A new government report makes the disturbing pronouncement that, despite dire warnings that importers should prepare for Brexit, only 17% of companies which should have registered for an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) registration number, have actually done so, threatening chaos at ports and airports.
Around 240,000 companies need to register in order to make customs declarations post-Brexit, yet just 40,000 have obtained the EORI number that is required to submit customs entries, and transport shipments to their inland destination.
While the government has the capacity to sign up 11,000 businesses per day for an EORI number, there are clearly a huge number of businesses who simply aren’t aware of what they need to do to be able to continue to trade with the EU post-Brexit.
For businesses that are already VAT registered the process for obtaining an EORI is straightforward, which makes the slow uptake even more difficult to comprehend.
While the process is more involved and time consuming for non-VAT registered businesses, the message is very clear. Those businesses that trade with the EU and haven’t yet obtained an EORI need to get a move on, as the clock is ticking.”
The government sponsored website ‘Prepare for EU Exit’ provides guidance, but it seems many companies will simply be turning to MIQ Logistics and other forwarders, that have been preparing for all Brexit eventualities.
EORI registration is also a pre-requisite of participation in the recently announced transitional simplified procedures for EU trade at roll-on roll-off ports.
TSP is intended to make it easier for traders importing from the EU to comply with customs requirements immediately after EU Exit, though the relevance of the process for smaller and infrequent shippers has been questioned, as has the lack of forwarder inclusion.
Although the Government has made progress in maintaining inbound traffic flows, with Entry Summary Declarations and Transitional Simplified Procedures, those imposed by Member States would be disruptive.
Third country rules applied by the EU, including France, would mean that no export goods are allowed to leave the port until they have provided the correct paperwork and have been customs cleared (including any necessary checks at the port, for example on products of animal origin).
More significantly, Member States would hold any goods that are not correctly customs cleared, which would hold up all goods where trades are not prepared, expected to be a significant proportion in the early period after exit day