Ireland has and will retain post-Brexit, tariff-free and customs procedures free access to the European Union market. In the event of a no deal Brexit country tariffs will apply on all exports from the United Kingdom to the EU. In the event of a Brexit with a trade agreement, it is likely that most goods and be traded tariff-free with the most likely exception being food and animal products which may continue to be subject to significant tariffs.

The most likely outcome for Brexit is that there will be a trade agreement between the EU and UK but that there will not be a single customs union as this would prevent the UK from maintaining an independent trade policy, which is a key objective of Brexit.

With a trade agreement, customs procedures and requirements will remain. Every movement of goods in and out of the UK EU will require very detailed declarations the UK HMRC and to the Revenue parties in the EU country of import. Bold exit declarations to the country of export and a full export declaration will be required together with an entry declaration and a full import declaration requiring a detailed dataset on each occasion.

In order to qualify for the reduced duty under a UK EU trade agreement, the origin of the goods must be certified. Certification may be simplified in some cases but in many cases certification by an independent body may be required and education in order to for the UK origin of the goods verify UK origin of goods

In addition, the carrier will be subject to additional requirements for a much more detailed electronic manifest of goods on every movement across the border.

Businesses which export and the UK will need to ascertain detailed customs information including in relation to precise customs classification valuation, country of origin customs treatment requested quantity weight packaging particulars (in most cases) the parties to the movement, currency terms of sale. In most cases businesses will need to employee services of a customs agent most commonly their freight forwarder/carrier to enter this data together with significant other data about the transaction for the purpose of the exit declaration and the export declaration in the case of exports and the entry declaration on import declaration in the case of imports as well in each case as part of the goods manifest for the ship road vehicle or aircraft passing the border. Any customs duty due on import together with VAT must be paid or secured by way of a deferred account.

The average costs paid to an external provider such as to freight forwarder or an agent for making these declarations is of the order of £20-£40 in the case of exports and £50-£80 in the case of imports. In principle, a trader may make declarations directly subject to initial training and setup costs connection to community systems and ongoing licence fees to the software provider.

With a significant number of declarations, this may reduce the average cost per declaration significantly. However it it will still be necessary to obtain significant further information from the carrier in order to make these declarations which may or may not be available before goods are dispatched including particulars of the carriers tax registration the means of transport and which goods are loaded (including precise details identifying the particular vehicle vessel et cetera) detailed particulars of means of transport at the point of crossing the EU border as well as any further inland mode of transport. If this information is available in advance which may not always be possible in principle. Import or export notices and declarations may be made by the importer or exporter to HMRC. Even where this is possible and the carrier can furnish the necessary information the carrier will still incur further costs which will be passed back to the UK trader.

The declaration costs must be made per consignment which is a distinct batch of one or more goods going from one exporter in one country to an importer in another country. The exemption thresholds are very low. Customs apply where the customs value (which is the price/value plus the carriage insurance and other import costs) exceeds £120 or the customs duty is less than £7. However, the UK is removing the VAT exemption on goods less than £22 formally applied so that import VAT will be due on all goods albeit that overseas businesses selling goods UK must pay the VAT where parcels are valued at less than £135. This may make many small importing transactions uneconomical in themselves.

This, however, is only half the story. Every movement of goods from the UK to the EU or the EU after Brexit will require customs declarations in the other EU state. Therefore the case of an export from the UK the must be a nominated another party effectively a business was an economic operator registration number in the EU which undertakes the import notice and import declaration to the Revenue authorities in the other country. That other party will likewise incur corresponding costs in its home state and must coordinate with the UK party in advance if there is to be a free movement of the goods from the UK to the EU without being detained at the border in the customs process. The only way to have a clean clear movement from premises to premises as existent presence is to ensure that both on the export and import site in each case that there is clearance both from HM or C as exporter or importer party as the case may be but also from the corresponding Revenue authority in the other state. One green light at the border is not enough.

The implication is that the UK exporter which wishes to supply the EU market will need to arrange that its customer undertakes import customs procedures in the other state or for this is not possible that another intermediary is used which becomes an importer in the other EU state. If practicable the UK exporter may wish to establish a tax presence in the EU state of import and act as importer undertaking the relevant customs obligations in the other EU state. Clearly, this will involve a significant investment of resources and ongoing compliance obligations where it is possible at all.

Conversely in the case of supplies and products purchased from the EU the support you supplier will need to act as an exporter and undertake the requisite export notice and export declarations coordinating and aligning with the UK importer and each and every occasion. Once again the clear movement from the EU to the UK can only take place with the advance clearance of both HMRC and the EU countries Revenue authorities.

However, even if these arrangements are successfully executed is in no way describes the risk of barriers and obstacles to trade even with a trade agreement.

Certification of origin would be required on each and every occasion to avail of reduced duties under the EU UK trade agreement. Although simplifications including self-certification by sufficiently trusted entities may be available in many cases, in many cases a certificate t of origin will not be available this will require a prior application to a trade or other body or mental body for formal certification of origin.

Costs incurred with a freight forwarder is customs agents may escalate very significantly where there are interventions by HMRC by the Revenue authorities in the other EU state. Even where customs declarations are accepted the customs authorities must  still routinely check a small percentage of the consignments, commonly 1 to 3% by weight physical check and a further percentage commonly 6 to 8% by way of documentary check by way of basic policing and enforcement to verify that what is declared and returned is in fact what crosses the border. Furthermore where the Revenue authorities risk assessment so mandates checks and verifications this will occur outside of routine random policing. Whereas is commonly the case consignment is contained in a container other consignments then checking of other consignments will inevitably lead to delays in clearance.

The services of freight forwards there is a customs agents will be required to interact with Revenue and ensure clearance even where there is far acceptance of the import and export declarations. Much of the time of the staff of freight forwarder is a customs agents is taking up in dealing with specific issues that inevitably arise in the process particularly in the context of Revenue intervention which may be in no way the fault of the importer or exporter concerned. Apart from these and costs incurred with the freight forwarder customs agent or other logistics provider charges may arise the shipper portal parties were goods are delayed beyond the relevant time frame for movement and collection. The general default provision and sale of goods contracts is that goods must be delivered on time so that a delay through no fault of the seller y may cause a breach of contract potentially serious consequences but by way of liability for damages/compensation and in some cases giving other parties rights to terminate longer-term supply contracts Under the terms and conditions.

In the case of goods subject to licensing and special requirements, the relevant licences must be obtained and furnished as part of the import and export process. Money goods that are subject to licensing and control when moving in and out of the EU are not subject to these controls in the case of trade within the EU.

In the case of animals products of animal origin plants and vegetables very stringent or phytosanitary controls apply. Prior health certificates together with actual checks at the border I do documentary a physical are required in a high percentage of cases depending on the animal, plant food type involved. Physical or documented checks may be required in 30% 50% in some cases 100% of all movements at order the border at the border inspection post.

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