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UK is one step closer to being granted Data Adequacy
The Government has welcomed the European Commission’s ‘draft’ data adequacy decisions, which recognise the UK’s high data protection standards and set out that the UK should be found ‘adequate’.
The draft decisions published on 19 February by the Commission will now be shared with the European Data Protection Board for a ‘non-binding opinion’, before being presented to EU member states for formal approval. The UK is hoping for a speedy decision, which will provide certainty for businesses.
Being granted a positive data adequacy decision under both the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Law Enforcement Directive (LED) would allow for personal data to continue to flow freely from the EU and wider EEA to the UK. The UK has already recognised the EU and EEA member states as ‘adequate’, as part of its commitment to establish a smooth transition for the UK’s departure from the EU.
As part of the UK/EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement, a time-limited ‘bridging mechanism’ for personal data flows was agreed, allowing personal data to continue to flow as it did before the end of the transition period for up to six months, while the EU completes the adequacy process.
EU granted extension to further scrutinise UK Trade Agreement
The UK is currently only “provisionally” implementing the EU/UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement as the EU has requested more time to scrutinise the Agreement before ratifying.
The EU had requested an extension until 28 February, which had been granted by the UK, and a further extension has now again been requested. In a letter to the Vice President of the European Commission, Maroš Šefčovič, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Rt Hon Michael Gove MP made clear that the UK expects the EU to satisfy its internal requirements before 30 April and would not accept an extension beyond that point.
Both parties are due to meet today (24 February) at the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee. Representatives from the Northern Ireland Executive have been invited to form part of the UK delegation and the agenda will focus on Withdrawal Agreement Implementation since the end of the transition period, Citizens’ Rights and the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol.
The Prime Minister Boris Johnson has acknowledged that there have been “teething problems” with trade between GB and Northern Ireland but is committed to doing everything “to ensure there is no barrier down the Irish Sea”.
Resources to support those moving goods to Northern Ireland
The Government has published a series of videos that signpost to the free-to-use Trader Support Service which provides help to traders moving goods from England, Wales or Scotland to Northern Ireland.
Those moving goods into, out of, or through Northern Ireland, are also advised to check the Government’s latest Northern Ireland Protocol guidance and Guidance on trading goods in and out of Northern Ireland.
The BVRLA has also published some sector-specific advice on its EU Exit Business Advice page, covering leasing vehicles for use in Northern Ireland and customs considerations for Northern Ireland. Members are encouraged to email [email protected] to highlight any issues that are being experienced relating to EU Exit.
Support to understand Rules of Origin
The Government has published a 12-minute video to help businesses understand the Rules of Origin. If you are a UK exporter and your EU importer wants to claim zero tariffs on your goods, there are 3 key steps to work out whether your goods comply with rules of origin:
- Classify your good – every good has a commodity code and a list is available on gov.uk
- Understand whether your good meets the applicable rule of origin from the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (Chapter 2 as well as Annexes ORIG-1 to ORIG-4 will be most useful). You can also use the export checker tool to find out what rule of origin applies to your exports.
- Understand how to demonstrate origin to the customs authorities.
For help in working out whether your goods comply and how to demonstrate this to customs authorities, read the Rules of Origin Guidance on trading with the EU. You may choose to use a customs agent to help you with Rules of Origin and there is guidance available here on how to find one.
HMRC to host import and export webinars
Two new webinars are being hosted by HMRC to support businesses who import and export.
You can register here to attend the 60-minute Customs Import Declarations: An overview webinar which takes place on 5 March.
Register here to attend the 60-minute Exporting: what you need to do to keep your goods moving webinar taking place on 2 March.
Guidance on moving goods between GB and France
The Government has published a technical 2-hour webinar to provide support to businesses on moving goods between Great Britain and France. Slides are also available. The live webinar took place on 12 February and was hosted by Border Force, DEFRA and HMRC.
Guidance for businesses employing staff from overseas
The Home Office has developed a communications toolkit including a suite of digital and print assets with information to help employers prepare for the new points-based system. Anyone coming to the UK to work will need to apply for permission in advance except Irish citizens or EU citizens eligible for status under the EU Settlement Scheme.
Resources include useful factsheets as well as digital and social resources, and a dedicated microsite has also been created to support businesses.
New £20 million SME Brexit Support Fund
The Government has announced a new SME Brexit Support Fund to help small businesses adjust to new customs procedures, rules of origin, and VAT rules when trading with the EU.
Eligible firms could get up to £2,000 to pay for practical support including training and professional advice to ensure they can continue trading effectively with the EU. The application window will be open in due course.
Leasing vehicles for use in Northern Ireland
The BVRLA has updated its EU Exit Business Advice page to include a section on ‘Leasing vehicles for use in Northern Ireland’ following a string of enquiries from members seeking clarification on common issues, including:
- What are the correct customs procedures to follow for a leased vehicle?
- Could vehicles entering NI from GB have to pay tariffs?
The BVRLA has worked with HMRC, BEIS and the Institute of Exports and International Trade to get guidance for members on these issues.
Members who do business in Northern Ireland are advised to check that the processes they are following are compliant and to visit the BVRLA web page for the latest advice.
To make the policy team aware of any issues not being addressed, email [email protected].
Industry highlights concerns about trade flows
Cabinet Office has openly published its response to the Road Haulage Association who has written to the Government claiming that not enough is being done to address the “devastating consequences” on critical supply chains following EU Exit.
The Government refutes figures published in a recent RHA survey, stating that exports going through British ports to the EU fell by 68% last month compared with January last year. The Border Operations Centre reports that during the last full week (30 Jan to 5 Feb) both outbound and inbound flows (across all UK ports) were close to normal, at 95% outbound and 96% inbound.
The BVRLA would like to hear from any members experiencing issues relating to the flow of goods and asks that you share your experiences via [email protected]
Bringing multiple caravans into the UK
The Government has published information about what form needs to be completed when bringing multiple caravans into the UK from the EU, which have a final destination of Northern Ireland. A separate form is required for those purchased outside of the EU.
The forms needs to be attached to your online notification when using the HMRC’s ‘Notification of Vehicle Arrivals online service’.
Declaration of goods in to and out of Northern Ireland
In due course, all declarations in to and out of Northern Ireland will need to be made using the Customs Declaration Service.
The use of the Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system for Northern Ireland declarations will be reviewed by HMRC, and they will confirm when to stop using it.
HMRC provides advice to those trading with EU
HMRC has launched a webchat service to add to its suite of support services enabling businesses to ask questions about imports, exports and customs relief.
There is also a Customs & International Trade Helpline which you can call to speak to an advisor on 0300 322 9434. The helpline is open 8am to 10pm midweek and 8am to 4pm at weekends.
New restrictions on taking food and drink into the EU
The Government is reminding drivers travelling to the EU that there are new restrictions on what items can be taken across the border, with many foods and drink items now prohibited for personal importation.
Products of an animal origin (POAO) such as those containing meat or dairy cannot be taken into the EU. There are exceptions to this rule for certain quantities of powdered infant milk, infant food, special foods, or special processed pet feed.
