Customs challenges continue for the industry

January 2021 will go down in history as the month Transition ended with a big bang. With many in our industry having faced the toughest month they have ever experienced, the clarity on rules and how they apply to our sector still remains both challenging and expensive.

Whilst some areas are starting to become clearer, the land of opportunity hailed by HM Government many feel a long way from the reality of business in these last few weeks. Typically, many goods in the sector fall under the ‘hard to classify’ sector and Government teams are increasingly directing us to seeking a ruling on certain goods to avoid issues through to inward processing to avoid complex customs issues. Recent commitment from Government teams centered on ‘Business Readiness’ has told the BPMA they are fully committed to supporting every sector.

BPMA CEO Carey Trevill commented ‘It is encouraging to see Government teams engaging so extensively, albeit later in the process than everyone would have liked. It is clear the nature of our sector is not ‘atypical’ and with elements of creative industries, manufacturing and more, we don’t fit neatly into one segment. With much greater understanding of our sector capabilities and importantly our contribution to the UK economy, we have an accelerated programme now with these teams. We were delighted to welcome a representative from the VAT stakeholder engagement team at our webinar last week and have confirmed the Business Energy & Industrial Strategy team to join us on 11th February to clarify Rules of Origin issues for the industry.’

Working closely with several teams for advice, both BPMA and its members have found advice has however differed. Having flagged these issues, they are now being addressed. BPMA member forums last week indicated dissatisfaction with the rules, lack of clarity and more with some members indicating a loss of business as a result of the changes.

The changes are here to stay and with the BPMA and majority of trade bodies putting pressure on Government to help illustrate sector examples, the expectation of faster, clearer guidance is promised in the coming days and weeks.

If you are a BPMA member, please join the regular webinar series for updates. Next session: Rules of Origin, 11th February at 12:30. Visit for more details.

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