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INTERNATIONAL TRADE


Exporting with ChamberCustoms


The UK left the European Union on 31 January 2020, and the transition period comes to an end in December this year. It is vital that businesses take action now to get ready for a new border operating environment from 1 January 2021. Lucy Granger (pictured), the Chamber’s international trade and customs adviser, explains how the ChamberCustoms service can help companies continue to import and export with the EU.


In the UK, we currently process about 55 million customs declarations per year. By next year, it’s estimated this will increase to 300 million once we pass the end of the EU Exit transition period, as new trading rules and regulations come into force.


HOW WILL TRADING WITH THE EU CHANGE FROM 1 JANUARY 2021? The new border operating model was published on 12 July this year, detailing which new procedures would be in place. Traders importing “standard goods” – covering everything from clothes


The company guarantees continuity of work for its artisan manufacturers


to electronics – will need to prepare for customs paperwork. This will involve keeping specific records of imports from the EU and, to


help cash flow, traders can opt to delay the full customs declaration for up to six months, with the opportunity to defer payments of taxes for up to six months (until 31 July 2021). Customs declaration for exports will need to be completed at the point


of exporting to the EU, such as at a port, airport or sometimes a warehouse. Full customs requirements will apply to “controlled goods” – those requiring a licence, such as tobacco, alcohol, chemicals and guns – from 1 January 2021 whether they arrive from the EU or elsewhere.


interest-free loans if they need to expand their facilities. We’ll also help them to maintain accounts, buy vehicles, take on staff and move equipment.”


DIANE ADMITS THEY didn’t have a clue about running a business when they first set out, but she and Upul have managed to build a company that now sells more than half a million products every year. Achieving this has required finding the right stockists, which include St Paul’s Cathedral, London Transport Museum, the Babi Pur ethical children’s shop in Wales, and Twycross Zoo. Further afield, there are other


stockists in countries such as Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, Spain, Australia, Japan and South Korea. The eastern markets are served


directly from a Sri Lankan warehouse run by a subsidiary called Lanka Kade Export – which is also responsible for paying suppliers, chasing orders and collecting goods – but the Market Harborough facility, based in Riverside End, receives, sorts and delivers products into Europe.


“One of the ways in which we


have worked is we’ve done a huge amount ourselves,” she said. “We don’t tend to use too many experts because they don’t know who we are.” Brexit means the company has


had to soften this approach slightly, however, by signing up for the ChamberCustoms service to continue its successful European export operation. Diane admits the international


element is important to the business as large orders help to secure the continuity of work for suppliers that sits at the heart of its ethos. “Fair trade is the absolute


bottom line for us,” she adds. “We wanted fair trade to be


mainstream. In a large sense, we’ve done that by creating a name, quality and design style for ourselves, as well as promoting the traditional wood and fabric skills of Sri Lanka at an international level. “We’ve spent several years


now building up a lot of trade with Europe, so it’s really crucial we continue doing this even after Brexit.”


WHAT DO EU CUSTOMS DECLARATION CHANGES MEAN FOR BUSINESSES? Declaration volumes will increase for traders, and this will have an impact on costs and resources, with some businesses needing to upskill their employees to deal with new procedures. Traders do have options with regards to how they will complete these


declarations come 1 January. The first option they have is to use their current freight forwarder, haulier or customs broker. They will need to start discussing this now, to ensure their current


providers have the capacity to process their declarations. Traders also have the option to bring the service in-house if they have a team of customs experts.


HOW CAN EAST MIDLANDS CHAMBER HELP WITH CUSTOMS DECLARATIONS? The newest option available to businesses that trade internationally is ChamberCustoms, the brokerage service delivered by the British Chambers of Commerce. In Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire, it is led by East Midlands Chamber’s team of customs advisers, who are ready to help companies clear their goods at the border. ChamberCustoms is the only customs brokerage in the country to offer a


one-stop-shop with direct links to all sea, air, rail and road ports, and terminals, in the UK. This service is offered directly to businesses to ensure customs clearance is accurate and timely, while avoiding additional costs through delays or errors. With direct links to the HMRC customs handling system and all


inventory-linked ports, we can ensure goods – no matter where they enter or leave the UK – will be cleared for onward transportation smoothly. We can also help business to keep to time-sensitive supply chains,


moving efficiently and economically. By taking care of the laborious stuff, it enables businesses to get on with


what they do best. But whichever route they decide to take, businesses that export and import goods have change coming and it’s time to prepare.


For more information on how East Midlands Chamber can offer support, email international@emc-dnl.co.uk or visit www.emc-dnl.co.uk/enabling- international-trade/chamber-customs-declarations.


business networkOctober 2020 33


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