Helping firms to understand ‘Rules of Origin’
Rules of Origin relates to where a product was manufactured and determines the ‘economic nationality’ of a good for international trade.
Those who trade with the EU need to understand the rules on this under the new Trade and Cooperation Agreement, as firms can trade with the EU without paying tariffs ‘only’ if their product meets the relevant Rules of Origin.
The Government has published guidance to explain the most important things that businesses need to understand and comply with, and further guidance on Claiming preferential rates of duty between the UK and EU is also available.
The Department for Business Energy & Industrial Strategy is hosting a webinar at 2pm-3pm on Thursday 4 February to support businesses. Members are encouraged to join via this link.
Government provides more resources to help businesses
The Government is inviting businesses to register to access a series of short on-demand videos relating to 18 topics including importing and exporting, rules of origin, tariffs, data, hiring, and accounting.
A dedicated Business Support Helpline is also available in each of the devolved nations. Opening hours and the relevant telephone numbers can be found on Gov.UK.
Change to UK driving licences and number plates
The EU flag has been removed from all UK driving licences and number plate designs, with the first batches issued from 1 January 2021. While existing licences and number plates will still be valid, the new versions will be issued to everyone renewing a licence or getting one for the first time.
Driving permit not required with UK photocard licence
UK drivers who hold photocard licences will not need an international driving permit to drive in any of the 27 EU member states, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland or Liechtenstein. UK drivers won’t need to display a GB sticker in most EU countries if their number plate has GB or GB with a Union Flag on it.
Government wants to understand impact on businesses
The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove is chairing a series of weekly Brexit Business Taskforce meetings with businesses from specific sectors across all parts of the UK to discuss challenges facing traders and to find solutions to outstanding issues.
The Government knows that some businesses are facing challenges with some of the new rules that are now in place and wants to better understand what impact EU Exit is having across the sectors.
The BVRLA policy team liaise regularly with Government officials and would like to hear any concerns or issues that members have relating to EU Exit. Email BVRLA Senior Policy Advisor, [email protected].
The EU-UK trade deal explained
On 24 December 2020, the UK and EU agreed a new Trade and Cooperation Agreement to govern the future trading and security relationship now that the UK has left the EU.
The Institute for Government explains that is made up of three pillars:
- A free trade agreement covering the economic and social partnership, including transport, energy and mobility.
- A framework for cooperation between law enforcement and judicial authorities across civil and criminal matters.
- An overarching governance arrangement which will allow for cross-retaliation across different economic areas.
Five key considerations for businesses
The Government is asking businesses to consider the following five areas that may require immediate action as there are new rules relating to exports, imports, tariffs, data and hiring:
- If you sell goods to the EU you must adjust to the new customs procedures.
- If you travel to the EU for work purposes you will need to check if you need a visa or work permit and apply if necessary.
- If you employ overseas nationals you must be a Home Office licenced sponsor under the UK’s new points-based immigration system.
- If you are a UK business or organisation that receives personal data from the EU for business use, you may need to take action on data protection.
- You may need to have your UK professional qualification officially recognised if you want to work in a regulated profession in the EEA or in Switzerland.
Businesses and individuals are advised to use the Government’s Brexit Checker Tool to get a list of personalised actions that you need to take to ensure the continued flow of people, data, goods and services between the UK and the EU.
New Global Health Insurance Card
The Government has announced that UK residents will now be able to apply for a UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) enabling UK residents the right to access emergency and medically necessary healthcare when travelling in the EU. This includes medically necessary treatment for a pre-existing or chronic condition.
The new GHIC card, which replaces the EHIC, is free to obtain from the official GHIC website and people should apply at least two weeks before they plan to travel.
Trade agreements with non-EU countries
Guidance has been updated on 14 January to detail the trade agreements the UK has concluded and that are in effect. It also includes progress of discussions with other non-EU countries. The latest change is the full ratification of the UK-Andean agreement with Peru.
Supporting members through EU Exit
The BVRLA is inviting members to share any concerns or questions relating to the impact of EU Exit with the policy team.
Senior Policy Advisor, Thomas McLennan, who can be emailed at [email protected], would like to collate feedback from businesses across all sectors of membership to identify any common issues for future discussions with policymakers.
The association would also like to encourage all those who receive this EU Exit Bulletin to invite colleagues to sign up to receive it too. They can simply sign up via the BVRLA website and ensure that ‘News & Insight’ is ticked in their communication preference once their account is set up.
Data protection post EU transition
The Government has published guidance on what action you need to take regarding data protection and data flows with the EU/EEA.
The EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement contains a bridging mechanism that allows the continued free flow of personal data from the EU/EEA to the UK for up to 6 months until adequacy decisions come into effect to allow the ongoing free flow of data from the EEA to the UK.
As a sensible precaution, before and during the bridging mechanism, it is recommended that you work with EU/EEA organisations who transfer personal data to you to put in place alternative transfer mechanisms to safeguard against any interruption to the free flow of EU to UK personal data, as it is not a guarantee that the UK will be granted an adequacy agreement.
The ICO website has some useful guidance for businesses of all sizes, to help prepare in the event of no adequacy agreement being granted.
Clarifying customs rules for moving vehicles into Northern Ireland
The BVRLA has published a series of insightful interviews with the Institute of Export & International Trade, which explains the changes from a customs and border perspective from 1 January 2021 when moving goods to Northern Ireland.
The interviews cover four key areas:
- Rented / Leased vehicles driven by customers into Northern Ireland and the EU
- Firms moving vehicles they own into Northern Ireland and the EU
- Delivering and selling cars, looking at the Northern Ireland UK Trader System and who must fill in the paperwork around customs declarations
- General advice looking at VAT and customs procedures and the need for firms to learn more about systems, increase readiness and negotiate with suppliers.
Regulating and reporting CO2 emissions
The Department for Transport has now taken over the application and enforcement of CO₂ standards for GB-registered cars and vans as of 1 January 2021.
This was previously governed by EU regulations, where data was gathered each year on fleets across Europe, and manufacturers who failed to meet their CO₂ targets were fined. Under the new GB regime, manufacturers are set GB-specific targets which are at least as ambitious as current EU CO₂ emissions targets. These will not count towards EU targets.
HMRC customs declarations webinars
HMRC has launched a series of live 60-minute webinars covering how to complete customs import declarations and explaining how to make import declarations when importing goods between the EU and Great Britain. Several dates are available in January, the first being 11 January at 3.45pm.
Getting EU Funding
Guidance has been updated to include details of programmes for which you can still apply for EU funding, under the current and next spending frameworks.
From January 2021, the UK will take part in the Peace Plus programme under the next EU spending framework from 2021 to 2027. The UK also intends to continue participating in the Horizon Europe, Euratom and Copernicus programmes under the next EU spending framework.
BVRLA welcomes EU Trade Deal
The BVRLA welcomed last week’s announcement of a Brexit trade deal between the UK and EU. Commenting on the news, Chief Executive Gerry Keaney said:
“This deal comes as a big relief and will provide a welcome boost for the UK automotive sector, which can now plan for 2021 and beyond with more confidence and certainty. Avoiding tariffs on vehicles and parts is essential, but with the end of the transition period only days away, there is a lot to be done to prepare for January and beyond as details around the new trading terms become clear.”
