The Union Customs Code (UCC) has been introduced to consolidate and modernise customs legislation and provide a legal basis for electronic communications, which will become the norm throughout the EU.
“The UCC is intended to standardise more practices within the [EU], which means that not only must more control come from Brussels, but also that procedures and communication systems must be aligned within the Member States to ensure that traders have access to the same facilities,” said Barbara Scott of Customs Associates, UKWA’s honorary adviser on customs issues.
‘Difficult to achieve’
“But, logistics service providers that operate in more than one Member State will know how very different the processes are and how this is ideology will be difficult to achieve!”
There are three major changes contained within the UCC that will affect customs warehouse operators in the UK: by May 2019 customs warehouse facilities must be re-authorised; a guarantee to cover the potential duty on the goods stored in the warehouse will become a mandatory requirement; and the need for import supplementary declarations to be made to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will be removed from May this year.
“The reduction in import supplementary reporting to HMRC certainly sounds like great news,” remarked Scott. “However, the business system must still be populated with the customs data and Customs Freight Simplified Procedures (CFSP) providers currently expect that traders will continue to have to update their systems as they do at present but the data will simply not be sent to Customs Handling of Import & Export Freight – the processing system of customs declarations.”
Changes ‘not fully understood’
UKWA warns that the UCC is likely to bring about a number of other changes – some of which are not fully understood yet – that could impact upon customs warehouse operators.
“We are still waiting for guidance from Customs on a number of issues but HMRC itself is waiting for explanations from the [European] Commission,” said Scott.