Monday, September 10, 2012

Freight Forwarding Association to Meet with Customs

Controversy Over Early Import Declarations
Shipping News Feature

UK – The British International Freight Association (BIFA) says it will be meeting again with HMRC later this week to further discuss proposals covering the movement of goods to Enhanced Remote Transit Sheds (ERTS). HM Customs made a strong statement in an information paper published in March 2011 saying unequivocally that freight forwarding companies which created arrival notices or cleared goods prior to their arrival at a temporary storage facility had undertaken ‘an illegal movement of goods.’

The authorities are adamant that it is essential that both HMRC and the UK Border Control Agency are fully aware of exactly where goods are at any given point in time and the language the Customs Notice is couched in underlines just how serious a breach breaking the rules may be taken. BIFA has been lobbying for a clarification whilst it appears HMRC have so far felt they have made the case quite clearly. BIFA says that the matter is now only being reviewed because of their continued objections which BIFA Director General, Peter Quantrill, explained thus:

“There are in effect 12 proposals, many of which acceptable to the Association and its members and some having a positive impact including increased facilitation for AEOs and more coherent ERTS authorisations. However, one element that BIFA has significant reservations about, which have been forcibly made to HMRC, is the fact that under the new proposals a routed entry cannot be submitted to Customs prior to the goods physically arriving at an agent’s ERTS.

“We believe that this would potentially lead to longer clearance times and increased operating costs, for our members. BIFA negotiates with HMRC on a variety of issues, and the aim is to create a platform that can be utilised after the implementation of the EU’s Union Customs Code, which is still in the process of finalisation.

“This is a complex matter where all parties are endeavouring to ensure compliance with Customs regulations whilst simultaneously trying to facilitate legitimate trade. Whilst there are differences between ourselves and HMRC on this issue, both parties are actively seeking a mutually agreeable solution.”