The European Commission has reached 24th December 2020 an agreement with the United Kingdom on the terms of its future cooperation with the European Union. The agreement is applied from 1 January 2021. The new relationship between the EU and Britain is clearly more distant than before, which means, among other things, increased paperwork and new costs in trade between the EU and Britain. Although the TDCA is comprehensive and provides, inter alia, duty-free and quota-free access to the Parties' markets for certain products, it does not replace the internal market. Trade between the EU and Britain will therefore change significantly, despite the conclusion of the agreement.
General information on the situation after the transition period
The new border controls on imports coming into GB will enter into force gradually, in three stages according to the UK’s Border Operating Model published in October 2020. The European Commission has published in July 2020 its own communication on readiness at the end of the transition period. Below are excerpts from both the Commission Communication and the British guideline.
Excerpts from the Commission communication of 9.7.2020:
- Northern Ireland continues to be subject to Union rules on goods and the Union Customs Code. The VAT and excise rules apply to all goods entering or leaving Northern Ireland.
- Goods lawfully placed on the market before the end of the transitional period may continue to move freely on the EU or UK market until they reach their end-users, without the need for re-certification, re-labelling or product modifications.
- EU companies wishing to import from or export to the UK must ensure that, from 1 January 2021, they have the EORI (Economic Operator Registration and Identification) number required for customs formalities.
- UK content (both materials and processing operations) will become 'non-originating' under Union preferential trade arrangements for the determination of the preferential origin of the goods containing such UK content. In practice, this means that EU exporters will have to re-evaluate their supply chains. They may have to relocate their production or change suppliers for some inputs in order to continue to benefit from the Union preferential arrangements with current Union preferential partners.
- Goods exported from the Union to the United Kingdom will be exempt from VAT if the supplier of the exported goods can prove that the goods have left the Union.
Excerpts from the UK’s Border Operating Model:
The first changes will take effect from the beginning of January. New control procedures will apply e.g. to the exports of plants and plant products, fishery products, by-products, live animals and germinal products.
- Exports of high-priority plants and plant products require a phytosanitary certificate, pre-notification and checks. These products include: plants for planting, ware potatoes, some seeds and timber. The requirements also apply to used agricultural and forestry machinery.
- The wooden packaging material must be treated and marked in accordance with the ISPM 15 standard.
- Exports of fishery products to the United Kingdom are subject to import controls. In addition, the export of marine-caught fish is subject to a catch certificate.
- Exports of live animals and germinal products to the GB require a health certificate. The health certificates are in TRACES Classic system. The importer has to make a pre-notification via the Importation of Products, Animals, Food and Feed System (IPAFFS). Importation through the border control post will not become mandatory until July 2021.
- Exports of high-risk animal by-products (ABPs) from the EU to the UK require pre-authorization from IPAFFS notification system. A commercial document that can be made in TRACES Classic system is required from all animal by-products exported before July.
- For live animals, germinal products, and products of animal origin (POAO) subject to safeguarding measures, the importer obtains a Unique Notification Number (UNN), which is required only before Jyly, from APHA (Animal & Plant Health Agency). The UNN-nunber must be put in the box No I.6 in TRACES health certificate.
April and July 2021
- The changes, which were originally scheduled to take effect in April and July, have been postponed by 6 months.
- Products of animal origin must be pre-notified through the IPAFFS system when they are imported from the EU into the UK. The export of these products also requires health certificates, which will be available in TRACES.
- Requirement of physical checks at Border Control Posts for products of animal origin, animal by-products, high risk plants and high risk food not of animal origin.
- Pre-notification in the PEACH system, phytosanitary certificates and documentary checks will be required for low risk plants and plant products. These products include certain fruits and vegetables as well as certain cut flowers and certain cereals. More information on the UK website.
- Checks at Border Control Posts will take place also on live animals and low risk plants and plant products.