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Navigating Customs Simplification Measures: December 2023 Update

4 min read

Navigating Customs Simplification Measures: December 2023 Update

In an effort to enhance the customs experience for businesses, the UK government has unveiled a series of customs simplification measures. These measures are designed to streamline procedures, reduce administrative burdens, and pave the way for a more efficient customs landscape.

1. Voluntary Standard for Customs Intermediaries

The government has laid the groundwork for a voluntary standard aimed at customs intermediaries. Developed in collaboration with the British Standards Institute, this standard will provide a framework for certification. The initiative is set to kick off in Spring 2024 and promises to align customs practices with industry best practices.

2. Simplification of Customs Declarations

One of the standout changes is the simplification of customs declarations for both imports and exports. By trimming down the number of required data fields by up to 25%, the government aims to expedite the clearance process. This move will not only save time but also foster a more user-friendly customs environment. Stakeholder engagement will be pivotal in implementing these changes, with a particular focus on leveraging technology to transform border operations.

3. Temporary Admission Review

The government is actively exploring options to streamline and enhance the Temporary Admission procedure. This review encompasses considerations like eligibility criteria, usage conditions, and timing requirements. Engaging with stakeholders in early 2024, this review seeks to simplify temporary admission procedures while maintaining compliance with regulations.

4. Modernising Authorisations

The Modernising Authorisations project is set to revolutionise customs and excise authorisation processes. By consolidating 42 authorisation processes into just 5 customs groups, this initiative promises greater efficiency. The project’s cornerstone is a customer portal slated for launch in 2024, with the entire transformation expected to conclude in 2025.

5. Changes to Customs Guarantees

Starting in 2024, changes to customs guarantees will open up opportunities for more traders to access customs procedures without requiring a financial guarantee. For duty deferment accounts under £30,000, financial guarantees will no longer be mandatory. This change stands to benefit traders, potentially leading to annual savings of up to £2,800.

6. Transit Policy Simplifications

From December 7, 2023, authorised consignees will no longer need to physically unload goods at approved locations for transit movements, provided they originated at an authorised consignor’s approved location and were sealed during transit. Additionally, the requirement for export declarations when goods are loaded onto ships, trains, or planes in GB for onboard consumption will be removed, with the condition of retaining evidence of goods leaving GB. In 2024, a digital process will be introduced as part of the Modernising Authorisations project, further simplifying transit movements from new locations.

These customs simplification measures collectively represent a significant step forward. They aim to reduce the administrative complexities businesses face when dealing with customs, making international trade more accessible, efficient, and cost-effective.

As businesses look ahead, these changes promise to transform the customs landscape, offering a smoother journey for traders.

This is summarised in the following table:

Voluntary Standard for Customs IntermediariesDevelopment of a voluntary standard in collaboration with the British Standards Institution, suitable for certification. Starting Spring 2024.
Simplification of Customs DeclarationsReduction of required data fields by up to 25% for both import and export customs declarations. Stakeholder engagement for implementation and technology integration.
Temporary Admission ReviewExploration of simplified and improved Temporary Admission procedure, including eligibility criteria, usage conditions, and timing requirements. Stakeholder engagement in 2024. 
Modernising AuthorisationsStreamlining and digitizing customs and excise authorization processes, reducing 42 authorization processes to 5 customs groups. Customer portal launch in 2024, concluding in 2025. 
Changes to Customs GuaranteesFrom 2024, fewer traders will require financial guarantees for customs procedures, benefiting accounts under £30,000 with potential savings of up to £2,800. 
Transit Policy SimplificationsChanges effective from December 7, 2023, and onwards, including no physical unloading for authorized consignees and eased export declaration requirements. Future digital processes in 2024. 
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