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UK Brexit Border Control Model 1 January 2021

The UK’s HMRC has published guidance on the goods border procedures that will come into place after the 31 December 2020, when the UK leaves the EU Customs Union and VAT Regime. This is known as the Border Operating Model (BOM), and includes a mix of physical and digital procedures. This comprises the new Goods Vehicle Movement Service (GMVS) platform that will enable exporters to the EU to pre-declare their shipments and avoid exit queues at UK ports. Failure to complete such processes will result in trucks being blocked from leaving the UK.

An estimated 150,000 UK businesses will be required to complete customs procedures, pay duties and account for import VAT. This will result in an estimated 215m new declarations compared to 50m today.

Aside from the additional bureaucracy, and businesses’ preparedness, there is uncertainty around the readiness of systems and sufficient customs intermediaries (customs brokers, freight forwarders and express parcel operators) to help traders to complete the processes.

Businesses should at a minimum ensure they have a UK and EU EORI number, and have an import duty deferment account.


EU-Indonesia agreement: European Commission publishes conclusions of the sustainability impact assessment

The European Commission published the final Sustainability Impact Assessment (SIA) for the EU-Indonesia trade and investment agreement. The Commission also indicated how it proposes to take on board the recommendations made by the independent consultants as regards potential economic, social, environmental and human rights impacts. As part of its transparency commitment, the Commission also publishes a report summarizing progress made during the latest negotiation round.

The negotiations with Indonesia have been in progress since July 2016. The latest, virtual, round was held from 15 to 26 June 2020, showing commitment to making progress despite the difficulties caused by the health crisis.

The round served to consolidate the negotiating texts in most areas or to prepare the ground for more extensive discussions at the next full round. The negotiators succeeded also in bringing close to conclusion the chapter on customs and trade facilitation. The date for the next round of negotiations is still to be agreed.

[European Commission]

GSP Action: Online Stakeholder Survey launched to increase engagement with the European Union’s Generalized Scheme of Preferences (GSP)

As part of the launch of the new Action on GSP Trade Preferences, the EU has published an Online Survey with the objective of collecting contributions and insights from EU and international stakeholders. The Action reinforces the EU’s commitment to the transparency, engagement, and analysis of the GSP as part of its overall trade and sustainable development agenda. This Online Survey is distinct from the Online Public Consultation on the legislative review of the EU’s GSP framework. The GSP Action Online Survey is specifically designed to target unique responses from different stakeholder groups, with an eye to feeding information on a more equitable, accessible, and sustainable utilization of the existing GSP mechanism. Please share your experiences and feedback.

[European Commission]

E-commerce rules, fit for the digital age

This paper summarizes the discussions that took place at the workshop on “E-commerce rules, fit for the digital age”. The E-commerce directive was elaborated twenty years ago and has been key in regulating online services. However, the role of the internet has drastically evolved over the last two decades. The Chair of IMCO Committee Prof Dr Petra de Sutter and the Rapporteur for the Digital Services Act (DSA) Mr. Alex Agius Saliba co-chaired this workshop in order to discuss which areas of the E-commerce directive are no longer fit for purpose and need reforming in the DSA.

[European Parliament]

Middle East

Bahrain banning harmful plastics

The ban on using biodegradable plastic products in Bahrain will come into effect on Saturday (July 25).

In this regard, Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) will tomorrow hold a remote forum focusing on biodegradable plastic products.

The forum will focus on the second phase of the ministerial edict, which bans imports and manufacturing of non-degradable plastic “tableware” products as part of efforts to reduce pollution and protect the environment.

The event will also discuss the importance of ensuring the readiness of local factories and importing companies to implement the second phase of the edict.

Factories and companies will have to import and manufacture degradable “tableware” products.

The directorate of testing and metrology, an offshoot of the ministry, started enforcing the ban on using or selling non-degradable plastic bags used in shopping and garbage on July 25 last year.


Dubai Customs launches transit trade guide to keep up with progress of Silk Road Strategy

Dubai Customs on Thursday (July 16) launched a guide on transit trade to enhance the emirate’s leading position as a central hub for regional and global transit trade.

The guide, prepared by the Tariff and Origin Department, outlines all the procedures and steps that need to be taken by companies to avail for the services and facilities provided by Dubai Customs to transit activity. It includes information to raise awareness around all regulations on transit trade facilitation following the UAE’s commitment to the international treaties and agreements.

Transit trade is vital in facilitating economic transformation and regional trade, offering multiple benefits to the surrounding society by unlocking the economic potential of those areas.

The Dubai Silk Road strategy was prepared by the Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation, in collaboration with key government entities. Internally, the strategy focuses on enhancing trade between free zones and the rest of the emirates. Externally, the focus will be on enhancing strategic and operational connection of logistics services between DP World terminals across the world with Emirates airlines playing a key role.

[Khaleej Times]



Egypt pays EGP 6bn overdue export subsidies in FY19/20

Egypt disbursed EGP 6 billion worth of overdue export subsidies to 1,667 companies during fiscal year 2019/2020, the country’s finance minister Mohamed Maait said.

This is in line with the country’s efforts to help exporters withstand the current crisis, Maait added in a statement on Monday (July 20).

The country has been committed to paying overdue export subsidies owed by the Export Development Fund since 2012 in collaboration with the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

Maait further revealed that the government allocated EGP 7 billion to support exports during FY20/21.