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  • New rules for trading with the EU

    The way we do business with the EU has changed. There are new customs and tax rules that you need to follow if your business moves goods:
    • between Great Britain and countries in the EU
    • or under the Northern Ireland Protocol.
    Your business will be affected if you:
    • buy goods from an EU seller and bring them into the UK
    • send goods that you’ve sold to a buyer in an EU country
    • have not exchanged money but need to move equipment that you use for your business, between the UK and the EU.
    We’re here to help you understand what these changes mean for you. This is the third of our new, regular emails, where we share the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions from our helplines and webinars. This week it’s answers to common questions about how to:
    • classify your goods
    • claim preferential rates of duty when you import and export goods between the UK and the EU
    1. How do I classify my goods in my import and export declarations?
    You need to use a commodity code (also known as a tariff code) to classify your goods when you complete import or export declarations.
    HMRC uses these codes to work out how much Customs Duty or VAT you owe on goods that you move into or out of the UK.
    If you use the wrong code:
    • your goods could be delayed or seized
    • you might pay the wrong amount of duty or VAT – if you pay too little, you may have to pay extra charges
    You can use the Trade Tariff tool on GOV.UK to find the correct commodity code for your goods. If you have hired a customs intermediary to deal with your import and export declarations, they will be able to help, but you will need to provide accurate information about your goods. Some goods are harder to classify than others. If you’ve tried to find the commodity code for your goods and you’re still not sure which one to use, you can ask HMRC for help to classify your goods.
    Once you have the correct code, you can check if you need to pay duty or VAT, and how much. You can also see if there are any duty reliefs or restrictions on your goods, or if you need a licence to move them.
    2. How can I claim preferential rates of duty for goods that I import from or export to the EU?
    If your goods originate in the EU or UK, you may be able to claim a preferential rate of duty, if:
    • you import the goods into the UK
    • you export the goods to a country in the EU
    • the goods will be released into free circulation in the UK or EU
    This means you’ll not need to pay Customs Duty on these goods. To benefit from preferential rates of duty when you import into the UK from the EU (or import into the EU from the UK), you’ll need to follow these steps:
    Step 1: Check if your goods are covered by the UK’s deal with the EU
    You’ll need to classify your goods correctly, to confirm if they’re included in the UK’s deal with the EU; the Trade and Co-operation Agreement (TCA). Here’s more information about the rules of origin requirements under the UK’s deal with the EU.
    Step 2: Check if your goods meet the rules of origin
    To claim preferential rates of duty, your goods must originate in the EU or UK (as the exporting country). You’ll need to check if your goods meet the rules of origin and product specific rules. Rules of origin determine where your goods originate from. This means the place where they’ve been produced or manufactured, their 'economic nationality', rather than where they’ve been shipped or bought from.
    Step 3: Get proof that your goods meet the rules of origin
    You’ll need to declare that you have proof that the goods comply with the rules of origin.
    Step 4: Find out how to complete your import or export declaration
    You will need to include this information in your import or export declaration.
    If your goods do not meet the rules of origin requirements, (or if you cannot prove that the goods meet them) you’ll need to pay Customs Duty, unless your goods are eligible to claim a relief from customs charges (there’s more information on this in the answer to question 3 below). You’ll be able to find out the rate of duty you need to pay when you classify your goods.
    The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy have published a short video about rules of origin requirements for UK-EU trade. Register now for instant access to the video.
    3. Can I claim preferential rates of duty for goods that I import into the UK from the EU and reexport to an EU country?
    If you import goods into the UK from the EU and re-export them to an EU country, you may be able to claim preferential rates of duty when you re-export the goods, if they meet the rules of origin requirements.
    This will depend on whether:
    • the goods originated in the EU
    • you’ve altered or substantially processed the goods in the UK.
    For example, if a UK business imports silver from the EU that was produced in the EU, the goods will be eligible for the preferential zero rate of duty, under the terms of the UK’s deal with the EU (the TCA). The business cannot return the silver to the EU at the preferential zero rate of duty. But, if the business processes the goods to turn them into a product with UK origin (for example jewellery), the goods would be eligible for the preferential zero rate of duty under the terms of the TCA.
    If your goods are not eligible for preferential rates of duty you may be able to claim Returned Goods Relief (RGR) in the EU instead. RGR provides relief from charges on re-imported goods into the EU that have previously been exported. You can get this relief if your goods meet the conditions – including that the goods have been in free circulation in the EU when they were exported and must be re-imported in an unaltered state, apart from any work that may have been carried out to maintain the goods in working order.
    Please note, you’ll need to get guidance on RGR into the EU from the customs authority of the EU country that you export your goods to. Here’s more information about RGR for goods re-imported into the UK.
    Use our new importing from and re-exporting union goods to the EU flowchart available on GOV.UK, to help you find out if the goods you want to re-export to the EU will be eligible for:
    • preferential rates of duty
    • or for RGR in the EU instead.
    Help and support
    We hope that you’ve found these answers useful. If you need more help, please take advantage of the support that’s available and:
    • register for the free Trader Support Service if you move goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland
    • attend one of our live webinars or watch our short videos about key actions for importing and exporting with the EU
    • use the Brexit checker on GOV.UK to understand HMRC processes for importing, exporting or customs relief and keep your business moving
    • call our Customs and International Trade helpline on 0300 322 9434, for more help with importing, exporting or customs reliefs – the helpline is open from 8am to 10pm Monday to Friday and from 8am to 4pm at weekends.
    • send us your questions or webchat
    If you’ve not taken all the necessary actions before you try to move your goods you could face delays and extra costs. Please act now and make sure you have the correct authorisations, contracts and agreements in place to keep your business moving.
  • RE: 24 February 2021

