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Brexit Movement of Goods and the Supply Chain

brexit-movement-of-goods-and-the-supply-chain-pdf

SPECIAL TRADE COMMISSION

SPECIAL TRADE COMMISSION PARTS COMPANY (UK) CAR COMPANY (UK) PARTS COMPANY (CHINA) INWARD PROCESSING = NO DUTY ON PARTS FOR EXPORTED VEHICLES COMPONENT OUTWARD PROCESSING = NO DUTY CAR INWARD PROCESSING = NO DUTY DUTY MACHINING COMPANY (GERMANY) EU MARKET Above: Example of where reliefs and duties would apply. 5.6 There are also duty reliefs in respect of temporary admission, specific end uses (such as qualifying aircraft parts), storage (in a customs warehouse or free zone) and transit through the EU. All of these can be retained to operate in mirror image in respect of imports to the UK from the EU, as they currently apply to imports from the rest of the world to the UK as a member of the customs union. Often, these reliefs give a cash flow benefit to the importer even if duty is payable on release to free circulation. 5.7 Inward and outward processing relief, specific end uses and temporary admission are subject to prior authorisation by the relevant member state customs authority (which in the UK is HMRC, which would remain responsible for enforcing and overseeing the operation of the UK Customs Code after the Exit Date, without ultimate recourse to the CJEU) which requires a proven economic need, amongst other conditions. These reliefs are also subject to an “economic conditions” test 21 where certain goods are imported. 22 These “sensitive goods” 23 are 14 |

SPECIAL TRADE COMMISSION mainly agricultural goods and alcohol. Where the imported goods are sensitive goods, there are a number of criteria that can be applied for the economic conditions to be deemed to be fulfilled. IPR is commonly used by importers of goods to the customs union at present. The UK can replicate this for processing operations in the UK and operators in the supply chain in the EU can use it to obtain relief where parts are imported, processed and shipped back to the UK, or for onward sale outside the EU. 5.8 Therefore even without agreeing tariff free trade between the UK and the EU (or if tariffs are imposed by the EU only), subject to the issues outlined in section 8 (Practicalities of Customs Clearance) the viability of supply chains that involve processing and transit of components between the UK and the EU need not be impacted by the imposition of tariffs as no import duties need accrue where goods are moved around supply chains between the UK and the EU in this way. In fact, it is possible that the overall tariff burden on UK manufacturers could be reduced by the ability of the UK to roll back tariffs on imports of parts and the availability of IPR where end products are exported to the EU. 5.9 This is consistent with the WTO Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures, 24 which permits schemes that allow for the remission or drawback (i.e. refund of duty already paid) of import charges levied on inputs that are consumed in the production of an exported product. Inputs consumed in the production process are parts that are physically incorporated and energy, fuels, oil and catalysts which are consumed in the course of their use to obtain the exported product. The amount paid by way of drawback cannot exceed the import charges actually levied on the inputs or they may constitute an export subsidy. FTAs also sometimes include restrictions or prohibitions on duty suspension and drawback on materials for goods that ultimately benefit from preference under that FTA, for example CETA Article 2.5 does this. See the Legal Opinion in the Appendix for analysis on both of these issues. 5.10 The availability of relief and drawback described above, and the trade facilitation measures available to operators outside of the customs union described in section 8 (Practicalities of Customs Clearance), means that the burden of staying within the customs union would be disproportionate (both in terms of sovereignty and trade/economic losses) to the relative impact of the imposition of tariffs and customs clearance requirements. 5.11 Businesses that already trade outside of the customs union will already be operating under some of these measures and will be familiar with the processes required for customs declarations and applying for reliefs. There is a cost and risk attached to extending these to trade with the EU, which is currently the source of 54% of UK imports and destination of 46% of UK exports by value (although this latter proportion has been decreasing for some time now), and the government will need to invest in systems and training to mitigate these additional costs for affected businesses. 25 HMRC will also need to consider how to approach enforcement of customs compliance on businesses post-Brexit, as there could be a significant increase in customs debts and non-compliance, which will need to be handled sensitively to avoid bad publicity that could deter businesses from trading internationally. It is worth noting that HMRC usually approach the administration of such major changes with a transitional “light touch” regime, and publicise this accordingly. | 15

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