Brexit and import: after principles also pragmatism

October 14, 2020

In the agendas of many companies corona has made way for Brexit. With January 1, 2021 fast approaching, companies exporting to the UK are eagerly looking for answers and solutions. What can they expect in the coming period?

Viewed from a distance, it seems as if the British government is deliberately heading for a 'no-deal-Brexit'. But according to Tim Sarson, tax expert and partner at KPMG UK, part of this is for the stage. "Sometimes it's as if the government is only concerned with sovereignty. After all, the government has to show the population that it is fighting. But behind the scenes there are serious negotiations going on," said Sarson during KPMG's first fortnightly Brexit Update call.


The tax expert points out that from the outset, the UK assumed that it would prevail on certain issues, such as the automotive industry, in negotiations with the EU. "But nothing will come of that. We stand empty-handed."

Nevertheless, Sarson is counting on an agreement, but not an agreement that will put an end to all the dragging out issues. "Against all odds, there will probably be an agreement, which the government will sell here as a great victory. But that agreement will leave a lot open for future negotiations". In any case, he advises companies in the EU not to waste the coming period. "Even the best possible deal is going to change a lot. You only have a few months left to prepare for that".


After January 1, the UK is expecting up to 180,000 companies that will have to make customs declarations in the United Kingdom for the first time. Because of these huge numbers, the UK is providing a number of easements to companies, says Rebecca Okuda, Director Head of Trade & Customs at KPMG UK. "As of January 1st, importers of standard goods will have up to six months from the date of importation to complete their customs declarations in full. They will also be allowed to defer payment of import taxes.

From 1 April, products of animal origin will be subject to prior notification and relevant health documentation, and from 1 July, a full customs declaration will be required at the point of import for all products, as well as payment of the associated tariffs.

But the guide comes with hooks and eyes, warns Okuda. Companies postponing their declarations and payments must keep a very comprehensive record of all imported goods. In addition, they will have to open a duty deferment account with the UK government for the deferment of payment. The companies that are well prepared for this have laid down various supply chain scenarios in a 'plan B'.

This was our first Brexit Call, which takes place every two weeks. Call topics include import, labor, supply chain and financial services. The fortnightly call takes half an hour. The next one will take place on the 15th of October. Subscribe to click here.

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