Logistics UK has welcomed news the European Parliament has accepted the terms of the Trade and Customs Agreement (TCA), which was announced on 24 December, 2020.

The association said ratification would give certainty to businesses on both sides of the Channel. It will also enable industry, UK and EU authorities to take part in the agreement’s cooperation bodies to focus on effective implementation of the deal and keep goods and services flowing freely across the UK’s borders.

“The ratification of the TCA is great news for businesses across the UK’s highly interconnected supply chain and will provide them with greater certainty about how and when goods can move across the UK’s borders,” said Logistics UK European policy manager, Sarah Laouadi.

“However, there are still gaps in the agreement, for instance for touring companies that will need to support their customers in the cultural sector when the concert and event season re-starts, but will be prevented from touring freely in Europe under the current terms of the agreement.

“It is crucial not to let down this sector, which makes the UK a vibrant cultural hub, supplies events across the Continent and provides thousands of jobs, directly and indirectly. Logistics UK is urging government to continue to strive for an agreed solution that meets the needs of this sector.

“Despite the ratification of a long-term framework for the trading relationship with the EU, it is also important to remember there are still changes to come in import conditions: the UK is yet to introduce checks and other requirements on inbound goods, which are expected to be phased in gradually over the next year. Business and government must ensure all necessary preparations have been made in a timely fashion, to protect the supply chain and prevent unnecessary or avoidable delays at the border or at destination.”

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The UK currently does not make checks on goods arriving in the UK but the situation at the border will change from 1 October, 2021, when requirements on products of animal origin and other high-risk foods will be implemented.  The option to defer the submission of the full customs declaration up to six months from the point of import will be phased out on 1 January, 2022.

Safety and Security Declarations for imports, as well as physical checks on products of animal origin (also known as Sanitary and Phytosanitary checks, or SPS) will be required from 1 January, 2022.

“Our advice to members [who] import goods from the EU is to familiarise themselves with what will be required in plenty of time and review their contracts, Incoterms and processes with suppliers and partners on the other side of the Channel,” added Laouadi.

“All the preparations that have been made for GB to EU trade ahead of 1 January, in terms of customs formalities, safety and security declarations and sanitary and phytosanitary documentation for animals and agrifood products must now be replicated for EU to GB trade. This will ensure the continued smooth movement of goods across the UK’s borders and protect the nation’s trading relationships.”

Logistics UK represents more than 7m people directly employed in the making, selling and moving of goods.