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On 19 March 2018, the EU and the UK published a joint, color-coded version of the Draft Withdrawal Agreement. The parts that are highlighted in green indicate the areas in which the two sides have reached a formal agreement; the parts highlighted in yellow identify the provisions in which there is a political agreement, but clarifications are still needed; and the parts in blanc are the ones that require further negotiation from both teams. This new text reveals that an important milestone was achieved today: both sides have formally agreed on the format and on the duration of the transition period as well as on the treatment of ongoing customs procedures.
The new text confirms that the transition period shall start on 30 March 2019 and end on 31 December 2020. During this period, the UK will continue to participate in the Single Market and in the EU Customs Union. Indeed, the EU acquis shall continue to apply and produce in the UK the same legal effects as in the EU. With regards to the customs procedures that are still ongoing after the end of the transition period, the Union Customs Code (UCC) will remain applicable to the movements of goods between the customs territory of the EU and the customs territory of the UK, whenever the movement started before the end of the transition period and ended thereafter.
Getting ready: automate your customs formalities
The publication of this joint draft brings some much-needed clarity to the Brexit negotiations. For companies involved in trade with the UK, it provides a clear deadline – 31 December 2020 - for the current status quo to end. However, the transition period represents only an additional lapse of time for businesses to prepare. It remains crucial that companies get ready for the changes that Brexit will cause. For instance, it is very likely that customs formalities will apply on the imports from and exports to the UK, after the transition period. Customs4trade’s team of experts can assist you in preparing an impact assessment to identify the risks and opportunities for your company. Moreover, Customs4trade can help you automate your customs formalities with a tailored IT solution, which is already successfully employed in the UK.
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