Although the timetable for EU import checks and controls has changed, there are some significant compliance requirements to look out for from 1 January 2022.
Checks and controls on imports from the EU will now be phased in over a longer period. The Border Operating Model had set out significant new requirements from 1 October 2021 and 1 January 2022. Some of these had particular repercussions for the agri-food sector. However, this timetable has now been revised.
The new timetable has pushed the start date for some of the new requirements into 2022. This applies to:
- the pre-notification of what are called sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) goods
- export health certificates
- phytosanitary certificates
- physical checks on SPS goods at border control posts.
The timetable for the introduction of safety and security declarations on imports is also affected.
If these changes are relevant to you and you need further guidance, please speak to your RfM advisor. Please note that that the easements do not apply to imports to Northern Ireland.
EU import changes still happening from 1 January 2022
Despite the revised timetable, there are still some changes which came into effect from 1 January 2022. These include:
- Full customs controls and customs checks
- The end of the year-long easement allowing businesses to make delayed customs declarations.
Unless you or your agent are authorised to use Customs Freight Simplified Procedures, you may need to pay relevant tariffs.
Northern Ireland: Current processes for moving goods from mainland Britain to Northern Ireland will continue. For traders moving goods from the mainland into Northern Ireland, this means that the grace periods and easements currently in force are extended.
Rules of origin: check compliance now for tariff-free trade
To qualify for tariff-free trade with the EU, the onus is on businesses to demonstrate that goods have originated in the UK or EU.
Proving originating status is administratively complex and reliant either on what is called importer’s knowledge or on an exporter’s statement on origin. In the latter case, suppliers’ declarations can form part of the audit trail. There has been an easement in place since 31 December 2020, meaning businesses don’t need a suppliers’ declaration in place when goods are exported to claim preference. However, they must be confident that the goods do meet the preferential rules of origin set out in the Trade and Cooperation Agreement.
That easement ended on 31 December 2021 and as of 1 January 2022, suppliers’ declarations are needed. There may also be retrospective checks on transactions since 1 January 2021. You must ensure you have everything in place in your supply chain to access ongoing tariff-free trade.
New timetable for EU export health certificates
The EU put back the requirement to use new Export Health Certificates (EHCs) from 21 August 2021 until 15 January 2022. Current EHCs signed before 15 January 2022 can be used until 15 March 2022 for goods en route to the EU. However, exporters are encouraged to move towards use of the new EHCs and be ready for full implementation in mid January.
EHCs are required for the export of the following from Britain to the EU and Northern Ireland:
- All products of animal origin
- Live animals
- Germinal products
- composite products.
Extra time for product UKCA conformity mark
Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) has had a new domestic goods regulation regime in place since 1 January 2021, with a new product mark: the UKCA (UK Conformity Assessed) mark.
UKCA is used for manufactured goods placed on the market in Great Britain and covers most cases where the CE mark would have been used previously. It is also used for aerosol products that used the reverse epsilon marking.
To give them time to make the necessary changes, there is a temporary concession allowing businesses to continue using the CE mark in many cases. This was due to expire on 31 December 2021, however, the government announced that it will not now mandate use of the UKCA mark until 1 January 2023. Businesses are still encouraged to adopt the new mark as soon as possible.
Note that the CE mark is only valid in Great Britain for areas where rules are the same as those in the EU. Were the EU rules to change, it might be necessary to move to the UKCA mark earlier.
You may need to take steps to ensure products are compliant in order to continue selling them in Great Britain from 1 January 2023. For example, if your business manufactures, imports or distributes goods that need to be tested by a conformity assessment body, you must factor in the time for the testing process to be sure you will be ready on time.
Sales in the EU. The new UKCA mark will not be recognised in the EU. Products for sale in the EU will continue to need a CE mark.
Northern Ireland. Different rules for product conformity marking apply in Northern Ireland.
How we can help
Navigating the rules and timings for EU imports and exports can be complicated and confusing. For support and advice on any of the areas mentioned above, please speak to your RfM advisor. Enquire online or contact one of our offices.