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Bon Voyage: The UK Leaves the EU on January 31, 2020

After more than three years of uncertainty and disagreement, Brexit finally occurred on January 31, 2020, separating the UK from the EU. This marks the start of a transition period which will run until the end of 2020, during which the EU and UK will negotiate a comprehensive trade deal. The transition period may be extended by one or two years provided the UK notifies the EU and both parties agree before July 1, 2020. While Boris Johnson has included a provision in the UK Withdrawal Agreement which prevents the UK from seeking an extension, many sources doubt that, given its complexity, a trade deal can be concluded in an 11-month time span, so an extension is quite possible. If no deal is reached by December 31, 2020 and the transition period has not been extended, there will be a hard Brexit on January 1, 2021.


As of January 31, 2020, the UK will no longer be a Member State of the EU and no longer participate in the EU’s decision-making processes but will remain in the EU Customs Union and Single Market throughout the transition period. This means that goods, persons, and capital can still move freely between the EU and the UK with no change. After the transition period, customs formalities and controls will apply. Even if the EU and UK conclude a free trade agreement, customs formalities and checks will apply on the movements of goods between the two partners. Companies need to prepare for the fact that exporting to the UK will be like exporting to any other third country: customs and other types of declarations will need to be filed, new authorisations will be required, customs procedures will need to be followed, and operations will undergo checks and controls.

1 Way to Minimise Delays

Instead of using third parties to manage your customs declarations or have them manually prepared by your internal team, use a modern, automated solution that centralises all related data in one single dashboard. Customs automation software provides you with a holistic view of all your inbound and outbound shipments. Based on this data, (UK) customs declarations are automatically generated by the system and sent to the customs authorities with the click of a button. As declarations are automatically generated, trucks are released faster at the borders, drastically reducing wait time. Customs software also allows you to manage all applicable trade requirements in one single place, or even better: have your solution provider manage the requirements for you, so you are always up-to-date, without the hassle of continuously following the news.

3 Options to Save Costs

  1. Automating your (UK) customs declarations allows you to free-up in-house resources and cut the costs of third parties and customs brokers.
  2. Customs automation software standardises processes and can even cut red tape.
  3. Once everything is up and running, The Free Agreements will be negotiated and special procedures can be used.

5 Steps to Get Started!

If your current or foreseeable trade flows cross the Channel, it is time to get in touch with experts and start looking for a modern customs solution that can help your business stay agile and be ready as soon the details of Brexit are known.

  • Define your flows to and from the UK
  • Distinguish flows by transport mode, e.g., accompanied truck, unaccompanied, container, and ports of entry/exit
  • Quantify those flows
  • Decide whether to use a customs broker or a software solution
  • Look for a solution that automates your customs procedures from end to end,  sharing data with customs, business partners, and port community systems 

CAS: A Market-Leading Option

C4T has developed CAS, a software solution that automates your customs declarations. CAS is Brexit-proof, since it is already compatible with CDS - the future HMRC IT system – and has a single message/double filing function, simultaneously addressing export customs formalities from the country of departure (UK or EU) and import formalities in the country of destination (UK or EU), combined with transit to ensure frictionless border crossing. Next to this functionality, CAS is now integrated with the French customs platform, DELTA-G, for standard pre-lodge declarations for import and export. This integration allows our customers to import and export goods from and to France, which will become even more pivotal once Brexit hits. 

Want to know more about how you can circumnavigate the impact of Brexit?

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Guidance for your business

Whether you are looking for software to optimise your customs declarations, you are investigating the different options to import and export after Brexit or need help with UK VAT requirements, our customs experts can help you. Contact us today.

7 sources from our expert:

  1. EU newsroom special coverage Brexit: news and press releases  https://europa.eu/newsroom/highlights/special-coverage/brexit_en
  2. Taskforce 50 website: EU Commission updates and official documents of the negotiations https://ec.europa.eu/info/departments/taskforce-article-50-negotiations-united-kingdom_en
  3. EU newsroom general: all press releases published by the EU institutions: https://europa.eu/newsroom/home_en
  4. UK Department for leaving the EU: UK government news on Brexit and official documents https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-exiting-the-european-union
  5. DG TAXUD Brexit page: news and documents concerning customs https://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/uk_withdrawal_en
  6. EU Commission Brexit preparedness landing page: preparedness notices (customs and more), legislative initiatives and others:   https://ec.europa.eu/info/brexit/brexit-preparedness_en
  7. UK guidance on how to prepare for Brexit if there's no deal.  https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/how-to-prepare-if-the-uk-leaves-the-eu-with-no-deal
Romina Ozorio
Our Brexit Expert
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About CAS

CAS offers the customs manager a SaaS solution to turn customs and trade compliance into valuable services

... enabling the customs managers to shape and run their customs accounting services, unshackle data, provide strategic insights and truly collaborate with business partners

The days are over to worry about duty and administration costs, firefighting changing legal requirements and business dynamics 

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