The association has already had follow-up discussions with Government officials at Ministerial level, where it urged policymakers to provide timely and transparent guidance to accompany the legal text of the trade agreement.
In the meantime, the Government has published a summary explainer of the agreement and continues to update its official guidance on the Brexit Transition web page. You can sign up for the latest email updates via the Government’s Business Readiness Bulletin.
If you have any questions or issues that you would like the BVRLA to address or put to policymakers, please get in touch via [email protected].
There is more sector-specific information and a selection of useful contacts and links on the association’s EU Exit Guidance web page.
Zero tariffs and phase-in for rules of origin requirements on EVs and hybrids
The UK and EU have published details of their trade deal, in which they agree to zero tariffs and quotas on the import and export of trade goods, including vehicles and parts. However, to qualify for the tariff-free access to each market, companies will need to meet ‘Rules of Origin’ requirements, which set a threshold for how much of a particular good can be made outside of the UK or EU. These state that:
- Petrol and diesel cars need to be made with at least 55% ‘local’ (UK or EU) content
- Until 2023 EVs and hybrids will need to be made with at least 40% local content, while batteries will need at least 30%
- Between 2024 and 2026 EVs and hybrids will need to be made with at least 45% local content, and batteries will need at least 50%
- The post 2027 thresholds will be reviewed after 2024
The EU and UK have jointly agreed additional flexibility in collecting documentary evidence to prove origin during the first year, to allow for the limited time available between conclusion and application of the agreement. Further detail on this flexibility will be published imminently.
Vehicle manufacturers with UK operations have said that they are still assessing the implications of the new deal and the administrative burden of producing the relevant customs declarations, certifications and audits. Commenting on the deal, SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes said:
“The timings underscore the urgent need for government to create the conditions that will attract large-scale battery manufacturing to the U.K. and transform our supply chains.
“Improving the competitiveness of the U.K. will be essential to help mitigate the additional costs and burdens brought about by our new trading relationship.”
EU and UK agree to work together on automotive regulations
There is no mutual recognition of type approval in the Brexit trade deal, but the EU and UK have signalled their willingness to work together in reducing the regulatory burden on the automotive sector.
- Regulatory convergence for the sector will be maintained using international technical standards set at UNECE (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe) level. The EU and UK will cooperate and, where appropriate, plan initiatives to promote greater international harmonisation of technical requirements. Both will accept products that are covered by a valid UN type-approval certificate
- Both sides will cooperate and exchange information to support the identification and addressing of non-conformities of vehicles
- They will cooperate in developing new vehicle safety regulations or related standards, advanced emission reduction, and emerging vehicle technologies
Driving in the EU from Jan 1st
The government has issued updated guidance on what UK drivers need to do to drive while visiting the EU from 1 January 2021, including details on motor insurance 'green cards.'
The new deal confirms that hauliers will be able to continue operating across the EU and UK territories without additional permits or licences. The Government has updated its guidance.
Data adequacy update
Data adequacy is not covered by the new Brexit trade agreement, but a joint declaration published alongside the deal makes it clear the EU will undertake an adequacy assessment. Both sides have agreed a four-month temporary arrangement to allow data to continue being transferred from the EU to the UK from the 1 January. This can be extended to six months provided the UK does not make any changes to its data protection laws.
This means businesses transferring data from the EU to the UK do not have to put alternative measures in place, such as standard contractual clauses, from 1 January. However, the latest Government guidance is still advising firms to take advantage of the additional time provided to do so.
Customs and Northern Ireland interviews with IOE&IT
The BVRLA has spoken to the Institute of Export & International Trade (IOE&IT) in a series of interviews for members, that cover the changes from a customs and border perspective from 1 January 2021.
The interviews cover four key areas:
- Rented / Leased vehicles driven by customers into Northern Ireland and the EU
- Firms moving vehicles they own into Northern Ireland and the EU
- Delivering and selling cars, looking at the Northern Ireland UK Trader System and who must fill in the paperwork around customs declarations
- General advice looking at VAT and customs procedures and the need for firms to learn more about systems, increase readiness and negotiate with suppliers.
Cars entering Northern Ireland from Great Britain
Information on vehicle movements into Northern Ireland (NI) and the customs requirements around this, whether this is customers driving rental or leased cars or firms wanting to move their vehicles, can be found on the Government’s Trader Support Service page.
If a vehicle is entering Northern Ireland and the vehicle itself will not be used for a commercial purpose, then there is no need for customs declarations around the vehicle. For example, if a leasing customer drives their car into NI for a business meeting or customer rents a car from Great Britain (GB) and drives it into NI.
If a vehicle is moved to NI for commercial purposes, then a customs declaration is needed immediately along with the associated VAT accounting, there is no grace period. For example, a rental company moves vehicles from a GB depot to a NI depot to rent them from NI or a customer vehicle breaks down and in NI and it will be rented out from NI after repair.
If customers are using a rented or leased vehicle for other commercial purposes, for example selling furniture from GB into NI, then there are numerous customs procedures the vehicle user will need to follow.
Product liability considerations
Currently, when a product leaves a factory it is the manufacturer who is liable for the product and safety of the goods.
This changes under the EU Withdrawal Act (irrespective of a free trade agreement) and the party now liable for product liability and safety of goods is the “person established in the United Kingdom that places a product from a country outside the United Kingdom on the market”.
In product safety legislation “placing on the market” is the first supply of goods. There must be a written or verbal agreement (or offer of an agreement) to transfer ownership or possession or other rights regarding the product. This does not require physical transfer of the goods.
Transfer of goods also takes place when goods are loaned or hired.
To establish if there is likely to be an impact on business, check if the contract for vehicle supply with a UK or EU based supplier. If agreements are with a UK based firm, then in most likelihood liabilities will rest with that firm. If the contract is with an EU based supplier then all product liability and safety in respect of the goods in the UK will most likely shift as they are the first to place it on the UK market.
Members should seek external advice on this issue if they have any concerns.
End of transition VAT considerations
The BVRLA’s EU Exit Business Advice page been updated to cover VAT and rental/leasing cars in Ireland.
Rental or leasing cars which drive into Ireland after 31 December 2020 will owe VAT to the Irish state on the period of time that the vehicle is used in Ireland.
This will be the case for vehicles which enter Ireland from both Northern Ireland and Great Britain, as both are considered as outside of the EU.
More information on the Irish Tax and Customs website.
EU Exit advice contacts
Members have requested contact details from the BVRLA for external EU Exit contacts and firms to support their preparations for the end of the transition period.
The 1st January is fast approaching and these advisors are in high demand.
To assist members looking to reach out to private sector advisory firms, the BVRLA has created a non-exhaustive list of some external EU contacts. These are independent contacts and are not connected to the BVRLA.
This will hopefully help members with pressing issues around the end of the transition period to access the assistance they may need.
Please note that any arrangements that may be made with the contacts listed are at members sole discretion and risk. The BVRLA accepts no liability regarding the suitability of these contacts or otherwise.
Resources for business readiness
Government resources for traders on border readiness include:
- The Brexit checker tool is the best place for businesses to start and provides a list of personalised actions they need to take.
