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Michael Gove lays out post-Brexit border plan with action firms must take to maintain trade with EU

Michael Gove unveiled the new post-Brexit border plan for trade with the EU (PA)

3 min read

Michael Gove has laid out the Government's post-Brexit plan for cross-border trade with the EU.

He detailed a number of measures firms must take if they want to continue importing and exporting with the bloc once the transition period runs out at the end of the year.

Speaking in the Commons, the Cabinet Office Minister confirmed that, due to coronavirus, the new regulations will be brought in over three stages, starting on 1 January 2021.

The publication of the ‘Border Operating Model’ comes after Sunday’s announcement of a £705million investment for new infrastructure, jobs and technology at the UK’s border with the EU.

It is part of the Government’s objective to have “the world’s most effective border by 2025”.

New requirements that all businesses will need to have considered before they move goods include getting a GB EORI number, which allows them to continue to trade, and hiring a “customs intermediary” to help them with goods declarations.

They should also look at applying for a “Duty Deferment Account”, allow for new VAT costs, and ensure drivers have the correct international driving permits.

Mr Gove, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, said: “The publication of the Border Operating Model is an important step which gives business the certainty and direction they need to prepare for the end of the transition period when the UK becomes an independent trading nation for the first time in nearly 50 years. 

“We are committed to working closely with businesses and the border industry to help deliver not just a fully operational border at the end of the transition period, but also the world’s most effective and secure border in the world by 2025.”

The first stage of the new policy will mean traders importing standard goods will need “to prepare for basic customs requirements, such as keeping sufficient records”, and will get up to six months to complete customs declarations. 

Any tariffs can be deferred until that point, to allow firms to get used to the system.

There will also be “physical checks at the point of destination or other approved premises on all high-risk live animals and plants”, but they will not be required to enter the country via a “Border Control Post”. 

Then from the second stage, in April 2021, all products of animal origin and all regulated plants and plant products “will require pre-notification and the relevant health documentation” before being allowed in, but any physical checks will still take place at the point of destination.

But from the third stage, starting in July 2021, traders will have to make full customs declarations at the point goods are imported and pay the relevant tariffs. 

And there will be an increase in physical checks as good arrive, with reviews of Safety & Security Declarations taking place at Border Control Posts rather than at the destination it is headed to.

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