The UK has confirmed that it will neither accept nor seek any extension to the Brexit transition period which expires on 31 December 2020. The EU has formally accepted this position. With just over six months to go before the end of the transition period there remains a lot of work to be done if agreement is to be reached. This move could result in the possibility of a no-deal Brexit.
From 1 January 2021, the UK will have autonomy to introduce its own approach to goods imported to GB from the EU. Recognising the impact of Coronavirus on businesses’ ability to prepare, and following the announcement in February that the UK would implement full border controls on imports coming into GB from the EU, the UK has taken the decision to introduce the new border controls in three stages ending 1 July 2021. This flexible and pragmatic approach will give industry extra time to make necessary arrangements.
The stages are:
- From January 2021: Traders importing standard goods, covering everything from clothes to electronics, will need to prepare for basic customs requirements, such as keeping sufficient records of imported goods, and will have up to six months to complete customs declarations. While tariffs will need to be paid on all imports, payments can be deferred until the customs declaration has been made. There will be checks on controlled goods like alcohol and tobacco. Businesses will need to consider how they account for VAT on imported goods. There will also be physical checks at the point of destination or other approved premises on all high risk live animals and plants.
- From April 2021: All products of animal origin (POAO) – for example meat, pet food, honey, milk or egg products – and all regulated plants and plant products will also require pre-notification and the relevant health documentation.
- From July 2021: Traders moving all goods will have to make declarations at the point of importation and pay relevant tariffs. Full Safety and Security declarations will be required, while for SPS commodities there will be an increase in physical checks and the taking of samples: checks for animals, plants and their products will now take place at GB Border Control Posts.