13 August 2020

CLECAT Calls for Attention for Remaining Brexit Issues

CLECAT issued today a position paper addressing the remaining Brexit issues which require the attention of both the UK and EU negotiators.  These relate to the operational issues and uncertainty which prevent businesses to fully prepare for 1 January 2021 when the transition period ends. As freight forwarders and customs brokers handle the vast majority of transport and customs formalities, they are of strategic importance to ensure an orderly flow of goods between the EU and the UK as of 2021. On both the EU and the UK side, issues relating to the negotiations, the implementation, communication and capacity remain.

Nicolette van der Jagt, Director General of CLECAT said: ‘According to the current state of play in the negotiations, operators on both sides would have to lodge entry and exit summary declarations, also known as safety and security declarations.  These customs declarations have to be filled in addition to the already required import, export and transit declarations which contain largely the same information. Therefore, the safety and security declarations are a major additional administrative burden for transport and logistic operators. Therefore, CLECAT urges the negotiating parties to conclude an agreement through which customs safety and security declarations can be waived.’

‘On the EU side’, she continued, ‘CLECAT understands that a phased approach, like the UK has taken, is not feasible. Nonetheless, we urge the EU to take its own ongoing implementations into account when putting border formalities into place. In the next couple of years, many legal and IT implementations will take full effect. Logistics operators will have to implement a large amount of new systems and accompanying procedures at EU and national level. Many of these implementations take place around the same time the UK will leave the EU, but the implementations are not aligned. This means that in various cases, old systems and procedures need to be implemented, only to be replaced shortly after by new national or EU systems.’

Ms van der Jagt added: ‘CLECAT commends the UK Government for its active engagement and efforts to keep businesses informed and prepared. The Border Operating Model published by the UK Government is helpful. However, sufficient practical and technical guidance regarding specific aspects and formalities at border crossings is still needed, as well as more information on the movement of goods into, out of and through Northern Ireland. We are aware of the complexity of the ongoing discussions between the EU and the UK. However, if crucial information for preparedness is only available once the negotiations are concluded, there will not be sufficient time left for the industry to get ready. This relates especially to negotiations on Northern Ireland.’

‘CLECAT also appreciates the efforts of the UK Government to boost the capacity of the intermediary sector. However, we consider that in order for them to be fully effective, the entrepreneurial risk should be covered, and additional efforts could be taken to increase the attractiveness of the sector.’

Ms van der Jagt concluded: ‘Our sector is doing all it can to be prepared for the end of the transition period, but ongoing operational issues and uncertainty prevent businesses from getting ready. CLECAT therefore calls for stability and timely communication of overall policies regarding the EU-UK future relationship, procedures and formalities.’

CLECAT remains at the disposal of interested parties for any further information.

Contact details:

CLECAT – European Association for Forwarding, Transport, Logistics and Customs Services
Dominique Willems
Senior Manager
Rue du Commerce 77
1040 Brussels
+32 2 503 4705