EU spells out its views on post-Brexit customs

  • Brexit

The European Commission has published its position paper on Customs Related Matters Needed for an Orderly Withdrawal of the UK from the Union.

This can be found at ec.europa.eu and particularly concerns the customs status of goods that enter, leave or transit the customs and tax territory of the EU or the UK, where the movement starts before and ends on or after the withdrawal date.

It argues that the basic approach to be followed should be that the rules applicable in respect of an operation when it is commenced should continue to apply to that operation until its completion.

“It is for the declarant to demonstrate the status of the goods (Union or non-Union) before the date of withdrawal and the fact that the relevant movement or entry into a customs regime was initiated before the date of withdrawal,” the paper states.

The Commission also calls for the eventual Withdrawal Agreement to set out the appropriate treatment in relation to VAT and excise duties and licensing requirements in those circumstances.

Responding to the paper, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) said: “On VAT specifically, we note that the Commission has recognised the need for a supplementary agreement, which is essential given that any new demand for upfront payments of import VAT could cause major cash flow headaches and additional red tape for firms.”

The BRC also argued, to ensure that supply chains are not disrupted and goods can continue to move between markets as efficiently as possible, that deals between the UK and the EU are also required on security, haulage, transit and drivers.

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