- It is possible to sign up and create an account to get alerts when changes are made to relevant guidance.
- Step by step guides for importing and exporting.
- Video guides for importing and exporting.
- Process flows for importing and exporting.
Government warns UK firms to act now on EU data flows
The UK Government is advising businesses to act now and work with EU/EEA organisations that transfer personal data to them to put in place alternative transfer mechanisms, such as Standard Contractual Clauses (SCCs) to ensure that data can continue to flow lawfully from 1 January.
The EU is currently conducting a data adequacy assessment of the UK and with only weeks to go until the end of the transition period, the EU has yet to signal that the UK’s data protection regime is adequate. If the EU grants a positive adequacy decision by 1 January 2021, it would mean that personal data can flow freely from the EU/EEA to the UK, as it does now.
Guidance for hauliers and commercial drivers
The Government has published guidance in the form of a ‘Haulier Handbook’, as a one-stop-shop for hauliers and commercial operators working internationally, providing key information on how to prepare vehicles and goods to ensure a smooth process and help minimise disruption at the border.
Green Cards and GB stickers required on vehicles
The Government is advising that UK drivers are likely to need a Green Card to drive their vehicles in the EU (including the Republic of Ireland) from 1 January 2021.
A Green Card, which is an international certificate of motor insurance, is accepted in the 48 countries that are part of the Green Card scheme. UK drivers and operators should take action to ensure that they have Green Cards for all vehicles and trailers from 1 January 2021. You can get Green Cards from the insurance company insuring the vehicle or trailer.
Drivers will also need to display a GB sticker to the rear of the vehicle and trailer, even if the number plates include the GB identifier under the EU logo. Vehicles registered in Great Britain or Northern Ireland don’t need to display a GB sticker to drive in Ireland.
Information about the UK points-based immigration system
Information for employers to help them prepare for the UK’s new point-based immigration system from 1 January 2021 has been updated to include links to a new podcast on the future of immigration.
Trading under World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules
Guidance has been updated to reflect the latest information about trading under WTO rules from 1 January 2021 if no trade agreement exists between the UK and another country.
WTO rules state that the same trading terms must be applied to all WTO members, unless there is a trade agreement between two or more countries. This is known as Most Favoured Nation (MFN) treatment. The UK currently trades with many countries on WTO terms, including China, India, Brazil and Saudi Arabia.
Resources to support businesses that trade with the EU
The Government has produced a series of videos explaining what businesses need to do to be ready for 1 January 2021, covering a range of subjects including exports and imports, customs, commodity codes and controlled goods.
The Department for International Trade is also hosting a series of one-hour webinars between 3 and 17 December tailored for UK businesses who import and export goods. You can register now for the next webinar on 3 December at 10:30 am.
HMRC is also hosting a series of webinars between 1 and 4 December to provide support with customs declarations.
New public sector procurement process
The Government has published the first of two Procurement Policy Notes, introducing the new ‘Find a Tender’ service, a new e-notification service that will be used to post and view public sector procurement notices from 1 January.
Protection of trademarks and intellectual property
The Government has updated its guidance for businesses and organisations holding EU trademarks at the end of the transition period. On the 1 January 2021, the Intellectual Property Office will create a comparable UK trademark for all right holders with an existing EU trademark.
Information for customers and users of IP about how the IP system and the Intellectual Property Office will operate after the end of the transition period has also been published.
Support for trading in or via Northern Ireland
From 1st January 2021, the Northern Ireland Protocol will come into effect and as a result there will be changes to the way goods move between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
To help businesses and traders of all sizes to navigate these changes, the UK Government has launched the Trader Support Service and businesses are being encouraged to sign up now. The service will:
- Provide a free end-to-end support package to manage import and safety and security declarations on behalf of traders.
- Educate businesses on what the Northern Ireland Protocol means for them, and the steps they need to take to comply with it. This includes online training sessions and webinars happening now.
- Help to complete relevant declaration forms for all businesses moving goods into Northern Ireland under new processes in the Northern Ireland Protocol that start from 1 January.
New laws remove UK’s obligation to share vehicle keeper data
The Government has published new regulations removing the obligation on the UK to facilitate cross-border exchange of information on road safety related traffic offences with EU Member States.
The UK will not process requests for vehicle keeper data from enquiring EU Member States associated with the following eight traffic offences: speeding; not using a seatbelt; not stopping at a red traffic light; drink-driving; driving under the influence of drugs; not wearing a safety helmet; using a forbidden lane; and illegally using a mobile or another communication device while driving.
New process for tendering for public sector contracts
From 1 January 2021, businesses will be able to use a new ‘Find a Tender’ online service to view public procurement notices published by UK contracting authorities. This will replace the requirement to publish notices in the Official Journal of the European Union.
You will also still be able to use existing portals such as Contracts Finder, MOD Defence Contracts Online, Public Contracts Scotland, Sell2Wales and eTendersNI to view low value or location specific notices.
Claiming VAT refunds from EU countries
The Government has published guidance on how to claim VAT from EU member states from 1 January 2021 advising that you can continue to use the EU VAT refund system to claim a VAT refund on expenses incurred before 1 January 2021 in EU member states, until 11pm on 31 March 2021.
You will not be able to use the EU VAT refund system to claim refunds of VAT on expenses incurred in an EU member state on or after 1 January 2021.
Completing customs import declarations
HMRC is inviting members to register to attend one of a series of webinars taking place between 13 and 18 November designed to explain how to make import declarations to goods between the EU and Great Britain, including simplified and supplementary declarations. Key terminology and new processes will also be explained.
The Government has published a list of customs agents and fast parcel operators who can help submit customs declarations.
New immigration rules enshrined in law
The Immigration Act has now received Royal Assent and been signed into law, ending free movement of people at 11pm on 31 December 2020.
The Government has published information for employers on the new UK points-based immigration system as well as information for EU, EEA or Swiss citizens who want to work in the UK in 2021. Those already living and working in the UK before 31 December should apply to the EU Settlement Scheme
Support on managing intellectual property
The Intellectual Property Office is inviting members to register to attend a webinar taking place at 2pm on Tuesday 17th November to hear about changes to registration of EU Trademarks and Designs and changes to copyright licencing.
The IPO will also provide an update on operational changes to office processes for the registration of trademarks, designs and patents after the end of the transition period.
FCA invites members to ‘Brexit webinar’
The Financial Conduct Authority is inviting members to register to attend a webinar taking place at 10am on 18 November to discuss what the end of the EU Exit transition period will mean for firms. There will be presentations from specialists and an opportunity to ask questions.
The hour-long webinar is aimed at senior level staff in FCA-regulated firms who are involved in EU Exit preparations and the regulator is encouraging representatives from smaller firms to attend.
The regulator has also published Key requirements of firms on the FCA website to help prepare businesses for their new obligations when the EU transition period ends on 31 December 2020.
Managing data internationally beyond 1 January
Members who receive and transfer personal data to or from organisations abroad, including the European Economic Area (EEA) are being invited to register to attend a webinar taking place at 11am on Wednesday 18 November.
