HMRC is to suspend the introduction of Entry Summary Declarations on EU imports for six months, saying it would give companies more time to prepare for changes to EU trade arrangements should the UK leave without a deal.
Mel Stride, financial secretary to the Treasury, said: “We have been adamant that in the event of no deal, trade must continue at our borders, and we will continue to make our borders secure. Maintaining continuity with the current system for the first six months and phasing Entry Summary Declarations in will ensure we deliver on that promise.”
The move has been welcome by both the Freight Transport Association and the Road Haulage Association.
Pauline Bastidon, FTA’s head of global and European policy, described it as a positive step but pointed out: “It is imperative that the UK government maintains pressure on the EU to ensure that a similar waiver is adopted by the EU. To ensure that Britain can keep trading efficiently, it is vital that the European Commission and UK agree a longer term, more sustainable arrangement to remain in the same security zone, which would make safety and security declarations for UK-EU trade irrelevant. Above all, it is vital that the UK’s supply chain remains as frictionless as possible.”
RHA chief executive, Richard Burnett accepted that the government had listened to the industry but said: “We have been insistent that the proposal to introduce consignment level Safety and Security Declarations for imported road haulage would be impossible to introduce by 29 March. The extension will help but it still isn’t enough. There is no guarantee that businesses will have the necessary processes in place in six months’ time. It’s just a stay of execution. We need practical simplification of the system to ensure that it works for everyone and we will continue to push for this.”