The Week in Trade: BTOM begins implementation, Mercosur wobble and spirit export boost

Fri 2 Feb 2024
Posted by: Danielle Keen

It was a big week of deadlines for the UK border as Border Target Operating Model (BTOM) rules came into force. Traders will now also need to adapt to life without easy-use waiver 999L when making customs declarations.

The Institute of Export & International Trade (IOE&IT) kicked of its first sector-specific Special Interest Group (SIG) on Tuesday (30 January) as the export controls group convened for the fourth time. Members heard from a government official on the upcoming changes to the export licensing system.

The big picture: Several EU leaders have called for a suspension of trade talks with South America’s Mercosur bloc as part of suggested measures to appease protesting farmers. In Belgium, Germany and France farmers have blockaded key roads and ports in protest at new environmental targets and increased overseas competition.

Good week/bad week: A good week for Holyrood Distillery and those who enjoy the harder stuff, as Food Manufacture reports a £2m package has been agreed in order to fund exports of its gin, rum and whiskey brand.

The industry is unlikely to be short of funding to support overseas growth, with spirit sales Scotland’s number one export.

NBC News reports that animal welfare groups have raised concerns for the welfare of 16,000 cattle stranded off the coast of Australia after the cargo ship transporting them was forced to divert from the Red Sea. The cattle will either be returned to Australia and penned in a quarantine facility or re-exported to Israel around the coast of Africa.

Live animal exports are a contentious topic, with some questioning the ethics of subjecting cattle to long journeys for slaughter on arrival. New Zealand have outlawed the practice. The UK’s Animal Welfare (Livestock Exports) Bill has made it through the House of Commons and is currently on its second reading in the Lords.

How’s stat? 12 to 18 days, the time British businesses estimate are being added to goods deliveries as a result of global shipping disruption, according to S&P Global. This comes as the supplier delivery times index – a component making up 15% of the S&P Global Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI) score – fell below 50 in January for both UK and EU manufacturers.

The week in customs: A Customs Declaration Systems (CDS) glitch caused alarm yesterday (1 February) as the knock-on impact for the Goods Vehicle Movement System (GVSM) led to many trucks being diverted to Inland Border Facilities (IBF) have customs papers checked manually.

A failure with the GBP rate conversion prevented the generation of a Goods Movement Reference, required to allow goods to pass the border.

The issue has since been resolved. HMRC has informed traders whose goods crossed the UK border between midnight and noon yesterday without the need to divert to an IBF that they will need to submit a replacement ‘arrived’ non-inventory linked declaration as soon as possible.

Quote of the week: “This is an ambitious plan for UK trade and should be applauded. In the long-term it will help reduce costs and friction for businesses, should make the UK’s borders the most modern and effective in the world, and promote and encourage free international trade.”

IOE&IT director general Marco Forgione speaking as BTOM rules come into effect.

Major milestones: The government is celebrating four years since the UK formally left the EU with a look back at its “Brexit successes”.

What else we covered this week: Elsewhere this week, Richard Cree covered an IOE&IT trip to Ghana to launch the Africa Advisory Board.

Will Barns-Graham presented a fun look at how new BTOM rules will affect the contents of supermarket shelves.

Benjamin Roche provided insight into the deal between the UK and Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) party, which is set to facilitate the return of power sharing at Stormont.

Phil Adnett continued to update on the situation in the Red Sea as additional attacks claimed by Houthi rebels were followed by further US strikes.

True facts: A novel cultural export, 2 February is Groundhog Day, which sees participants predict how long winter will last with the aid of a furry friend. Observing a groundhog emerge from its burrow, if it spots its own shadow and retreats wintery weather will remain for another six weeks, if it leaves the burrow having not been put off by his shadow an early Spring is due. A European tradition more commonly carried out in US – I’d be tempted to stick with the daily forecast.