Frictionless Borders Need Advance, Accurate Data

With just over a year to go until the BREXIT deadline, an arrangement that facilitates a frictionless trade border between the UK and the EU is currently under negotiation.

Two approaches are being considered to facilitate this objective:

  • A streamlined customs arrangement between the UK and EU. The focus here is around implementing a technology solution to make it easier to comply with customs procedures. It involves building on the current third country processes that many of us are familiar with today, whilst adopting new innovative facilitations to deliver a frictionless border.
  • A new customs arrangement with the EU where the UK mirrors the EU requirements for imports from third countries with final destination into the EU, reducing the complexity for traders.

Either way the implementation period currently defined by the Government will give time for all to implement a process and required systems that avoid the ‘cliff edge’ effect that is widely talked about. However, it is still a tall order with so much uncertainty on exactly what these arrangements will look like.

The first approach outlined fits well with the principles of ‘data pipelines’ where data is captured from the right person at the right place at the right time.

It sounds simple but this isn’t always the case and often data is provided late to those that need it. For frictionless trade and borders to be a reality, the data needs to come from those who know it to be true as soon as it’s available.

Combine accurate advanced data with tools available at the border today and it is possible to create a green lane for legitimate trade, allowing the border resource to be focused on the unknown and removing the risk for those participating.

The Government has made it clear that the UK will be leaving the Customs Union, so whether you are moving goods by deep sea container or Roll-On Roll-Off (RORO) ferry traffic, a customs declaration will be required, unless a new arrangement is made.

So what can you do now to make sure you are prepared as possible?

If you can comply with the simple requirements of providing accurate data and sufficient information for a customs declaration then you already have a strong starting point to continue trading with the EU post BREXIT.

Things you could review today:

  1. Check if your data is of good quality for submitting to customs.
  2. Make sure you know what new data means to you i.e. Inco Terms, HS Codes, and how it will affect you.
  3. Perform a health check. Could you provide the data ‘in advance’ to support future thinking and data pipeline principles.
  4. Talk to your trade or industry body and find out what they are doing to support you

Consider becoming an Authorised Economic Operator (AEO). It’s not too late to apply if this is right for your business. You may or may not be registered for BREXIT day 1 but the wheels will be set in motion to benefit thereafter.