Brexit Q&A

Brexit FAQ

For all frequent asked questions about the Brexit

Within Customs Support we have set up a Dutch Brexit team to manage this unique and challenging project. The team is established in the Netherlands since the main volume increase is be expected in the Netherlands via the main ports in RTM harbour and Schiphol airport.

Our Brexit NL team has established a Q&A fact sheet including sources to answer the most common questions around the Brexit so far.

Customs Support will extend this document once we have more clear procedures and processes that are commitment between the UK and EU.

We are present in more countries. In case you are established in another EU member state, please raise your questions, if not included in the Q&A, to your account manager in country of dispatch so we can support you. You can always contact us.

1. Customs and border issues

1.1     Will there be a manual for the UK (United Kingdom) border procedures?
The British Border Operating Model has been published at gov.uk/the-border-operating-model/. This model describes the main customs processes that all importers and exporters will have to complete, including some additional processes that only apply to certain products. The Border Operating Model refers to goods moving between the EU and UK, excluding Northern Ireland is. Information for companies looking to prepare for the end of the transition period can be found at gov.uk/transition/. (Evofenedex, 2020)

1.2     In the UK, a simplified declaration is possible in the first months. Is there something similar in the EU for imports from the UK?
No. The United Kingdom has left the EU on January the 31st 2020 and the effects will become noticeable from the 1st of January 2021. Then the transition period ends. In concrete terms, this means that Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) will be a 3rd country from 1/1/21, for which customs formalities are required for import and export. The UK Border Operating Model describes the major customs processes that all importers and exporters will have to complete for the UK government. See the British Border Operation Model: gov.uk/the-border-operating-model. (Evofenedex, 2020)

1.3     A Phasing of controls has been announced for UK imports. Which documents are necessary from the 1st of January 2021? And which will expire in the first stages
Exporters can choose to submit complete customs declarations immediately. If companies choose to use the delayed declarations policy, they must comply with all associated requirements. They must keep all required documents in their own records, even though they may delay the declaration at HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs). (Evofenedex, 2020)

1.4     With a hard Brexit, will the agreements made earlier (especially those across the border in the Irish Sea) remain valid?
Yes, the Irish Sea border agreement is part of the Withdrawal Agreement. The Withdrawal Agreement is separate from the negotiations on the new future relationship. (Evofenedex, 2020)

1.5     How does the UK customs prepare for physical checks?
The British government states that the necessary government systems and infrastructure will be available on time. The UK government has announced a £ 705 million funding package for border infrastructure, jobs and technology to ensure UK border systems are fully operational. The British Border Operating Model has been published: gov.uk/the-border-operating-model. This model describes the main customs processes that all importers and exporters will have to complete, including some additional processes that only apply to certain products. (Evofenedex, 2020)

1.6     How does the UK customs prepare for digital declaration and controls? When will the CHIEF to CDS conversion take place?
Exporters or their representatives must submit additional declarations to CHIEF for all standard goods imported from January 2021 to July 2021. After this, import declarations must be submitted to CHIEF until the transfer to CDS is completed. (Evofenedex, 2020)

1.7     What is the status of the UK Transitional Simplified Procedures system? (Evofenedex, 2020)
Transitional Simplified Procedures was a UK system designed to prepare for a potentially no-deal situation. The UK has left the EU with the Withdrawal Agreement and the TSP is now closed. Instead, the UK has announced the Border Operating Model. This model describes the main customs processes that all importers and exporters will have to complete by January the 1st 2021, including some additional processes that only apply to certain products. The British Border Operating Model has been published at gov.uk/the-border-operating-model. (Evofenedex, 2020)

1.8     Is the CDIU (the Dutch Central Service for Import and Export) prepared for the influx of applications for export licenses?
Customs (incl. CDIU) states that it is well prepared for the extra work that is a consequence of Brexit. But it may be that just before or after new year there is a large peak in workload as a result of questions from entrepreneurs. So be there on time and get customs matters in order now. (Evofenedex, 2020)

1.9     Where can companies that do not trade with the UK but process or export UK products to countries with a preferential trade agreement, find information about the consequences of Brexit for their exports?
An update of the guidance for (Dutch) customs based on European policy will be published shortly. Concrete answers such as for origin determinations are answered there. The EU readiness notices are published on ec.europa.eu/getting-ready-end-transition-period. (Evofenedex, 2020)