This webinar will provide information on the actions you should take to prepare your business for new rules from January 2021 and will discuss:
- The UK Data Protection regime from January 2021
- Data Adequacy
- Data Preparedness
Experts from the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Department for Culture Media and Sport will be hosting the webinar and attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions.
The BVRLA is keen to hear from members on issues relating to data preparedness and what the implications will be for members’ businesses should the EU not grant an Adequacy Agreement to the UK. Email BVRLA Senior Policy Adviser, Thomas McLennan with your views.
Placing manufactured goods into Northern Ireland
Guidance has been published on what you need to do to comply with regulations on manufactured goods you place on the Northern Ireland market from 1 January 2021.
There are different rules for goods regulated under the old approach, goods covered by national rules (non-harmonised) and certain other goods, such as medical devices and civil explosives. EU rules will continue to apply to most ‘old approach goods’ in Northern Ireland, which includes vehicles.
Section 2 of the Guidance on Moving goods under the Northern Ireland Protocol has also been updated.
Update on Trade Agreements
The Government has published details of the latest trade agreements, adding Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) and Ukraine to the list of countries and territories with whom the UK now has a signed trade agreement.
The new agreements will take effect on 1 January 2021 and are expected to represent around £401m and £1,533m in UK trade.
Trading with developing nations
From 1 January 2021, eligible developing countries will be able to get trade preferences through the UK Generalised Scheme of Preferences, reducing or removing tariffs on imports into the UK. The announcement means that imports from 47 of the world’s least developed countries, including Bangladesh and Malawi, will not face any tariffs, supporting their economic development through business and trade.
Free webinars discussing legal changes from 1 January
The Ministry of Justice, Law Society and Bar Council are holding a series of free webinars.
29 October 2020, 17:00 - 18:00 Preparing for the end of transition: Register here to attend this online seminar, covering substantive law issues around the end of the UK's transition from the EU including future civil justice cooperation and data adequacy and GDPR.
11 November 2020, 10:00 - 11:00 End of transition and intellectual property. Register here to attend this webinar, exploring how in future UK businesses and lawyers can both protect and enforce their Intellectual Property rights across Europe.
Automotive industry highlights cost of no deal
The SMMT estimates that a 10% World Trade Organisation (WTO) tariff would increase the cost of UK-made electric cars exported to the EU by an average £2,000 per vehicle. In September, production of the latest battery electric vehicles (BEVs) grew 37.0% year-on-year, with the overwhelming majority (76.6%) exported, many of these into the EU.
Last week, the BVRLA wrote to policymakers urging them to get a free trade deal done, stating that failure to do so would be disastrous for the fleet industry, estimating that tariffs imposed on new car and van imports from the EU would add £2.1 billion to the fleet sector’s annual new car costs. Tariffs would also risk hindering a green recovery with fleets needing to spend an extra £2.8 billion on battery electric cars over the next five years.
Preparing businesses who move goods between GB and EU
HMRC has written to VAT-registered businesses highlighting actions that they need to take to prepare for new processes for moving goods between Great Britain and the EU from 1 January 2021.
They explain what businesses need to do to prepare for new processes, including:
- making sure they have a UK Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number
- deciding how they will make customs declarations
- checking if their imported goods are eligible for staged import controls
These actions will not change regardless of the outcome of the Government’s negotiations with the EU. The updated Border Operating Model provides further detail on how the GB-EU border will work and the actions that traders, hauliers and passengers need to take.
Rules relating to online activities in European Economic Area countries
Guidance has been published on the eCommerce Directive after the transition period, as rules relating to online activities in EEA countries may newly apply to UK online service providers who operate in those countries from 1 January 2021.
The eCommerce Directive currently allows EEA online service providers to operate in any EEA country, while only following relevant rules in the country in which they are established. This framework will no longer apply to UK providers as the UK will have left the EEA. Firms are being advised to prepare for these changes now.
The Northern Ireland Protocol and the movement of goods
New guidance has been published on moving excise goods as freight under the Northern Ireland Protocol in addition to guidance on Accounting for VAT on goods moving between Great Britain and Northern Ireland from 1 January 2021.
For those who move goods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland, or vice versa, the Trader Support Service is also available to provide guidance and support relating to the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Guidance updated for international road haulage
Guidance on carrying out international road haulage has been updated explaining what UK goods vehicle operators need to do to ensure that they are adhering to the rules when carrying out international road haulage as of 1 January 2021.
The guidance provides advice on what documentation is needed, including VE103 certificates when taking rented or lease vehicles abroad.
Applications open for ECMT permits on 2 November
The Government has updated its guidance on International road haulage permits: ECMT permits 2021 explaining the criteria for allocating ECMT permits and confirming what hauliers need to do as new rules will be in place from 1 January 2021 for those who carry goods to, from or through the EU.
Hauliers will be able to apply for a permit from 2 November via a digital application system and are advised to read the information on Gov.uk explaining what ECMT permits are for.
The UK’s trade relationship with Japan
The UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) was signed on 23 October.
The Government has published a parliamentary report containing an overview of the agreement, economic analysis of trade between the UK and Japan and an explanation of any changes or significant differences between the UK-Japan trade agreement and the EU-Japan trade agreement. An impact assessment has also been published to provide information on the potential economic impacts of the agreement.
Existing UK trade agreements with non-EU countries
The Government has updated its guidance on Existing UK trade agreements with non-EU countries to reflect the signing of the UK-Japan Agreement.
The guidance includes information on the trade agreements the UK has already signed and our discussions with countries the EU has a trade agreement with. The UK is seeking to reproduce the effects of existing EU agreements for when they no longer apply to the UK after 31 December 2020.
If we do not reproduce the effects of an existing EU agreement, trade with other World Trade Organization (WTO) members will take place on WTO terms from 1 January 2021.
Update on the progress of EU trade negotiations
Responding to a statement made yesterday by EU Chief Negotiator Michael Barnier, in which he acknowledged that movement would be needed from both sides in the talks if agreement was to be reached, the Prime Minister has issued a statement confirming that the UK will welcome the EU team to London to resume negotiations later this week.
Government warned of the impact on fleets of having no free trade agreement
The BVRLA has written to senior Government officials warning of the estimated costs that will burden the fleet industry if the UK and EU fail to reach a free trade agreement.
With 72% of fleet cars and 68% of vans estimated to be sourced from the EU, the impact of not having a free trade deal would be disastrous for the fleet industry. Tariffs would add £2.1 billion a year to the UK fleet sector’s car renewal costs and £310 million a year to the sector’s van renewal costs, according to industry figures.
In a letter sent to senior ministers and policymakers, the BVRLA has asked the Government to:
- Continue to work with the EU to reach a deal
- Protect order banks by confirming that, in the event of no EU-UK free trade agreement, there will be a waiver on the tariffs on cars, vans, HGVs and parts ordered before the end of the year which arrive after 1 January 2021.
- Implement a tariff review process now for certain key sectors to request tariff level reviews post 1 January 2021 once their full impact is apparent.
- Create a process now for firms to apply for temporary tariff waivers on specific products when there is not sufficient UK supply.
- Support the BEV market by providing additional tax incentives and grants that will maintain the supply and cost competitiveness of BEVs in the UK.
