Trade Compliance News - February 2024

HMRC clarifies Import Risk Categories from EU to Great Britain

To ease the confusion around BTOM declarations, HMRC have released more guidance on customs declarations. Starting March 15th, make sure you’re ready to submit full customs declarations or simplified ones (if you’re authorised) for specific imports.

This change indicates that these are now considered controlled goods under the updated regulations.

The categories are:

— High-, medium- and low-risk animal products, and high-risk food and feed of non-animal origin from EU and European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries

—High-, medium- and low-risk plant and plant products from EU countries, Switzerland and Liechtenstein . Read more

Key BTOM Checks May Be Skipped If UK Ports Face Congestion

Information obtained by the Financial Times suggests that there’s a chance animal products coming into the UK from the EU might not undergo the required BTOM checks. These checks might be bypassed if British ports get too busy due to the application of the new post-Brexit border rules.


Starting from the end of January 2024, new border rules called the Border Target Operating Model (BTOM) have been put into place. These rules categorise all animal products arriving from the EU into three risk categories: high, medium, and low. Medium- and high-risk meat products now need to have health certificates before they are allowed to enter the UK.

Under these regulations, EU companies sending goods to the UK need to provide health certificates to UK port authorities 24 hours before their shipment arrives. This allows officials sufficient time to review the paperwork.

If the paperwork isn’t checked before the goods arrive, they will automatically be scheduled for a physical inspection. Failure to submit the required paperwork will result in their shipment undergoing physical inspection.

These checks will occur at specific border control posts designated for this purpose. Many of these control posts are expansions of current facilities that already inspect plant and animal goods from non-EU countries.

And some posts have been created specifically for these new regulations. One example is a newly built £147 million facility near Dover in Sevington. This facility will handle all the products passing through the UK’s busiest port.

Only 1 per cent of shipments were initially intended to undergo this process. However, as outlined in a contingency planning document, there’s concern that border control posts may not be fully prepared to conduct these checks by April.

Introduction of Todcof

The growing pressure on British ports dealing with the new post-Brexit border regulations indicates the potential necessity for a backup plan to manage any disruptions or congestion.

This plan may involve implementing measures to prevent delays in transporting goods and ensuring the smooth entry of essential products like animal-derived foods into the UK.

As part of the ongoing implementation of new import measures, meeting the deadlines for these checks might be challenging.

Therefore, a temporary automated clearance process known as the ‘timed out decision contingency feature’ (Todcof) will be specifically applied to medium-risk animal products. This will be on an interim basis” as the government continues implementation of new measures on imports.

The Todcof system would intervene to prevent goods from undergoing physical inspection. Instead, it would indicate that no documentary check was conducted, but the consignment has still been cleared for entry.

This process will allow goods to enter the UK without requiring paperwork checks if there are capacity issues at border control posts.

The Financial Times notes that the documents explaining the process haven’t been reported before and were posted on Portsmouth City Council’s website for the first time.

What are the next steps?

Things are changing, and we expect more updates in the coming months, especially by April 30th. Don’t worry, we’ll keep you informed every step of the way.

At iCustoms, we’re here to support you with any help and guidance you need as these changes unfold.

Explore’s AI-powered platform to optimise your customs and trade processes. Watch a Demo Now!

EU's latest Customs Binding Valuation Regulation has been Adopted

The European Commission has given the green light to a new regulation that introduces binding customs value decisions (BVI) for traders and customs authorities in the EU, ensuring fairness and clarity for all involved.

This will provide transparent and reliable instructions on how to calculate the customs value of goods entering or leaving the EU, which will directly affect the customs duties and fees required at the EU border.

The regulation also updates the existing rules on binding tariff information (BTI) and binding origin information (BOI), which are used to classify goods and determine their origin for customs purposes.

​​The new rules will start on December 1, 2027, once the electronic system for managing BVI, BTI, and BOI decisions is up and running. These rules are based on the Union Customs Code, which guides customs laws in the EU.

How does it work and what’s the process ?

Economic operators need to ask for binding information. Customs authorities decide which customs valuation information is binding, including the method and criteria for determining goods’ customs value.

They must review and approve decisions within seven days. If not satisfied, operators can appeal for legal clarification.

When importing, the customs declaration must include the issued binding information and its reference number, matching the declared goods. To use a BVI decision for a specific customs procedure, the holder must prove that the goods and circumstances exactly match those described in the decision. Learn more

Laws to Introduce Import labels for Businesses to Reduce Regulation Costs

Great news for businesses! Businesses are set to benefit from reduced costs and burdens as import labels are made digital for the first time. New laws will bring digital labelling for UK businesses, reducing bureaucracy and saving millions in regulation costs.

These reforms, spurred by Brexit, update UK regulatory requirements for the modern era. With digital labelling, businesses can now share crucial regulatory or manufacturing details online. This resource can then be used to expand and grow the business instead.

This means you can now share regulatory details online instead of printing on products, saving time and money.

The CE marking recognition for products like toys and machinery remains will ease burdens on businesses.

Thanks to leaving the EU, this measure offers more flexibility than the EU’s regulations, better suiting the modern digital business world. It’s a step forward for businesses in adapting to the changing landscape of international trade.

After extensive industry engagement and the Product Safety Review consultation, implementing these changes will aim to cut costs and benefit consumers.

Embracing digital labelling, a move long advocated by the industry, will make our regulatory system more agile and consumer-friendly. Learn more

EU Customs Overhaul Landmark Vote Paves the Way for Trade Efficiency

The Internal Market Committee recently made a big move by giving the thumbs up to the EU Customs Code reform, marking the most significant update to EU customs procedures since 1968.

This will help customs authorities cope better with the introduction of numerous regulations in recent years.

Resources section

EU publishes new guidelines for annual report on dual-use export controls

The European Commission has just put out new guidelines for data gathering and export controls, aiming to make things clearer.

They want to share more information about Member States’ licensing decisions, so everyone – like exporters and the public – can understand dual-use export rules better.

These Guidelines also make it simpler to talk and share information with partners in other countries with partners which will subsequently improve reporting practices worldwide. Read more

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