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Business group Logistics UK, which represents all sectors of the industry, has welcomed news today (28 April) that the European Parliament has accepted the terms of the Trade and Customs Agreement (TCA), which was announced on 24 December 2020.

Sarah Laouadi, Logistics UK's European policy manager, said the ratification will 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,” she said, “and will provide them with greater certainty about how and when goods can move across the UK’s borders.

“Despite the ratification of a long-term framework for the trading relationship with the EU, it is also important to remember that 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 that 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.”

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

“Our advice to members which import goods from the EU is to familiarise themselves with what will be required in plenty of time,” Laouadi continued, “and review their contracts, Incoterms and processes with suppliers and partners on the other side of the Channel. 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 is one of the UK’s leading business groups, representing UK logistics businesses and more than seven million people directly employed in the making, selling and moving of goods.