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Deadline looms for new Customs system

Whilst the British International Freight Association (BIFA) is confident that its members have taken heed of its advice to prepare for the forthcoming changes to the UK’s customs entry processing systems, anecdotal evidence suggests that some of their customers may be less prepared.

With HMRC monitoring the preparedness of customs agents and importers for the forthcoming migration of all import declarations from CHIEF to the Customs Declaration Service (CDS), BIFA has prepared two documents that its members can send to their customers in order to collect the information that is required from them and which highlights the additional complexity of completing a CDS declaration.

The first document covers the correlation between CHIEF box numbers and CDS data elements. The second details the additional data elements that importers/exporters need to provide to their customs intermediaries in order for the latter to correctly complete the customs declarations. Both can be viewed on the BIFA website at www.bifa.org

Robert Keen, director general of the trade association that represents the UK freight forwarding and logistics sector, says: “ With just over two months to go before all import declarations must be submitted on CDS, our members fully appreciate the scale of the change involved in this transition from CHIEF to CDS.

“We hope that the information that we are providing will help them to explain to any of their customers just how much additional data required, as well as the complexity of completing the customs declaration via the new system.

“Traders need to take a new approach to completing declarations and identifying data requirements on CDS, and our members are working closely with the traders they serve to ensure updated customs clearance instructions can be prepared.”

Keen also pointed to the Trader Dress Rehearsal Service that HMRC has prepared to allow firms to get used to the new CDS system, which gives both intermediaries and importers a useful platform for testing the system.

He said: “CDS has been a long-time in the making, and there have been many changes in the implementation timetable, but anyone who assumes that HMRC is thinking of further deferrals or delays needs to think again.

“I am confident that BIFA members, which account for a significant proportion of the customs entries made in the UK, are fully committed to making the new system work, and are making every effort to get ready to keep the country’s visible trade following.”
Source: British International Freight Association

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