United Kingdom - Shortage in Customs Staff. Customs Support is Ready


At the end of this year, the United Kingdom will leave the European Union. The transition period will come to an end on December 31st. Several EU representatives have made it clear they want an extension to the transition period. Prime Minister Johnson is still refusing to go along with such a request. He is set on keeping his promise of leaving the European Union by the end of this year.

Brexit Negotiations Started Again

Since Monday the negotiations between the European Union and the United Kingdom have started again. There are still many issues that need a lot of work. A recent article by Euronews mentions a few:

The UK is hoping to up the pace towards a free trade agreement, as well as striking deals on various matters including air transport, energy and law enforcement. The EU insists that all key areas are treated in parallel.

Brussels is concerned that the UK is taking a cavalier approach to the Political Declaration, the non-binding part of the divorce deal struck last year that deals with the future relationship. It stipulates that there must be a “level playing field” in areas such as employment, competition standards and the environment.

There is also a concern in EU circles that the UK is failing to take adequate steps to implement the binding divorce deal arrangements concerning Northern Ireland. These envisage a customs filter in the Irish Sea, agreed by both sides in order to avoid a hard land border with the Republic of Ireland.

Shortage of Staff

As long as there is no trade deal between the United Kingdom and the European Union it is unclear what the effect will be on Customs procedures on both sides. Bloomberg is reporting that the UK Government is trying to hire 50,000 customs staff to deal with the new procedures after the Brexit.

One of the main problems, according to Bloomberg, is the training of staff, which is being hampered by the coronavirus outbreak.

Delays at the Border

The biggest issue with a shortage of customs staff, on either side of the border for that matter, is a delay of shipments passing the border or a delay in getting documentation or a permit approved. According to estimations by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, customs agents will need to process an additional 200 million customs declarations.

Bloomberg further reports:

In a sign of how the virus has sapped attention away from Brexit in Whitehall, the Freight Transport Association submitted a proposal to the Treasury on March 17 about how to set up a mass education program to train up agents. More than a month later, the lobby group hasn’t received a reply.

Talks to seal a trade deal between Britain and the EU have been disrupted by the virus. The U.K. is seeking a Canada-style accord which would eliminate tariffs on goods but create new non-tariff barriers like customs declarations and rules-of-origin paperwork. Without a deal, the U.K. would trade with the EU on terms set by the World Trade Organization, meaning steep duties on products from cars to beef.

Read the full article here.

Customs Support is Brexit Ready

We have written more about Brexit. Please visit our Brexit page for more information. Our customs agents and consultants are experienced and highly educated. We support companies with importing and exporting goods into and from the United Kingdom, also after finalising Brexit. Whether it is creating export documents or certificates, or assisting with the request of export permits or classifications, we make sure goods cross the border in less time to make sure our customers can trade without unnecessary customs issues. Our specialists are here to help. If you have any questions or want support, reach out to us. Take the load off your mind.