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Customs consequences of Brexit

The fateful date of 29 March 2019 is fast approaching, and still no agreement has been reached between the United Kingdom and the European Union. It is therefore more than likely that we will see the UK withdraw without an agreement (no-deal Brexit) with a change in its status from an EU member state to a third country as of 30 March 2019 (unless there is a last-minute postponement).

Given these circumstances, physical flows of goods between these two separate customs territories, previously requiring only trade of goods declarations, will instead require customs declarations for both exports and imports, adding to the financial and administrative cost of trading. Not only will imported goods crossing the border require the payment of customs duties as well as import VAT and any other import taxes due depending on the type of products imported, but economic operators will also have to complete all the formalities necessary for customs declarations and take account of all the regulations governing the export and import of all products subject to specific measures (plants and animals or their products, medicines, chemicals, excise duties, dual-use goods, etc.).

On both sides of the English Channel, the States and in particular the customs administrations are rapidly adapting in anticipation of a no-deal Brexit. Apart from the many obvious legal, tax, and logistical aspects associated with flows between the EU and UK customs territories, economic operators must also be sure to analyse the consequences of the UK’s departure from the European Union in their international flows. They should consider, for example, the need to obtain binding information other than what would have been provided by the United Kingdom under the authority of the CDU or, if necessary, the matter of the share of European origin that could be linked to the United Kingdom but no longer able to be recognised as such in the international production of goods.

Our customs team is available to help you verify and establish the necessary steps in case of a “hard” Brexit, which will leave economic operators very little time to adapt.

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