Tighter import rules seen worsening supply chain woes


Concerns are growing that new rules due to take effect from 1 January 2022 for importing goods from the EU will worsen long running supply chain issues, potentially leading to supply shortages and price pressures.

Deferral of import declarations to expire

As part of the phased introduction of controls on imports from the EU into Great Britain, the requirement for immediate import declarations had been due for implementation on 1 January 2021. But this was deferred until 1 January 2022 along with a deferral for the requirement for import safety and security declarations.

Previously it had been possible for importers of non-controlled goods (namely those where there are no special additional product based rules) to delay making full customs declarations and paying the appropriate import duty for up to six months from the date that they were imported. This was never obligatory, and there was always the option to make a complete declaration along with payment of duty at the time of import, but the option to delay was available if required. All this is due to change in a few weeks.

Choice of import models

Also becoming effective as from 1 January 2022 is a requirement for all goods imported from the EU to be imported under one of two importation models. The first model, known as the temporary storage model, gives an importer up to 90 days to store goods before they are declared to customs. This is in contrast to the pre-lodgement model which requires the submission of a customs declaration in advance of boarding. It will be open to each port operator to decide which model it is able to offer.

Choppy waters ahead

The imminent changes have sparked concerns from within the industry that unless all parties in the goods movement are up to speed with the changes there could be further problems for the supply chain. Delays and uncertainty at the border, it is feared, raise the prospect of shortages on the shelves coupled with price pressures.

Be prepared. Check your contract

Rather than risk further supply chain issues the best advice is to prepare for the changes in advance of the new rules taking effect. Part of such preparations ought to be a thorough review of your commercial contracts to ensure that aspects of delivery, importation costs, customs clearance, and risk and insurance are adequately covered. The simplest way to address such issues is by way of an Incoterm, being an internationally recognised standard to agree such responsibilities, but other approaches can also achieve similar outcomes.

More information

If your contracts lack certainty in any of these areas, then you should seek professional advice from the commercial team at Pinney Talfourd LLP who would be pleased to assist you.

This article was written by Edward Garston, Partner in our Company & Commerical Team. The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. Specific legal advice should be taken on each individual matter. This article is based on the law as of December 2021.


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