Four government updates traders need to know about – including PEACH, CDS and WOWGR

Mon 10 Oct 2022
Posted by: William Barns-Graham

border checks

Businesses sending goods overseas need to keep a constant eye on government updates relating to customs regulations and systems to ensure they are trading compliantly.

This principle applies at all times in international trade, but is particularly pertinent for British traders in a post-Brexit landscape.

The IOE&IT Daily Update here updates readers on four recent government updates that traders may have missed but should know about.

1: Defra pauses PEACH-to-IPAFFS transition

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has recently been asking traders to move away from using the Procedure for Electronic Application for Certificates from the Horticultural Marketing Inspectorate (PEACH) system for pre-notifying UK border authorities of goods such as fruit, vegetables, nuts and certain plants entering the UK.

Affected traders have instead been asked to use the Import of Products, Animals, Food and Feed System (IPAFFS). However, following feedback form users, Defra has decided to pause the transition of users from PEACH to IPAFFS.

The pause also applies for goods entering Britain that require a phytosanitary certificates.

In its latest Borders Bulletin, the Cabinet Office said:

“Following user feedback, Defra has made the decision to pause the transition of users from PEACH to IPAFFS and are asking traders who have not yet registered and submitted an application on IPAFFS to continue using the PEACH system.

“If you have already registered and submitted an application, you can continue to do so using the IPAFFS platform.”

PEACH has been used by traders importing:

  • Consignments of fruit, vegetables, nuts and other goods covered by the Great Britain Marketing Standards
  • Consignments of goods covered by plant health regulations

Traders and their agents have been required to use PEACH to pre-notify any import consignments of goods requiring a phytosanitary certificate.

Unless traders have already migrated to using IPAFFS, using PEACH will continue to be mandatory until the transition to IPAFFS is resumed.

2: UKWA welcomes possible revoking of WOWGR legislation

The UK Warehousing Association (UKWA) has welcomed HMRC’s suggestion that it will revoke the controversial Warehousekeeper and Owners of Warehoused Goods Regulations (WOWGR).

Under WOWGR, owners of spirits, beer and cider have been required to register with HMRC to ‘own’ their goods in a third-party excise warehouse.

HMRC indicated that it intended to revoke WOWGR at a meeting of the Joint Alcohol and Tobacco Consulting Group last month.

Allan Powell from the UKWA said that revoking the law would “lighten the load on the warehouse industry and eliminate wasted resources on the part of HMRC on matters that are of no practical use.”

He described it as “excellent news for the entire industry”.

3: Inland border facilities in Ebbsfleet and Warrington to close

HMRC will close inland border facilities (IBFs) in Ebbsfleet and Warrington in November.

IBFs have been set up by HMRC to conduct documentation checks and physical inspections away from the UK’s busiest ports to ease traffic caused by goods entering and leaving the UK.

The interim site at Warrington will close on 13 November while at Ebbsfleet it will close on 27 November.

According to the government statement announcing the closures, larger sites in Sevington and Holyhead will be able to handle the traffic that was being supported by the Ebbsfleet and Warrington facilities.

As reported previously by the Daily Update, a planned IBF around the Port of Dover was axed earlier this summer, as existing facilities were deemed "sufficient" to deal with traffic.

4: CDS imports deadline has passed

The Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system closed for import declarations on 30 September, and importers must now complete declarations on the Customs Declaration Service (CDS).

Since 1 October, the government has been allowing traders to apply to continue using CHIEF until the end of the month, but only if they can demonstrate that they are having technical difficulties adopting CDS.

Traders applying for the extension must show that they will use the time to progress their migration to CDS.

In an update to traders on 8 October, HMRC clarified that traders should not apply for this extension if their Community System Provider (CSP) is having “problems processing messages from CDS”.

The IOE&IT recently hosted a Q&A webinar addressing issues traders have been experiencing with the CDS migration, which you can watch for free here.

The IOE&IT is also providing a CDS support package, which puts together a range of solutions to help support businesses getting to grips with the new system.

The package includes a new CDS helpdesk, expert-led one-day training courses, CDS trade surgeries and consultancies, as well as answers to traders’ frequently asked questions.