Customs system auto-enrolment for firms in case of no-deal Brexit

Government department, HMRC, are automatically enrolling firms in a customs system in preparation for the case of a no-deal Brexit.

Businesses are being sent an allocated Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number, which will allow businesses to comply with regulations to trade overseas as well as make export declarations. This will allow firms to continue trading with EU businesses after Brexit.   The enrolment plans to increase the number of registered businesses by 88,000, adding to the current 72,000 firms already registered. Traders are told they need to consider applying for transitional simplified procedures, which will make it easier to import goods from the EU.  Chancellor Sajid Javid said by implementing this auto-enrolment, the government is “accelerating its preparations” ahead of Brexit on 31 October. He added that it will “help to ease the flow of goods across the border”. This news follows findings from Sky News, showing that two thirds of UK exporters, responsible for around 25% of trade with the European Union, had not taken the basic steps to prepare for Brexit.   Director General of the British Chamber of Commerce, Dr Adam Marshall, said that auto-enrolment was “long overdue”, however described it as still only a “first step”. "For many firms, it will trigger more questions. Businesses still need clarity on many other cross-border trade issues, such as customs procedures at borders following a no-deal exit and when the government will launch an official database to provide ease of access to information on tariffs and quotas" said Marshall. Chief Executive of the Road Haulage Association (RHA), Richard Burnett, agreed that it is a welcome process, but that more needs to be done.  “This is a long overdue move that will keep UK businesses trading with customers and suppliers in the EU, but it’s only the beginning of the process” said Burnett.   The government’s actions follow wide-spread concern for businesses that import and export goods to and from the EU. This should help make businesses feel more prepared for our exit from the EU on 31 October.

More information can be found on the HMRC website.   

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