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Imports and Exports

Cargo ship at docksideTrade with business partners in third countries requires information to be prepared and submitted so that duties and taxes can be calculated and trade statistics can be compiled.  Increasingly, information is also required for other purposes - for example, pre-advice of goods movements for safety and security purposes.

If you are already in business, much of the information needed for international trade can be found in your own commercial system(s).  After registering and obtaining the necessary authorisations from the customs authority, the completed information (or "data-set") for each transaction, as detailed in the Customs Tariff documentation, can be sent to the customs authority either by employing a customs agent to submit the declarations on your behalf or by using in-house or on-line customs software and making your own submissions.

Bringing International Trade in-house

Tariffs and quotas can make it difficult enough to be competitive in the international market, but there's no need to reduce the margin even further and add risk by employing agents to make your electronic declarations.

Even if an agent is employed, responsibility for correct declaration remains with the trader, so it's important to get it right.  Whether you're doing standard imports or exports, or want to use SCP, we can help you to produce your own electronic declarations and get it right every time.

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Import / Export declarations

XML messageHistorically paper documents, import and export declarations have gradually become electronic over recent years, using EDIFACT and increasingly XML messages for transmission of data.  Electronic messaging allows near-instantaneous transfer of data to the authorities, saving time and avoiding errors.  For most commodities, the almost immediate positive responses from the authorities enable your goods to be released and forwarded to their destination without the need for further control or documentation.

In the EU, the Union Customs Code now mandates electronic data exchange between customs authorities and economic operators except in very limited circumstances.

Honeycourt can provide expert knowledge and assistance with the generation of such messages and processing of the response files.

Special Customs Procedures

Stack of containersThe general term "Special Customs Procedures" refers to trade facilitations involving suspension of, or relief from, customs duties under the control and permission of the customs authority.  Increasingly, and especially in the UK and EU, SCP permissions are granted only to "trusted traders" accredited to Approved Economic Operator (AEO) status.  Typical SCPs include:

  • Customs Warehousing - Import duties (and VAT, where applicable) are suspended whilst goods are stored in a warehouse that is subject to customs audit and reporting requirements..
  • Temporary Import - Duties are exempted or reduced, and VAT is exempted, for goods temporarily imported and intended to be re-exported within 2 years.
  • Inward Processing - Import duties (and VAT, where applicable) are suspended whilst goods are processed, assembled or repaired.  The finished products may be re-exported, or used domestically after declaration and payment of the suspended duties.
  • End Use - Duties are exempted or reduced for goods imported for specific uses, such as the construction or repair of ships, or use by defence forces.

Honeycourt has experience in all of the above SCPs and can assist with their implementation.

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Transit in and across the EU

EU flagIn and around Europe, goods subject to customs duties may be moved freely under the Community Transit Convention (CTC).  The convention members include all EU Member States, the UK, the EFTA countries, Turkey, Serbia and North Macedonia.

Traders wishing to use Transit must use the NCTS, either via EDI messaging or by keying the details manually into the "Web-dec" system on the internet.

To avoid the need for re-keying of data, we can help to get EDI messaging up and running so that NCTS declarations can be sent automatically from your transaction processing system.

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Useful links

What is Transit? - more about Transit movements, on the EU web-site.

World Customs Organisation, including links to other international organisations.

WTO Trade Topics - news from the World Trade Organisation.

United Nations Trade & Development - information and publications on global trade issues.

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