EU Exit Business Advice page updated with members’ Q&A
A new section has been added to the BVRLA EU Exit Business Advice web page containing questions from members relating to EU Exit, alongside responses from government officials.
Under the heading of ‘Members’ EU Exit questions answered’ there is a list of Q&A relating to tariffs and trade agreements, customs and more. Questions were put to officials at the recent BVRLA Fleets in Charge digital event, but time pressures left the questions unanswered.
The BVRLA is grateful to the Cabinet Office, HMRC and the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy for providing their answers afterwards.
Government launches plans to keep trade flowing
The Department for Transport has announced its plans to keep trade flowing by minimising the risk of disruption at the end of the transition period.
A new communication campaign targeting hauliers through radio, press and digital advertising is being launched to make sure that hauliers are aware of the upcoming changes and have the correct documentation, reducing the risk of delays at the border.
It will be mandatory for all heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) using the Short Straits channel crossings to obtain a digital Kent Access Permit (KAP) and hauliers are being encouraged to apply for a European Conference of Ministers of Transport (ECMT) permit as a precautionary measure. Following the end of the transition period, ECMT permits may be needed to support hauliers accessing the EU.
UK will mirror EU CO2 targets post EU Exit
The Government has confirmed that the UK will mirror the EU CO2 regulations for UK registrations from January 2021.
As of next year, registrations in the UK will no longer count towards manufacturer’s EU CO2 targets. This means that manufacturers will have to meet ambitious CO2 targets in the UK after the end of the transition period, with mirrored fines and planned future reductions of 15% for cars and vans by 2025, and 37.5% for cars and a 31% for vans by 2030.
The BVRLA remains concerned about whether manufacturers will maintain an adequate supply of electric vehicles into the UK beyond January and is in regular discussion with Government on this matter.
Update on UK and EU trade negotiations
Yesterday, ahead of the two-day EU leaders’ summit, the Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke with Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission and Charles Michel, President of the European Council to discuss the latest state of play of the negotiations on the UK’s future relationship with the EU.
Although the Prime Minister noted the desirability of a deal, he expressed his disappointment that more progress had not been made over the past two weeks and confirmed that he looks forward to hearing the outcome of the European Council and would reflect before setting out the UK’s next steps.
The 27 EU leaders are expected to conclude that progress on the key issues of interest to the Union is still not sufficient for an agreement to be reached. Sticking points remain in the areas of fisheries, enforcement of a trade agreement and future state subsidies policy.
Any agreement must be approved by the British and European parliaments before the 2021 deadline, with civil servants also requiring time to enshrine a trade deal into legislation, so both sides now consider the end of October or the first week of November as a more realistic deadline for achieving a deal.
Webinars to help businesses prepare for EU Exit
Business Secretary of State, Alok Sharma MP has published a message to remind business leaders that regardless of whether a trade agreement is reached with the EU, from 1 January there will be guaranteed changes to:
- the way businesses import and export goods
- the process for hiring people from the EU
- the way businesses provide services in EU markets
The Government is hosting a series of free webinars to help businesses to prepare for the changes.
Guidance on how the border with the EU will work
The Government has published an updated Border Operating Model, which provides further detail on how the GB-EU border will work and the actions that traders, hauliers and passengers need to take.
The updated guidance confirms:
- further detail for businesses and passengers on how the GB-EU border will operate after the end of the transition period.
- that hauliers will need a Kent Access Permit to proceed to the border.
- EU, EEA and Swiss national ID cards will not be acceptable for travel to the UK, including for drivers, from October 2021.
Guidance on using personal data post EU Exit
The Government has published guidance on what action you need to take regarding data protection and data flows with the EU/EEA after the end of the transition period.
Most organisations use personal data in their daily operations. Personal data is any information that can be used to identify a living person, including names, delivery details, IP addresses, or HR data such as payroll details.
Green Cards, if needed, can be printed by customers
Whilst there is still no definitive answer on whether a motor insurance green card will be need for customers taking their rental or leased vehicle abroad in 2021, the advice from the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) is that the card can be issued by insurers electronically and then printed by the person travelling abroad.
This will make life easier for rental companies as previous guidance had indicated that only a printed version would suffice and it had to be printed on green paper.
CMA consults on its functions post EU Exit
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is consulting on its draft guidance on its functions after the end of the Transition Period.
The consultation, which closes at midday on 30 October 2020, is inviting views and is particularly interested in whether the draft guidance provides sufficient information and clarity.
Changes in the rules when hiring workers from the EU
The new system will introduce job, salary and language requirements, treating EU and non-EU citizens equally, transforming the way in which employers recruit from outside the UK.
From 1 January 2021, employers will need a sponsor license to hire most eligible people from outside the UK, excluding Irish citizens, who are exempt. The process usually takes around eight weeks and fees apply.
The new system will not apply to EU citizens living in the UK by 31 December 2020. They and their family members are eligible to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme and have until 30 June 2021 to make an application.
Hear from specialists on the implications of EU Exit on fleets
Members attending the BVRLA’s free-to-register Fleets in Charge digital event on Tuesday 6 October will have the opportunity to take part in an EU Exit breakout session where there will be discussion about what the fleet sector needs to be aware of and what businesses can be doing now to prepare.
BVRLA representatives will be joined by specialists from the CBI, SMMT and the Automotive Unit at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, as well as a senior government official specialising in business preparedness for EU Exit.
Motorists advised to check documentation requirements for travelling abroad
The Government has confirmed that, although the UK wants to remain part of the Green Card-free circulation area, this is subject to the European Commission issuing an implementing decision that would ensure that UK motorists can drive in the EU without a Green Card.
In the absence of this decision, UK motorists wishing to travel to EEA member states, Switzerland, Serbia and Andorra may need to carry Green Cards or other valid proof of motor insurance from 1 January.
Motorists are advised to contact their motor insurance provider a month before travel in order to be provided with a Green Card for their vehicle and trailer. New rules on Green Cards mean that if they are required, they can now be printed out by policy-holders on white paper.
For updates on documentation requirements when driving rented or leased vehicles abroad, check the Taking a Vehicle Abroad page on the BVRLA website.
Government warns of potential delays affecting the flow of goods
The Government has published a Reasonable Worst Case Scenario outlining the potential disruption to freight travelling between Great Britain and the EU at the end of the transition period, stating that on 1 January 2021, 40-70% of trucks travelling to the EU might not be ready for new border controls.
The lack of capacity to hold unready trucks at the French ports, or to turn away freight prior to boarding in the UK, could reduce the flow rate to 60-80% of normal levels.
While the assumption is that the risk of long queues and a constraint to flow would diminish in the first three months, the actual flow of goods would depend on the length of time it takes those exporting/importing businesses that were not ready on 1 January to get ready for new requirements. There also remains a risk of continuing disruption caused by Schengen controls being applied rigorously at the juxtaposed controls at the Port of Dover and Eurotunnel.
UK businesses urged to prepare now for 1 January
Marking just 100 days before the UK leaves the Single Market and the Customs Union, the Chancellor of the Duchy Lancaster, Michael Gove MP made a statement to the House of Commons on preparations for the end of the Transition Period, urging people to prepare now.
