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HMRC has published a guidance note (available here) to remind traders that a number of customs changes will enter into force on 1 January 2022 in relation to the movement of goods between Great Britain and the EU. In particular, the guidance note flags the following changes that traders should be aware of:

Customs Declarations

For traders importing non-controlled goods which are entering Great Britain from Irish ports, there are no changes at the moment and traders can continue to delay making customs declarations for up to 175 days, as long as they make an entry in declarants imports at the time of import. For goods entering Great Britain from other EU countries, traders will no longer be able to rely on the “Staged Customs Controls” rules which applied during 2021 and most will have to make customs declarations and pay tariffs at the point of import.

Border Controls

For goods moving between Great Britain and the EU, goods will require a valid declaration and receive customs clearance in order to be released in the free circulation.

Rules of Origin

The Trade and Cooperation Agreement (“TCA”) between the UK and EU enables certain goods to benefit from a reduced or “preferential” duty rate. In order for the goods to benefit from this preferential duty rate, proof will be required that the goods imported into the UK from the EU qualify as ‘originating’ in the EU; and/or that the goods imported into the EU from the UK qualify as ‘originating’ in the UK.

This can generally be proven by a statement on origin or through the importer’s knowledge. When relying on a statement on origin, a supplier declaration may also be required. During 2021, traders were allowed to import goods under preference and obtain the supplier declaration later, however, from 1 January 2022, traders must have supplier declarations (where required) at the time the goods are exported.

Postponed VAT Accounting

Importers who are VAT-registered may still use Postponed VAT Accounting (“PVA”) on customs declarations to account for import VAT.

Commodity Codes

The UK commodity codes will change on 1 January 2022. Traders should check whether the changes affect the HS codes they are currently using.

Further Changes from 1 July 2022

Traders should be aware that further changes will be implemented from 1 July 2022. These will include: (i) requirements for full safety and security declarations for all imports; (ii) new requirements for Export Health Certificates; (iii) requirements for Phytosanitary Certificates; and (iv) physical checks on sanitary and phytosanitary goods at Border Control Posts.

Goods Entering Great Britain from the island of Ireland

Notwithstanding the above changes that will take effect from 1 January 2022 for goods moving between the EU and Great Britain, the UK Government has announced that it will delay the introduction of any new border controls for goods moving from the island of Ireland (i.e., the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland) to Great Britain but rather will temporarily extend the current arrangements in place while discussions the UK and EU on the Northern Ireland Protocol between remain ongoing.


Kevin Nordin joined Baker & McKenzie in London in 2013 and is part of the EU, Competition and Trade Practice Group. He assists in advising clients on EU and UK customs, export controls, economic sanctions, and anti-corruption issues. He also assists in advising clients on EU and UK corporate compliance matters.


Kirsty Mccarron is an Associate in Baker McKenzie, London office.

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