1.10     Which customs formalities are necessary if you do contract work with raw materials from the customer?
The obvious choice is to use an Inward Processing permit for this, information regarding the permit can be found at: belastingdienst.nl/actieve-veredeling. (Evofenedex, 2020)

1.11     If a company exports goods for temporary export to the UK before the 1st of January 2021 and these goods return after 1 year, how should these goods arrive now? How do I demonstrate this for reimports in 2021?
An update of the guidance for customs will be published shortly. Concrete answers, such as reimportation, are answered there. The EU readiness notices are published on ec.europa.eu/gettingready-end-transition-period. (Evofenedex, 2020)

1.12     How to deal with e-commerce (returns) after the 1st of January 2021, to and from the UK?
An update of the guidance for customs will be published shortly. Concrete answers such as how to deal with e-commerce returns are will be answered here. The EU readiness notices are published on ec.europa.eu/igetting-ready-end-transition-period. (Evofenedex, 2020)

1.13     If a company hires freelancers from the UK and uses their services and temporary export materials, does it need to be licensed?
For the temporary importation of (professional) material into the Netherlands, a permit will have to be drawn up as of January the 1st 2021, if it concerns processing. If there is a temporary export of tools and they are not processed, it is recommended to work with an ATA carnet. The carnet must be stamped at each passage (i.e. when leaving the UK and entering the EU), again on the way back. (Evofenedex, 2020)

1.14     How final are UKGT rates as stated on gov.uk?
There are currently no plans to revise the current UKGT, the UK government indicates. If a BritishEuropean trade agreement is concluded, other rates may be agreed here. If there is no deal, WTO rates apply. (Evofenedex, 2020)

1.15     Are there still quotas on products?
Quotas are part of the negotiations that are in full swing. (Evofenedex, 2020)

1.16     How can UK companies best prepare for import-export to the EU from the 1st of January 2021?
With regard to customs matters, these companies are also advised to start arranging the necessary obligations as soon as possible, such as applying for a British EORI number, appointing a customs agent, etc. Companies that want to make the declaration themselves in the UK, may be eligible for a simplified import declaration. This can be applied for import declarations in the period from January the 1st 2021 up to and till June 30th 2021. More information: gov.uk/using-simplified-declarations-forimports. (Evofenedex, 2020)

1.17     If we deliver directly from production in China to a subsidiary in the UK after Brexit, will we be faced with import duties?
In principle you have to, unless the country of origin (probably China in this case) is going to conclude a trade agreement with the UK. (Evofenedex, 2020)

1.18     Do I have to take care of customs formalities myself after Brexit or can we outsource this?
Many importers and exporters have customs formalities carried out by a customs broker. In order to do this, the principal must authorize the forwarder to do so. In the Netherlands, direct representation is possible on import, export and re-export of goods. In this case, the Freight Forwarder acts in the name and on behalf of the Representative and his EORI number when providing the service. (Evofenedex, 2020)

1.19     I do maintenance and repair jobs in the UK. Will I soon need an ATA carnet?
For the temporary importation of materials, such as tools, samples, musical instruments and advertising material, it is useful to request an ATA carnet. With an ATA carnet, a kind of passport for your goods, you do not pay VAT, import duties or deposit. Moreover, it simplified customs procedures, because you only use 1 document for your entire journey. You can apply for an ATA carnet at the Chamber of Commerce. (KVK, 2020)

1.20     I process products from the UK and export to countries with a trade agreement. What are the consequences?
Since Brexit, some countries outside the EU no longer treat the UK as an EU member state. Examples are Japan and South Korea; countries with which the EU has concluded a preferential trade agreement. This means that these countries consider products, or parts of products, that are produced in the UK (originating in the UK) as materials that are not of EU origin. This can change the ultimate (preferential) origin of a product. And the effect of (preferential) supplier declarations and the related benefits on import duties. As an exporter, check the official information of the country of destination, and check whether this country accepts the (preferential) EU origin of the export products you have supplied. And also do this if you produce yourself and have some of the processing done in another country (partner country). If countries apply the preferential rules of origin differently in the transitional phase of Brexit, this can have negative consequences for the level of the import duties if you import these products into the destination country. This may make your product more expensive, resulting in fewer orders. An update of the "guidance" for (Dutch) Customs based on European policy will be published shortly. With answers about origin determinations. (KVK, 2020)

