British International Freight Association Reiterates Need to Prepare for EU Trade Rule Changes

The customs environment should beware of the implications of failing to make the declarations that will become necessary.

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The British International Freight Association (BIFA) is encouraging businesses engaged in visible trade between the UK and EU and the freight and logistics companies that serve them to make sure they are fully prepared for rule changes that will take effect over the next six months following an initial postponement.

The customs environment should beware of the implications of failing to make the declarations that will become necessary, according to BIFA director general, Robert Keen.

“That’s why we are encouraging them to consider appointing a freight forwarder, if they haven’t already done so, to deal with their customs documentation, whilst they concentrate on their core business, which has been hard hit by both Brexit and COVID-19. “Feedback from our members suggests that one lesson learned from the changes implemented at the start of January this year is that the practical application of the changes has often been as challenging or, in certain cases, more challenging than anticipated. “Now, both the trade association and its members need to encourage traders to fully consider the likely impact of the requirements of Stages 2 and 3 on their business well before the implementation dates,” Keen says.

From British International Freight Association (BIFA):

  • Whilst the government has provided advice and guidance on some of the changes, BIFA says that significant gaps in information remain, which need to be filled to allow businesses to make certain key operational decisions.
  • Beginning Oct. 1, there will be additional documentary checks on products of animal origin and high-risk foods not of animal origin, whereby traders will be required to declare all SPS consignments on IPAFFS. The original documents will need to be submitted and these will be audited post-clearance.
  • The third stage of full border controls will be implemented on Jan. 1, 2022.

In addition, certain products such as Products of Animal Origin will be subject to full SPS controls and have to be presented to Border Control Points, where inspections may be undertaken.

“The period after Jan. 1, 2021 was very challenging, although trade did not grind to a halt. However, the new fear is that we face much greater challenges after Jan. 1, 2022 than we did the previous year, if only because there are more new processes to master, and historically, levels of import traffic exceed exports by a considerable margin,” Keen says. “Clearly, there is much to consider and prepare for, and there is not much time to do so. Whilst we continue to help members with their own preparations, we are also encouraging them to help their clients that import from the EU to be equally prepared. Of particular concern is the level of preparedness and knowledge of EU suppliers with regard to the new import procedures to be adopted and potentially the export procedures in Europe.”