexit ministers assuring us that the withdrawal deal with the EU would be the simplest of deals to conclude. Plus, in spite of the promises from the relevant Government business ministers that the UK would have close on ‘40 free trade deals’ agreed and ready to start ‘the second after midnight on 29 March 2019’; the UK has 6 such trade deals. It is certainly not going to be an easy ride for UK traders when 29 March 2019 finally arrives if we still have no deal with the EU.
All is not lost as HMRC have written to all UK traders that import and or export to the EU detailing what should be done if there is no deal between the UK and the EU. If you are a UK trader and have not received the HMRC letter you should contact HMRC immediately. The salient points from the summary of the HMRC advice as to what a UK trader is to do if the UK has a no deal with the EU from 29 March 2019 is repeated below:
- Trades with the EU only - register for a UK Economic Operator Identification (EORI) number. No EORI no trade with the EU. Apply online at: http://www.gov.uk/hmrc/get-eori
- Trades with EU and rest of the World - EORI register as above and make sure the existing EU trade rules/systems etc are complied with.
- Only trades with the rest of the World - current customs processes remain in place, although you may need to adapt to certain systems or processes that have changed as a result of the UK leaving the EU e.g. the terms of those 6 new trade deals coming in from ‘the second after midnight’ on 29 March 2019.
- Importing to the UK from the EU - there are to be Transitional Simplified Procedures (TSP) which means for a year from 29 March 2019, UK traders who have signed up to TSP and are importing goods (not controlled goods) from the EU through certain designated UK ports will have their goods waved through Customs, with the full custom declaration made after the goods have crossed into the UK. This will include a month’s grace for the payment of the customs duty. To find the terms and conditions and also to sign up for the TSP go online at: http://www.gov.uk/hmrc/eu-simple-importing
The above is all very well and clearly shows that the UK is trying to avoid gridlock at the borders with the EU from 29 March 2019, but there is of course another party involved - the EU! Business leaders on the other side of the English Channel have warned that a ‘no deal Brexit’ will bring chaos to both sides of the Channel, not least because the authorities in France will still want to check goods being imported to France from the UK. The scenario of Kent as a lorry park will be in the control of the French authorities.
Kent Traffic Control System
In an attempt to bring some kind of order to lorries waiting to take goods to the EU across the English Channel from Kent, the University School of Computing and Kent Business School are developing a digital solution. In effect, it creates a virtual queue which lorry drivers would join when they are ready to travel. Managed through an App or Text messages, the drivers would then be advised as to delays at the Kent lorry park(s) and instructed to delay journeys or to have a break in their journey. This hopes to reduce the physical wait required for the lorries in Kent.
The above proposed digital system will therefore manage the lorries via the virtual queue, enabling communications/updates to the position in Kent to be made known to the drivers of the lorries (before the lorries arrive in Kent). It is also intended that the system will be mandatory with financial penalties for those who ignore the virtual queue instructions.
Sounds like a good hi-tech solution…. let us hope it is finalised and in place by 29 March 2019!
How HaesCooper Can Help
Despite the current Brexit uncertainty, we remain vigilant as to Brexit and will report to clients via our blog - including the Brexit developments and the impact on their businesses as and when the Brexit terms are established and agreed with the EU in the future.