2. Terms of delivery

2.1¬† ¬† ¬†Which ICC Incoterms¬ģ 2020 is recommended for export to the UK? What risks are associated with the Incoterm DDP? (many UK customers request DDP terms of delivery as of 1-1-2021)
The choice of the correct ICC Incoterms¬ģ condition can vary by company. There is no standard delivery term for shipments to or from the UK after 1/1/2021. The fact that English customers often ask for DDP is probably because they have no experience with customs formalities themselves. Nevertheless, we advise companies to be cautious about this as DDP means that the seller will have to clear customs and make a local delivery in the UK. This has tax consequences in the UK, which you as a seller will have to meet. Please note: Companies that want to make the declaration themselves in the UK may be eligible for a simplified import declaration. This can be applied for import declarations in the period from January the 1st 2021 up to and till June 30th 2021. More information: gov.uk/using-simplified-declarations-for-imports. (Evofenedex, 2020)

2.2     If a Dutch supplier is going to deliver DDP to the UK, then the Dutch supplier needs a British EORI number, how can an EORI number be applied for in the UK?
After December the 31st 2020, you will need an EORI number starting with GB to move goods to or from the UK. The EORI number can be requested in 5-10 minutes at gov.uk/eori.gov.uk/eori. (Evofenedex, 2020)

2.3     Where do I request an EORI number and what should I use this number for?
You are obliged to use the EORI number (Economic Operators Registration and Identification number) in all customs transactions as an identification number in the data exchange with Dutch Customs. You will need it when it comes to shipments to and from countries outside the EU, so soon also for trade with the UK. If you have not yet received a number from Customs, you can request the EORI number at the Dutch VAT services. You can also derive it yourself, but beware of confusion with the VAT number. That may seem like it, but it is not the same. (Evofenedex, 2020)

2.4     What is an EORI number and where do I request it?
You are required to use an EORI (Economic Operators Registration and Identification) number if you trade internationally and come into contact with customs. In this way, your data is quickly exchanged internationally. It is necessary for all customs contacts, for example for your "export declaration".

The Netherlands:
Do you or your customs broker only declare in the Netherlands? Then you can compile the EORI number yourself or request it from Dutch Customs. Are you also filing a declaration abroad? Then you must always apply for the EORI number.

United Kingdom:
With a DDP delivery, you will need an EORI number starting with GB after December 31, 2020 to move goods to or from the UK. You can request the GB EORI number at http://gov.uk/eori. (Evofenedex, 2020)

2.5¬† ¬† ¬†My UK customers are more likely to request a DDP delivery. Do I adjust my Incoterms¬ģ?
By agreeing an Incoterm¬ģ with your customer you know who is responsible for arranging transport, who is responsible for the costs and who bears the risk of damage to or loss of goods. There is no standard delivery condition for shipments to or from the UK after January 1, 2021. Your UK customers are likely to ask for DDP delivery condition because they themselves have no experience with customs formalities and do not want any hassle at the border. At DDP you do a local delivery in 7 the UK and you prepare these goods at English Customs. This has tax implications for you in the UK and the costs are for your account. Include these costs in your price calculation if you choose this. (KVK, 2020)

3. Transport

3.1     Do the ferry and shortsea ports in NL, BE and FR already have a code (office of exit)?
The ports can be found in the COL (Customs Office List). The COL is published (publicly) and can be found and consulted at the following link: ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs (Evofenedex, 2020)

3.2     Are separate modules required within Portbase to process the actions for goods to and from the UK?
There are two modules relevant for shippers or logistics service providers in relation to Brexit. The import documentation notification module: portbase.com/melding-import-documentatie. And the export documentation notification: portbase.com/melding-export-documentatie. (Evofenedex, 2020)

3.3     Is it already clear for RoRo transport what the equipment ID of the truck in Portbase is?
Basically this is the trailer number. If this is not possible, for example with a delivery van, this will be the registration number. (Evofenedex, 2020)

