UK forwarders and customs team up to monitor Brexit

A new group wants to ensure that Brexit does not result in excessive trade barriers.

The impact of Brexit on customs clearance will be assessed by a high level committee of government and private executives to mitigate and address any potential fallout as the United Kingdom moves closer to its exit from the European Union.

Peter MacSwiney, chairman of forwarding solutions provider Agency Sector Management, and Aaron Dunne, trade and customs cooperation at Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC), will co-chair the Customs Brexit Group.

The joint customs consultative committee think tank includes industry representatives most impacted by Brexit, subject matter experts, and representatives from other UK government departments.       

“Trade facilitation must be an integral component of government planning and all Brexit negotiations,” said MacSwiney. “Any possible reintroduction of customs declaration requirements and frontier controls could cause major disruption at the border, particularly, at the UK’s ferry roll-on, roll-off ports and the Channel Tunnel.”

HM’s Revenue and Customs will give Brexit process updates during the meetings, which will take place six times a year, and members will discuss specific issues with a focus on developing strategic Brexit policy.          

“The freight industry needs to know both HMRC’s short- and long-term view and how flexible it is prepared to be. It is also important to understand what interim arrangements, if any, will apply in the meantime and how the UK would work with any changes, short or long-term, within the Union Customs Code."          

MacSwiney said moving forward demanded the involvement of all parties to ensure discussions were comprehensive and agreement was universal.       

Objectives of the CBG include providing a seamless and friction free experience to compliant customers, being flexible and responding with agility to change, and helping customers to get things right the first time through the provision of high quality services and information technology.    

The joint committee gives HMRC the opportunity to consider representations from over 20 member organizations on a face-to-face basis to exchange views on customs procedures, discuss proposed changes, and documentation relating to the entry and clearance of goods.

“The economic outlook post-Brexit looks challenging and there is considerable uncertainty concerning the UK's future trading relations with Europe,” said Robert Keen, British International Freight Association director general.

Contact Greg Knowler at greg.knowler@ihsmarkit.com and follow him on Twitter: @greg_knowler.

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