Commission intensifies “no-deal” customs preparedness

Preparing for the UK becoming a non-EU country is of paramount importance for EU business, the EC says

Photo: EPA EU Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs Pierre Moscovici

The European Commission has on Monday stepped up its “no-deal” outreach to EU businesses in the area of customs and indirect taxation such as VAT, given the risk that the United Kingdom may leave the EU on 30 March this year without a deal. The outreach campaign is in line with the European Council (Article 50) conclusions of December 2018, calling for intensified preparedness work for all scenarios.

According to a statement by the Commission, the campaign is aimed at informing businesses that want to continue trading with the UK after 30 March on what they need to do to ensure as smooth a transition as possible. It should also complement national efforts to inform EU businesses and help to reach out to affected businesses in the EU27 Member States.

Thus it recommends the EU's business community, especially SMEs, to first and foremost assess whether they have the necessary technical and human capacity to deal with customs procedures and rules, e.g. on ‘preferential rules of origin' after Brexit. They should also consider obtaining various customs authorisations and registrations in order to facilitate their trading activity if the UK is part of their supply chain and get in touch with their national customs authorities to see what other steps must be taken.

“With the risk of a no-deal Brexit increasing as we get closer to March 29, the European Commission and national customs authorities are working hard to be ready to introduce checks and controls on goods flowing between the EU and the UK. This is key to protecting our consumers and our internal market. A lot depends on the ability of businesses trading with the UK to get up to speed with the customs rules that will apply on day one in case of no deal. There is no time to lose and we are here to help with the information campaign,” Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs Pierre Moscovici said on today's campaign launch.

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