3.4     Can you drive/continue in the UK with a truck that has a Dutch registration number, with or without a permit?
If no deal is concluded before January the 1st 2021, transport can no longer be performed under cover of a Euro permit. Then the CEMT permit, as it currently stands, is the only alternative. Excluded from the use of a CEMT permit is cabotage transport, own transport and transport vehicles with a total weight of less than 3,500 kg. (Evofenedex, 2020)

4. Formalities and procedures other supervisors in the Netherlands and UK

4.1     What will the procedure be regarding CITES goods (endangered species of wild animal and plants) that companies may export to the UK this year without an export license, but may return to DC in the EU next year?
All import, export, re-export and introduction of species covered by the UK Wildlife Trade Regulations (UKWTR) must be authorized and the importer or intermediary must present the valid, original CITES export and import permits to border officials for approval at a designated CITES port/point. Imported goods may also need to be accompanied by an export permit, re-export certificate or certificate of origin. The EU export permit (or re-export certificate) must also be approved by a customs upon leaving the airport and then both the export and import permit are validated (i.e. stamped) by customs upon entry into the UK. It is the responsibility of the importer to ensure that the original permit is presented to Border Force personnel at the point of entry. (Evofenedex, 2020)

4.2     For which products is a certificate from the NVWA (Dutch Food Safety Authority) required?
Check the general Brexit page of the NVWA for the reference to the obligations for your specific product: nvwa.nl/brexit. And for the obligations from British governments gov.uk/import-licences-and-certificates-from-1- january-2021. (Evofenedex, 2020)

4.3    The UK regulations refer to PEACH. How do I use PEACH?
PEACH stands for Procedure for Electronic Application for Certificates. This is England's electronic system for requesting import inspections, not for filings in Scotland or Northern Ireland. The import into PEACH must be done by a broker in England. For help with questions about peach, visit ehmipeach.defra.gov.uk. (Evofenedex, 2020)

4.4     Should a Phyto certificate, CVO, etc. be drawn up in addition to the EX A document for the export of all fruit and vegetables?
Look at the specific Brexit page of the NVWA for the obligations with regard to the export of plants and plant products: nvwa.nl/brexit/export-plant-brexit. At the moment, DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) only requires an EU Phyto certificate for products subject to EU plant passport. However, special rules are being developed with regard to Xylella. (Evofenedex, 2020)

4.5     Are the various BIP (border inspection points), or rather border control points, set up in NL and ready to receive goods for veterinary inspections?
Look on nvwa.nl/tips-voor-importeurs-om-u-voor-te-bereiden-op-de-brexit for specific recommendations. A GCP (Dutch Border Control Point) contains inspection points, which are run by so-called inspection point holders. These are commercial companies supervised by the NVWA. (Evofenedex, 2020)

4.6     After the transition period, the EU REACH legislation on the movement of chemicals in the UK will no longer apply. How can Dutch companies best prepare for this, with a view to permits and registrations?
Please check the following two links for frequent updates: echa.europa.eu/nl/uk-withdrawal-fromthe-eu & ec.europa.eu/getting-ready-end-transition-period. (Evofenedex, 2020)

4.7     I export flowers and plants to the UK. What changes without agreements?
After 1 January 2021, the rules of so-called third countries (countries outside the European Union) will apply to the UK. At that point, the UK is no longer a member of the internal market and the customs union. You then follow the same rules as for other countries outside the EU, such as Canada, China and the US. You will be dealing with:

  • Inspection services
  • Entry controls in the United Kingdom
  • Cost

Before you export flowers and plants to the UK, check that your shipment meets the UK requirements. In addition, 1 of the 4 Dutch inspection services of the agricultural and horticultural sector must check your shipment. Before applying for an export inspection, register your company with an inspection agency. Upon entry into the UK, you will be subject to entry controls by the UK authorities. Take into account the costs for these inspections by inspection services and for the NVWA export documents, such as a phytosanitary certificate. (KVK, 2020)

5. Tax, VAT, costs & tariffs

5.1     What are the customs and VAT procedures if a company wants to keep the shipment in storage, in the UK as a third country?
In the current situation, the transfer of goods to the UK often has a VAT aspect; does this concern a shipment of own goods to the UK or are the goods transferred on the basis of a consignment delivery. It is expected that this European VAT system will no longer apply to the UK in 2021. From that moment on, one will have to deal with import VAT when importing goods into the UK. From 2021, the transfer of goods to the UK will have a customs component, similar to all third countries: customs export to the UK and a customs import to the UK. If the goods are stored in the UK in their own name, provisions will have to be made in the UK. If the goods are kept in customs storage for the purpose of declaring a further destination, the storekeeper in the UK will most likely become subject to a license. It depends on the type of storage and what the further destination will be whether a separate registration for both customs and also for (import) VAT will be necessary for companies. (Evofenedex, 2020)