Mr Gove made clear that whatever the outcome of the UK/EU trade negotiations, things will change for businesses and individuals as they trade with and travel to the EU – and people need to take steps now to ensure that they are adequately prepared for when the transition period ends on 31 December.
Free resources to support businesses preparing for EU Exit
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is hosting a series of free business support webinars to help business leaders to check the new rules and understand the actions they need to take.
Members will be particularly interested in the Automotive webinar taking place at 2pm on Wednesday 14 October and the Services and investment webinar at 11am, Tuesday 13 October
A collection of useful videos on trading with the EU beyond 1 January have also been published and there is a simple checker tool to help individuals and businesses to find out what steps they need to take to get prepared for 1 January.
Automotive industry unites in calls for free trade deal with EU
The SMMT has joined organisations representing EU and UK vehicle and parts manufacturers to call for urgent agreement of an ambitious free trade deal before the end of the transition period in just 15 weeks’ time.
New calculations show the catastrophic impact of ‘no deal’ with World Trade Organisation (WTO) tariffs putting production of some 3 million EU and UK built cars and vans at risk over next five years.
‘No deal’ would mean combined EU-UK trade losses worth up to €110 billion to 2025, on top of around €100 billion in lost production value so far this year because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Covering the cost of the tariffs, far higher than the small margins of most manufacturers, would almost certainly need to be passed on to consumers, making vehicles more expensive, reducing choice, and impacting demand. Automotive suppliers’ products will also be hit by tariffs. This will make production more expensive or will lead to more imports of parts from other competitive countries.
The BVRLA understands that over 70% of fleet and business car purchases are built in the EU - all of these are at risk.
The association’s members will have to pay the tariffs or pass them on to their customers. This would be disastrous for fleets and would seriously slow the decarbonisation agenda.
UK fleets are not in a position post-Covid to absorb these costs and automotive demand will stall.
It will also become more expensive for essential user fleets to operate and significantly increase the cost for fleets looking to do the right thing and replace their vehicles with Battery Electric Vehicles.
The tariffs on parts will impact the whole life cost of vehicles and have impacts on contracts that members have already signed. Orders are already in the pipeline which would land in 2021 and these must not be hit with a tariff.
The BVRLA is asking for a deal with no tariffs and ensuring an easy flow of vehicles and parts through the border.
The UK secures a Free Trade Agreement with Japan
The UK’s first major trade deal as an independent trading nation has been made with Japan. The deal will give UK businesses the benefit of tariff-free trade on 99% of exports to Japan in a deal expected to be worth an estimated £15.2 billion.
The deal is also an important step towards joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), giving UK businesses a gateway to the Asia-Pacific region and help to increase the resilience and diversity of our supply chains.
Government writes to businesses about new trade arrangements with the EU
HMRC has written to businesses about the new trading arrangements when the UK leaves the EU single market and customs Union, highlighting actions that need to be taken now to continue trading with the EU from 1 January 2021, including:
- Make sure you have a GB EORI number
- Decide how you’re going to make customs declarations
- See if your imported goods are eligible for staged controls
- Decide how you will account for import VAT when you make a customs declaration
- Check if Import VAT is due at the border
- Check the Controlled goods list to see if you need to complete declarations from January. If your goods are not on the list you can choose to delay import declarations until July 2021
- Check the government’s tariff tables and consider how your trade will be affected
- Sign up for the new Trader Support Service, if you move goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland or bring goods into Northern Ireland from outside the UK
Video guidance for businesses who are brand new to customs
HMRC has created a series of short videos aimed at helping those businesses brand new to customs:
- What is Customs?
- What you need to know to bring goods into the UK?
- What you need to do to send goods out of the UK?
The Government has published a list of customs agents and fast parcel operators who can help submit customs declarations from 1 January 2021.
CMA to oversee new ‘Office for the Internal Market’
The UK government has laid out plans to establish an independent monitoring body, the Office for the Internal Market (OIM), who will oversee the functioning of the UK internal market.
The body will sit within the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and provide independent, technical advice to parliament and the devolved administrations on regulation that may damage the UK’s internal market.
The CMA will have powers to monitor and report on the effectiveness of the internal market, and will need to report on the functioning of the internal market every 12 months, and the effectiveness of the bill’s provisions on mutual recognition and non-discrimination every five years.
Controversial UK Internal Market Bill presented to Parliament
The Government presented the UK Internal Market Bill to Parliament on 9 September, which is designed to guarantee that companies can trade unhindered in every part of the UK.
The Bill has made headlines for the controversial provision that would allow ministers to disregard parts of the Northern Ireland protocol. The Institute for Government believes that the UK Government should be prepared to compromise on the Internal Market Bill, claiming that “the stage is now set for a major stand-off between the UK government and devolved administrations.”
In a meeting of the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee on 10 September, Vice President Šefčovič detailed the European Union’s concerns, and requested that the UK withdraw the UK Internal Market Bill. The UK Government made clear that the legislative timetable for the Bill would continue as planned.
BVRLA raises concerns on CO2 emission proposals
The BVRLA has responded to the Department for Transport’s consultation on LDV CO2 emission performance standards, which focuses on the technical translation of EU standards when the transition period ends.
The Government has said that it remains committed to securing an approach that is at least as ambitious as the current arrangements for vehicle emissions regulation.
Having read the proposals, the BVRLA has raised concerns about two approaches proposed by the Government, including:
- Using EU average fleet weights, which are lower than in Great Britain, effectively giving manufacturers a higher emissions target in Britain than the EU. This will be until government aligns the weights with reality, which it has promised to do in due course.
- Having the GBP/Euro exchange rate set at a certain point in time, when Stirling could depreciate next year and the fines that are levied in Britain would not be comparable to EU fines.
In its consultation response, the BVRLA has asked that both these approaches be reversed, requesting that the UK fleet weight be used from 1 January 2021 and the exchange rate be reviewed regularly.
Views sought on weight limits for heavy-duty vehicles
The Department for Transport is seeking views from industry on EU changes to maximum gross vehicle weight limits for heavy-duty vehicles.
EU regulations allow an extra 1 tonne of weight for alternatively fuelled heavy goods and passenger service vehicles, and an extra 2 tonnes of weight for these vehicles when they are zero emission.
The UK Government is considering adopting these regulations and is keen to understand what impact the changes could have on:
- the timeframes that alternatively fuelled and zero emission vehicles are brought to British market
- the rate that alternatively fuelled and zero emission vehicles are adopted
- the performance of alternatively fuelled and zero emission vehicles when compared with conventionally fuelled vehicles.
The Department for Transport is also looking for views on how longer cabs and rear aerodynamic devices could impact the performance of alternatively fuelled and zero emission vehicles.
The BVRLA is meeting with Department for Transport officials to discuss this proposal and members are invited to email [email protected] with views or questions.
Plans set out for seamless trade between UK nations
The Government has laid out plans to ensure that businesses across the whole of the UK will continue to enjoy seamless internal trade when we leave the transition period at the end of the year.
The Department for Business Energy & Industrial Strategy has conducted a four-week consultation on its plans for the UK Internal Market, in which it sets out options to protect the flow of goods and services within the UK.
