7 August 2020

Northern Ireland protocol details revealed with Trader Support Service

Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove, and the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Brandon Lewis, have announced a £650m package of investment to help traders in Northern Ireland, and support peace, prosperity and reconciliation projects on the island of Ireland.

At the centre of this package is a free-to-use Trader Support Service (TSS) – an end-to-end support service to deal with import and safety and security declarations on behalf of traders. This will effectively see the government acting as a customs agent on behalf of businesses.

The new service will be available to businesses bringing in goods from Great Britain or the rest of the world, providing guidance as well as dealing with their requirements for moving goods into Northern Ireland.

Businesses in Northern Ireland can sign up for further information about the scheme on GOV.UK from now, before it becomes operational in September.

£155m of the money will fund the development of new technology to ensure the new processes can be fully digital and streamlined.

The service is outlined as part of the publication of new guidance on the Northern Ireland Protocol for businesses moving goods into and from Northern Ireland. The new online pages have been added to gov.uk/transition and will be updated as implementation work and UK-EU discussions proceed as part of the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee. Additional details will be outlined as work proceeds in the coming months to support preparations for the end of the transition period.

See also: Moving goods into, out of, or through Northern Ireland from 1 January 2021

28 July 2020

Government makes important announcement on UKCA marking

As many members will be aware, products that come under CE marking EU Directives will require a UKCA mark as well. It has always been the case that UKCA marking will be required immediately for products that have undergone UK approval testing (equivalent to EU Notified Body EC Type Approval) from 1 January 2021. In addition, products already placed on the market can continue to be sold after the 1 January 2021.

However, it has always been the understanding of the BTHA that UKCA mark application to other products will have an 18-month UK transition period, or at least it will become mandatory after a “time limited period” followed by giving “business notice before ceasing to recognise CE marking”. The BTHA has been regularly chasing the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) for clarification given the short time period between now and January for companies to comply.

OPSS has confirmed that there is no general 18-month period for UK specific requirements after 1 January 2021 except for the requirement to add a UK importer name where the main manufacturer address is based in the EU.

It has also confirmed that although any deal that is negotiated may change things the following will apply:

  • At the end of the Transition Period (TP) (31 December 2020), the Product Safety and Metrology etc. (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 will, with some amendments, come into force.
  • The published mandate on the future relationship with the EU states a Free Trade Agreement could include (subject to negotiations), a protocol on mutual acceptance of the results of conformity assessment. This would mean conformity assessment done by an EU notified body would be recognised in the UK, and UK conformity assessment would be recognised in the EU.
  • However, in the meantime at the end of the transition period for products that require third-party conformity assessment, you may need to arrange for a UK Approved Body to do this from 1 January 2021 so that those products can continue to be placed on the UK market. You can do this by either asking your EU-based Notified Body to transfer information to a UK Approved Body, or alternatively by arranging for a UK Approved Body to re-test your products. Currently, UK Approved Bodies are listed as Notified Bodies on the EU NANDO database.
  • The UKCA (UK Conformity Assessed) marking is intended to be the new UK product marking used for certain goods being placed on the UK market and will come into force at the end of the transition period so you may wish to prepare now for its use. The requirements for affixing the UKCA marking immediately after the end of the TP will mirror those for the CE marking. Products with the UKCA mark can be placed on the UK market now, so long as they also carry the CE marking (if required) and the UKCA marking does not impact the visibility of the CE marking. The essential requirements and the standards that can be used to demonstrate conformity with these will be the same for the UKCA on 1 January 2021 as they are now for the CE marking.
  • Further guidance will be published in the near future which will include information on the status of CE marked goods that have not yet been placed on the market by 1 January 2021 (including goods conformity assessed by EU27 bodies). The guidance is being finalised in consultation with Ministers.
  • We know that for many businesses the changes required may be costly or take time to implement. Ministers are therefore considering, alongside having a UK regulatory regime that will involve having the UKCA mark on products that need conformity testing, if there should be a period of time where businesses can continue to place CE marked goods on the UK market. We hope to have a decision in a few weeks, and will give guidance as soon as we can.

The BTHA continues to question the above and if we get any further details will send out further updates and will update our BREXIT Guidance when some further clarity is achieved.

20 July 2020

Government carries out UK internal market and devolution consultation

The government is consulting on new measures to protect internal trade within the UK when powers return from the EU in January 2021. Measures will protect the UK’s economy by preventing new burdens on cross-UK business and provide certainty to support coronavirus recovery.

The proposals aim to ensure that devolution can continue to work for everyone; that all devolved policy areas stay devolved, while maintaining certainty for business by ensuring that rules and standards across the UK are mutually recognised, so that trade is as easy for business as possible.

A 4-week consultation opened on 16 July, sourcing views from businesses across all 4 nations of the UK. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is consulting on the options set out in the white paper. Please respond by close of play on 13 August. Find the paper here.

15 July 2020

Brexit advice six months ahead of transition period ending

A number of announcements have been made by the government, six months out from the Brexit transition period ending. Trade talks are continuing for the UK and EU to secure a free trade deal meanwhile both are preparing for a no-deal exit. Here are the latest updates from the government:

New immigration system: This includes information on the Skilled Workers route – how points are allocated and can be traded based on an individual’s experience, academic qualifications, and the salary of £25,600 and/or the “going rate” for an eligible occupation/role that is sponsored by an approved employer. Annex E (page 69 in the Further Details booklet) contains a list of eligible occupations in the Skilled Worker route.

Major new campaign to prepare UK for end of the transition period: The government has launched a new campaign to help businesses and individuals prepare for the end of the transition period.

£705 million investment for GB-EU border: A £705m investment will fund new infrastructure, jobs and technology at GB-EU border.

Declaring goods brought into Great Britain from the EU from 1 January 2021: You can record your goods in your commercial records and make a supplementary declaration 6 months later. You will not need to submit an entry summary declaration.

Get someone to deal with customs for you: How you can hire a person or business to deal with customs for you.

How to import and export goods between Great Britain and the EU from 1 January 2021: Information for traders on importing and exporting goods between Great Britain and the EU after 1 January 2021.

List of customs agents and fast parcel operators from 1 January 2021: The list of customs agents has been updated with 17 new entries and 3 amendments, and the list of fast parcel operators with 4 new entries and 1 amendment.

The Border Operating Model: A guide to how the border with the European Union will work after the transition period.

The eCommerce Directive will no longer apply to the UK: The directive currently allows EEA online service providers to operate in any EEA country, while only following relevant rules in the country in which they’re established. This framework will no longer apply to the UK providers as the UK will have left the EEA. All members with a website need to look at this link to determine the impact on their continued business.

BTHA Brexit Webinar

All the slides from the BTHA's recent Brexit transition webinar can be accessed via the read more button.

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