5.2     How will the VAT declaration change due to Brexit?
The VAT rate for the export of goods to countries outside the EU is 0 percent. Proof of export is required in order not to have to pay VAT. Imports from the UK do require VAT. By applying for an article 23 permit the VAT can be transferred to the monthly return. (Evofenedex, 2020)

5.3     We want to investigate what customs costs we will have to pay in the event of a hard Brexit and have gone to the database of the WTO. We have used Norway as a reference. How should we read the information about various rates?
We recommend choosing the highest rate, so starting from the worst scenario. Then it can only be better than expected. The average rate relates to the rates of the subheadings of the relevant HS code. Incidentally, it is not yet certain that the United Kingdom will adopt the Norwegian model. In this example, the WTO rates applied by Norway have been used. It may be and that still depends on the negotiations, that the UK will soon be closer to the EU tariffs. In this case, select "EU" instead of "Norway" to view the maximum tariff for import into the EU. (Evofenedex, 2020)

5.4     Can we include standard clauses in our existing contracts, stating that all costs (import duties) are for the account of the customer?
Whether the costs of customs clearance and payment of import duties are for the account of the customer is determined by the agreed Incoterms condition. To contractually anticipate the consequences of Brexit, you can include so-called Brexit provisions in existing and future contracts. These can regulate the specific consequences and leave open the possibility to renegotiate or terminate the contract. (Evofenedex, 2020)

5.5     After Brexit, will it still be possible in the Netherlands to arrange import declarations for entrepreneurs from the UK with the application of Limited Fiscal Representation?
Yes, that is certainly possible, but the following conditions must be met:

  • A third party, an EU-based entrepreneur, will have to issue the mandate direct representation (for customs purposes)
  • The UK entrepreneur have to issue the mandate Limited Fiscal Representation 12
  • To fulfill the VAT obligations in the Netherlands correctly, the UK entrepreneur have to inform us, in our position as Limited Fiscal Representative, what will happen with the goods after importation. Based on this information, the entrepreneur will also have to provide us additional documentation (such as a sales invoice of the goods, instruction for possible re-export to the UK etc.). This documentation must be provided to us before arranging the import declaration
  • After import, the entrepreneur will have to provide proof of the transport of the goods to the final destination. (Evofenedex, 2020)

    5.6     We import from the UK. What is the impact for us in case of a "no deal"?
    A "no deal" will directly affect all goods imported from the UK. In the event of a no deal, the WTO scenario will (most likely) come into effect, in which import tariffs will be set. These tariffs may be equal to the level of import tariffs for any third country, a country with which the EU has no trade agreement. In the event of a "Hard Brexit", a trade agreement may be reached, such as the EU recently agreed with Canada (CETA agreement). (Evofenedex, 2020)

    5.7     No trade arrangements. What does this mean for my export?
    The United Kingdom is outside the European Union. This has consequences for exports of goods and services to the UK. You file an export declaration with Dutch Customs. Your customer may pay import duties. In the Market Access Database of the European Commission you will find, at product level, for many countries the rates of import duties (and other import taxes) and the necessary documents. You use the 0% VAT rate and check which export documents are required. Always check which rules and requirements your products must comply with before you market them in the UK. (KVK, 2020)

    5.8     No trade arrangements. What does this mean for my import?
    The United Kingdom is outside the European Union. This has consequences for the import of goods and services from the UK. You file an import declaration with Dutch Customs and you may pay import duties. In addition, you pay VAT and sometimes excise duties, consumption tax and other levies. Always check which rules and requirements your products must meet before you market them in the Netherlands or another EU country. (KVK, 2020)

    5.9     What about goods and VAT in a Brexit without agreements?
    From January 1, 2021, a delivery to the UK will be an export delivery and will be taxed at the 0% VAT rate. When goods are cleared in the UK, VAT (VAT) and any import duties and other costs are paid locally. When importing products from the UK into the Netherlands, you pay VAT to Dutch Customs. You calculate the VAT on the customs value and import duties. (KVK, 2020)