Many businesses depend on trade with the home nations more than any other partner. In Scotland, sales of produce to the rest of the UK are worth £52.1 billion per year, accounting for over 60% of all exports, more than all other nations which Scotland trades with combined. Similarly, about 50% of Northern Ireland’s sales are to Great Britain and 75% of exports of Welsh goods are consumed in other parts of the UK.
From 1 January 2021, powers in at least 70 policy areas previously exercised at an EU level will flow directly to the devolved administrations in Edinburgh, Cardiff, and Belfast for the first time. This will give the devolved administrations power over more issues than they have ever had before, without removing any of their current powers.
Update on progress with Trade Agreements
The UK is seeking to reproduce the effects of existing EU agreements for when they no longer apply to the UK to ensure continuity of trading arrangements for UK businesses.
The UK Government has published a list of countries and trading blocs with whom they have a signed trade agreement that is expected to take effect when existing EU trade agreements no longer apply to the UK, from 1 January 2021.
There is also a list of countries and trading blocs with who trade discussions are still underway and EU trading terms are still in place.
If the UK Government does not reproduce the effects of an existing EU agreement, trade with other World Trade Organization (WTO) members will take place on WTO terms when EU trade agreements cease to apply to the UK. Find out more about trading under WTO terms.
New rules for those taking pets abroad
Members may want to make customers aware that should they intend to drive abroad with a pet, new rules will apply from 1 January requiring them to act now.
The UK Government has applied to the European Commission to be listed in the EU Pet Travel Scheme and is awaiting a decision. Those taking pets abroad are advised to contact their vet at least 4 months before travelling to get the latest advice.
The updated Guidance on Pet Travel to Europe from 1 January provides full details on what steps need to be taken should the UK not be listed in the scheme.
Be aware of mobile roaming charges from January
From 1 January 2021, the guarantee of free mobile phone roaming throughout the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway will end. Members are advised to check with your phone operator to find out about any roaming charges that you or any employees going overseas might incur from January.
Preparing for import and export requirements
From January 2021, traders who are exporting goods to the EU will need to make export declarations and ensure they have the right certificates and licences required for entry.
In order to fulfil the import process, traders will need to:
- Have a GB Economic Operator Registration and Identification - or EORI number before moving their goods.
- Have the commodity Code of their goods – which will be needed to make a customs declaration and of course to calculate duties on an import.
- Know the customs value of their goods – the rules for which are based on the WTO valuation agreement.
- Have considered whether they are able to, and would benefit from, using any of the available simplifications or facilitations, including deferring customs declarations for standard goods.
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove made a statement in the House of Commons confirming that in order to give businesses more time to adjust, border controls would be introduced in three stages up to 1 July 2021.
Government launches resources to prepare the UK for life beyond Brexit
The Government has launched a series of new resources to support businesses and individuals with preparedness for life beyond January 2021, when the EU Exit Transition period ends and new trading terms begin.
The resources include a dedicated website which contains information on actions you can take now that do not depend on negotiations. It includes a short questionnaire enabling you to get a personalised list of actions for you, your family, and your business and invites you to sign up for emails to get updates when things change.
Trade bodies united in plea for clarity and time
The BVRLA was joined by other automotive trade bodies at a meeting with the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy last week to discuss the industry’s preparedness for EU Exit.
Industry voices all echoed the same concerns around the need for clarity and the desired avoidance of an eleventh-hour announcement as we approach the end of the transition period.
The SMMT shared a recent survey showing 94% of their members felt a lack of clarity had hampered their ability to prepare, while 60% said that they had diverted resources away from EU-Exit preparedness to Covid crisis management.
The BVRLA also raised concerns about vehicles ordered now that may be delivered post 1 January, and therefore be subject to unknown tariffs. The association is recommending that Government considers a temporary waiving of tariffs for a set period.
Update on progress of trade negotiations
Government officials have met with the BVRLA to provide an update on the progress of the UK’s trade negotiations with the EU, USA, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.
- 5th round negotiations continue following 6 weeks of intense discussions
- Negotiations may continue well into Autumn
- Still significant differences between what the two sides want, particularly around ‘level playing field’ and fisheries
- Businesses are being advised to prepare now as it is looking unlikely that a deal will be reached.
- 3rd round negotiations continue with the USA, the second largest negotiation market
- USA has said it will apply tariffs to the EU and officials are trying to remove the threat of punitive tariffs being applied to the UK
- Time isn’t as much a pressure as with EU negotiations because the UK is not losing market access at the end of the year.
- The objective has been to replicate the Japanese / EU Free Trade Agreement, and it is going well with the Government hoping to finalise the deal in the next few weeks and share details in August / early September.
Australia and New Zealand
- 1st round of negotiations have taken place. Nothing yet to report as it was mainly introductory, outlining what each party hopes to achieve.
Phased approach to new border controls for trade
As of 1 January 2021, the UK will operate a full, external border as a sovereign nation. This means that controls will be placed on the movement of goods between Great Britain and the EU. To afford industry extra time to make necessary arrangements, the UK Government has taken the decision to introduce the new border controls in three stages up until 1 July 2021.
The Border Operating Model provides clarity and certainty for the border industry and businesses, including technical detail on how the border with the EU will work after the transition period and the actions that traders, hauliers, ports and carriers need to take.
Support for businesses trading in or via Northern Ireland
New guidance has been published to provide support for UK businesses moving goods into, out of, or through Northern Ireland. Businesses will need to engage in new processes under the Northern Ireland Protocol, which takes effect on 1 January 2021.
The Government states that changes for goods moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland will be kept to an absolute minimum with a new Trader Support Service, available to all traders at no cost to provide wraparound support, alongside the published guidance.
UK businesses will not be eligible for .EU domain names
From 1 January 2021, you’ll no longer be able to register or renew an .eu domain name if your organisation, business or undertaking is established in the UK but not in the EU/European Economic Area (EEA), or you live outside of the EU/EEA and are not an EU/EEA citizen.
Businesses with an .eu domain name should check eligibility and, if necessary, discuss with your local domain name registrar whether to transfer your internet presence to another top-level domain.
Changes to international trademark registrations
International trademark registrations protected in the EU under the Madrid Protocol will no longer enjoy protection when the transition period ends. To address this, on 1 January 2021, the UK Government will create a comparable trademark (IR) in relation to each international (EU) trademark designation which has protected status immediately before 1 January 2021.
Government launches Customs Grant Scheme
The UK Government is offering three customs declaration grants to help businesses with funding for recruitment, training and IT improvements to enable their business to complete customs declarations.
PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) is administering the scheme on behalf of the HMRC and applications should be made online through PwC.
Rules relating to online activities
As of 1 January 2021, the eCommerce Directive will no longer apply to the UK and businesses are being asked to prepare for these changes now. Rules relating to online activities in European Economic Area (EEA) countries may newly apply to UK online service providers.
Businesses should consider whether their services are currently in scope of the Directive, and if so, ensure compliance with relevant requirements in each EEA country they operate in.
Applying for EU funding
Businesses are being reminded that they can still apply for EU funding under the current spending framework and a full list of funds available is published on the Gov.UK website. The deadline for applications will depend on which fund is being applied for.