    Q.5 Will Heather's update about Carnet and T1's be sent around or is there a link please? A. Yes, it will be included in the BPDG weekly bulletin.
  • RE: 24 February 2021

    Q.4 Is there a link to the Ireland webinar mentioned? A. This is being delivered to trade associations but the outputs will be shared.
  • RE: 24 February 2021

    Q.3 Where is the link to the Irish webinar for future SPS checks, please? A. This is being delivered to trade associations but the outputs will be shared.
  • RE: 24 February 2021

    Q.2 With regards to updates, are there any implications for London that local govt should be aware of? (It sounds like there arent any, but wanted to confirm as calls won't go ahead next week) A. Tom Smith stated on the call no nothing new to what we have already stated to date- engagement between Defra and local authorities continues.
  • 24 February 2021

    Q.1 Could you please let us know if you have any updates on empty runnings? A. Tom Smith stated on the call, No, the only update we have is the one we have previously put out in the public domain, i.e. On the 29th January 2020 we were asked on this call "What proportion of lorries across the short straights are travelling GB-EU empty? ITV were reporting 65% empty at Dunkirk and Calais last week, which was much higher than the 30% mentioned at PAC?" We answered : "BPDG's BOC are looking into this as it is a cause of concern however we believe the figure is actually down to 50% empties."
  • 22 February 2021

    Q.1 Is there any substance to the rumour that HGV drivers will not need a PCR test if they are in the UK less than 48 hours? A. Drivers returning to France from the UK on a round-trip who have spent less than 48 hours in the UK do not need to test negative for coronavirus before travelling. Cross-channel operators will give drivers evidence of the time of their trip to the UK. Drivers will need to show this at check-in for the return journey. French authorities will recognise proof of a negative coronavirus test taken in Ireland if the test was taken less than 72 hours before departure from the UK for France.
  • RE: 17 February 2021

    Q.8 Can you please confirm whether there is a better summary of all goods subject to EU prohibitions and restrictions than the annex to George Eustice's letter to industry of 14/12/20. I gather that GB is likely to impose similar restrictions on EU goods from 1st April. A. The EU Prohibitions and Restrictions for Customs list can be found here:
  • RE: 17 February 2021

    Q.7 Has Manston been added to the Freight APP as it wasn't on there earlier this week?
    A. Please refer here:
    Manston is not available on the digital service and is closed due to the limited facilities and capacity.
  • RE: 17 February 2021

    Q.6 I am preparing a webinar which will look at operation of the trade deal. Is BPDG able to share any stats on traffic levels or on how well outgoing hauliers are prepared for new EU border regs (eg: turnbacks), please? A. Unfortunately due to commercial sensitivity, we are unable to share port HGV turnback figures.