    5.10     The New UK Global Tariff regime, how does it work and from when will it apply?
    The UK recently announced the new UK Global Tariff (UKGT), a permanent tariff regime, that will apply once the post Brexit transition period ends, from 1 January 2021. During the Brexit transition period, until 31 December 2020, the EU Common External tariff continues to be applied to goods imported into the UK. Once the transition period is over, the UKGT will apply to any goods imported into the UK from countries which the UK does not have a Free Trade Agreement in place, and which are not covered by any other specific exemption i.e. a tariff suspension. Should there be no Free Trade Agreements reached by the end of the year with the EU, these are the tariffs that will apply to EU goods imported into the UK. Further details can be found of the UK Government website: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/uk-tariffs-from-1-january-2021. (PricewaterhouseCoopers, 2020)
     

6. Northern Ireland

6.1     How will imports and exports to Northern Ireland be handled from the 1st of January 1 2021?
Northern Ireland is considered part of the EU (Internal Market and Customs Union). For the Netherlands, no customs formalities are required for shipments to and from Northern Ireland. In concrete terms, this means that Northern Ireland is treated as a Member State, even with its own country code. The UK government has published guidelines on goods trade with Northern Ireland. The guidelines cover the movement of goods between Northern Ireland and Great Britain, as well as the movement of goods from Northern Ireland to the EU and the movement of goods from Northern Ireland to the rest of the world. The government also announced a £ 200 million investment in a new free-to-use Trader Support Service (TSS) for companies bringing goods to Northern Ireland from the UK or the rest of the world. The service provides guidance and support for merchants dealing with requirements for moving goods to Northern Ireland. The published guidelines from the UK government on goods trade with Northern Ireland can be found at: gov.uk/government/publications/moving-goods-under-the-northern-ireland-protocol (Evofenedex, 2020)

6.2     What formalities are required for the trade of excise goods to Northern Ireland? Northern Ireland is considered part of the EU (Internal Market and Customs Union). No customs formalities are required for shipments to and from Northern Ireland. Therefore, excise goods require an intra-EU EMCS. For other goods there are no formalities. (Evofenedex, 2020)

6.3     How do I deal with trade to and from Northern Ireland from January 1, 2021?
Northern Ireland is now considered part of the EU (Internal Market and Customs Union). This will not change. There are no customs formalities for shipments to and from Northern Ireland from the Netherlands. The UK government has published guidelines on goods trade with Northern Ireland (NI). (KVK, 2020)

7. Packaging

7.1     Procedure regarding recurring empty packaging and empty packaging materials after the transition period of Brexit:
From 1 January 2021, the United Kingdom will be a third country and standard customs formalities will apply. The (filled) packaging loses the customs status of Union goods as soon as it has left the territory of the Union. From that moment on it has the customs status of non-Union goods. If the (empty) packaging is returned to the Union, it will not automatically be returned to the customs status of Union goods. This means that they cannot continue their way or be reused without customs formalities. Formalities must be completed both for entry into the territory of the Union and for the placing of goods under a customs procedure. (Fenex, 2020)

7.2     Entry formalities:
For empty packaging returning from a third country, just like for almost all other goods entering the Union from a third country, an entry summary declaration (also called Entry Summary Declaration - ENS) must be submitted. A declaration for temporary storage (ATO) must also be made at the (air)port of unloading from the incoming means of transport. 

For more information about bringing in goods from outside the Union, please refer to the Customs Manual, sections 10.00.00 (entry by sea) and 10.50.00 (entry by air). To be found at: respectively: this site and this site. (Fenex, 2020)

7.3     Formalities for placing goods under a customs procedure:
Before the empty packaging can be used again, it must be released for free circulation or placed under another customs procedure. It is also possible to first transport the packaging under the external transit procedure (NCTS - T1) to a business location and only then release it for free circulation or place it under another customs procedure. (Fenex, 2020)

7.4     Release for free circulation:
In order to (return) the packaging to Union status, a declaration for free circulation must be made. If it is shown that the packaging is returned originally exported from the Union, exemption from customs duty shall be granted if the following conditions are met:  

1. The packaging must be returned within three years after export. This can be extended in exceptional circumstances. Extraordinary circumstances must always be assessed on a case-by-case basis; 

2. The packaging must return in the same condition as it was exported. Wear and the like as a result of normal use is allowed.

