Five government updates you may have missed – including export controls, SPS rules and Transit

Mon 31 Oct 2022
Posted by: Phillip Adnett, William Barns-Graham

Regulation round-up: five new rules and regulations for international traders

Trade policies, rules and systems are continually being updated and scrutinised by parliamentarians and government officials.

For businesses, staying up-to-date is essential in order to ensure efficient and compliant trade.

The IOE&IT Daily Update here looks at five key updates you may have missed.

1: Committee criticises government on export controls approach

Four committees from the House of Commons, jointly named the Committees on Arms Export Control (CAEC), released a report on Friday (28 October) criticising the government’s attitude towards bringing in new export controls.

The report noted that major changes to export controls had been made without consultation from Parliament or with stakeholders.

“Throughout this inquiry, the CAEC have struggled with an apparent lack of co-operation from government, especially in respect of ministers appearing before us,” said CAEC chair Mark Garnier MP. “Without a sufficient level of engagement and transparency from government departments, constructive parliamentary scrutiny cannot take place.”

The committee also highlighted the delays in a new IT system, a lack of openness on data and resources given to the Export Control Joint Unit (ECJU). The government will have two months to respond to the report.

Earlier in the month (19 October), the ECJU issued a new Notice to Exporters regarding amendments to the Export Control Order 2008, including a new order, the Export Control (Amendment) (No. 2) Order 2022 (SI 2022 No. 1042), which comes into force on 3 November 2022.

2: Transit updates – including digital TADs

Finally, the government is preparing traders for changes to a key post-Brexit international convention, according to the Joint Customs Consultative Committee (JCCC).

Anyone moving goods using the Common Transit Convention (CTC) should be prepared for updates to the New Computerized Transit System.

The government is developing a transition plan ahead of the deadline next year (30 November 2023) and promises more detailed information soon.

The benefits of the new system includes the ability to amend pre-lodged declarations rather than having to start from scratch, and the digitalisation of the Transit Accompanying Document, meaning that a document can be presented on a smartphone or tablet.

The JCCC is the main forum for HMRC to discuss trade changes directly with industry.

3: Plastic crates now regarded as ‘transport packaging’

Reusable plastic crates are now regarded as ‘transport packaging’ and are exempt from the plastic packaging tax (PPT) on imported goods, according to the Cabinet Office’s recent Borders Bulletin on 25 October.

The bulletin, which the government shares with key industry stakeholders, also included a reminder that PPT returns for the 1 July to 30 September period need to be submitted by today (31 October).

Firms that produce or import 10 tonnes or more of plastic packaging within a 12-month period should register for Plastic Packaging Tax (PPT) - even if their packaging contains 30% or more recycled plastic.

HMRC has previously issued guidance on how to prepare to submit a PPT return. You can read the IOE&IT’s introduction to PPT here.

4: New rules on meat exports will impact sales, BMPA wans

Reuters reports that the British Meat Processor Association (BMPA) has sounded the alarm over new government regulations on meat exports, which could hit sales to the EU and harm the wider food supply chain.

Pre-export rules are now set to change, with firms being required to get a vet to sign off on any declarations unless the exporter is covered by a UK farm assurance scheme, such as Red Tractor.

Previously, the rules had only required a farmer to sign a declaration stating that a vet had visited the farm in the past year.

CEO of the BMPA Nick Allen described the policy as “completely unnecessary” and “unworkable”, according to the Grocer.

5: New scheme for ‘high risk’ pet imports

Defra has introduced a new approved importers scheme for pet imports from certain “high risk” countries.

Previously, there was a ban on commercial pet imports from Belarus, Poland, Romania and Ukraine. This ban included rescue animals.

Under the scheme, a trader must be based (or have representation) in the UK, must not have committed any non-compliances over the last 12 months and provide details of any animal imports to the government.

Pet Business World reports that this does not include normal pet owners coming from those countries or Ukrainian refugees fleeing with their animals.