Customs consultancy advise ‘back to basics’ approach to tackle Brexit concerns
A leading North-east customs consultancy has highlighted the need for businesses to understand basic customs documentation as they adjust to our new trading relationship with the EU.
Founder and Director of Oldmeldrum-based Bethan Customs Consultancy, Nicola Alexander, said that a high proportion of businesses who deal solely with the EU have never previously needed to complete customs declarations to move their goods. As a result, there appears to be a collective gap in awareness on how to complete the documentation required needed to import and export goods in our post-Brexit economy.
She explained: “New rules covering imports, exports, tariffs and data came into force on 1st January this year, and in some cases businesses may now need a licence or certificate to continue trading with EU countries. The exact requirements for each business will vary depending on what is being exported, its value, where the product originates from and to which country it is being sent.
“For some time now, we have been working closely with our clients to support their knowledge and understanding of the operational changes necessary for a seamless transition into these new trading conditions. However, judging by the volume of requests for support that we have received from companies who are not current clients, there is a degree of apprehension across the wider business community about how to navigate this new customs landscape. These queries indicate a lack of awareness about the process that will allow businesses to continue moving goods without incurring costs or delays.
“There are several simple steps that can help. For example, implementing import and export procedures within your business will provide a clear ‘go to’ guide for staff. Creating template documents such as commercial invoices and import clearance instructions within your business will ensure the information being supplied to the agent remains consistent, and streamlines the clearance process.”
In a bid to help businesses understand how the new arrangements are operating in practice, the Bethan team plan to release a series of short Q&A videos.
The firm will also be running two bite-size training sessions on ‘Imports’ and ‘Exports’ in the coming weeks.
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