 3. It must be demonstrated that it is indeed recurring packaging that was previously exported from the EU. This can be done on the basis of:

a. Access to the relevant data of the customs declaration on the basis of which the packaging was originally exported from the customs territory of the Union;

b. A printout, certified by the competent customs office, of the customs declaration on the basis of which the packaging was originally exported from the customs territory of the Union;

c. A document issued by the competent customs office containing the relevant details of this customs declaration;

d. An information sheet (INF3) issued by customs stating that the conditions for exemption from import duties are fulfilled;

e. Other information showing that the packaging declared for free circulation was originally exported from the customs territory of the Union and at that time fulfilled the conditions for exemption from import duties as returned goods. For more information, please refer to Customs Manual, part 25.00.00. (Source) 

The declaration for free circulation can be made with a customs declaration in the normal procedure, a simplified declaration or by entry in the declarant's records. The legislation provides for the possibility to make a verbal declaration for recurring empty packaging. However, this is not possible from a practical point of view. Firstly, because an oral declaration can only be made at designated customs offices, that is to say actually with a customs officer, and secondly because the customs require an electronic message to clear the declaration for temporary storage. In the event of a verbal declaration, the required electronic message is missing. (Fenex, 2020)

7.5     Temporary admission:
It is also possible to place empty packaging materials intended for re-export when filled, under the temporary importation procedure. Compared to release for free circulation, this has both advantages and disadvantages.  

Pros:

  • When using the temporary importation procedure, it is not necessary to demonstrate that the packaging was originally exported from the Union.¬†

 

Cons:

  • A permit for the temporary admission procedure is required;
  • It must be demonstrated that they have left the Union within a certain period. If permitted in the license, the temporary importation procedure may also be supplemented by the re-export of equivalent packaging materials.

 

The declaration to place the goods under the temporary importation procedure can be made with a customs declaration in the normal procedure, a simplified declaration or by entry in the declarant's records.

7.6     Expired method maritime per 31-12-2020:
Until now, when empty packaging returned from third countries is brought in by sea, it has so far been permitted to be indicated with code NP. By submitting a 'Notification Import Documentation' (MID notification) with the indication 'ICT', supplemented with the Call Reference Number (CRN) of the incoming ship, it is indicated that the packaging has the customs status of Union goods and the shipment can further formalities are removed. 

This approach is based on the assumption that the empty packaging automatically regains its status as Union goods when it returns to that territory after having temporarily left the territory of the Union. As indicated, this is not the case and the goods have to be effectively re-released for free circulation before they regain the status of Union goods. This applies not only to empty packaging that is returned from the United Kingdom to the EU after Brexit, but to all empty packaging returning from third countries.

The current maritime method is no longer allowed after 31-12-2020. The Port of Rotterdam Customs will approach companies that now use this method directly so that they can take timely steps. (Fenex, 2020)

7.7     What is the procedure regarding empty tank containers with residue for the UK from 1 January 2021?
This concerns so-called ‚Äúempty uncleaned containers‚ÄĚ. The definition of this is a container with a certain residual quantity, which has been unloaded as far as possible and in which the contents cannot be removed from a container without cleaning. In other words: after unloading / pumping out, the product still sticks to the wall or a minimal residue remains on the bottom.

For these containers, the procedure described as briefly stated: the ferry company or shipping company reports the container as empty in the ATO and in the terminal system, after which the container is not blocked, or it is listed as empty in the ATO and full in the terminal system, after which the container can be unblocked by means of the code 'TNK' in the import documentation (MID) notification. If both options are not possible, a further customs declaration must be made in AGS import in order to be able to pick up the container. 

For outgoing containers, they can be pre-reported as empty in the terminal system, or the container can be unblocked by means of the "TNK" code in the export documentation (MED) notification from Portbase. If a tank container does not meet the definition of an "empty uncleaned container", an export declaration must be submitted for this.

These procedures will also apply directly to tank containers with residue from and to the UK from 1 January 2021. (Fenex, 2020)

8. Sources