The Institute of Export & International Trade (IOE&IT) has today (29 September) issued a report highlighting the high volume of regulatory change facing UK traders over the next 18 months and calling on political leaders to support businesses through this turbulent period.
Launched on the eve of the Conservative Party Conference, and with the Labour Party Conference to follow next week, the report – The Border Target Operating Model and Beyond: Navigating changes to trade rules in the UK – details over 20 major policy updates that will impact British firms trading internationally between now and the end of 2024.
This makes the period potentially even busier and more pivotal for businesses that trade internationally than 2021, when the EU began applying full customs requirements and checks on UK exports to the EU.
Last month the government announced its plans for the new approach to importing goods into the UK via the Border Target Operating Model (BTOM). BTOM will be introduced in phases starting in January 2024, and will affect border procedures for imports of
food, animal and plant products.
But IOE&IT’s analysis finds BTOM to be just the beginning, with 23 other major legislative and policy changes set to affect businesses either directly or indirectly, through supply chains, delivery partners or freight forwarders.
Other changes over coming months include the fifth release of the New Computerised Transit System (NCTS5), the rollout of the Electronic Trade Documents Act, the EU Import Control System 2, and multiple updates to the documentation, risk-based checks
and health certification checks on specific products.
With specific requirements and levels of understanding needed for each, IOE&IT finds that the time and support needed to implement these changes will be substantial. But once implemented, the potential benefits will be vast.
Commenting on this analysis, Marco Forgione, director general of IOE&IT, comments:
“The UK’s international trade community is at the launchpad of great change. Such a raft of new measures in so short a period is almost unheard of. But it presents an enormous opportunity for Britain to reap the benefits of new trade deals and partnerships we are pursuing around the world.
“But we need businesses and policymakers pulling together in the same direction.
“From cutting red tape to new digital borders, these changes are a cause for excitement. But with so much change, there is naturally going to be some apprehension among business owners.
“There will be a bedding in period, but the potential benefits if we can navigate this period successfully are profound.”
Forgione adds that the digitalisation of UK trade has the potential to add £25bn to the country’s GDP, but says that potential won’t be realised without certainty and support.
“Businesses need to feel confident that they can not only navigate these changes, but that they have sufficient time to prepare so stock levels, deliveries and suppliers aren’t negatively impacted.”
His message to political leaders attending party conferences is clear,
“Next year is going to see profound change in how we trade with the rest of the world. We can longer take for granted that businesses are fully aware of all the changes coming into force.
“It is essential there are no more delays and that we work together to give businesses the best chance to succeed. We have a golden opportunity for British business to flourish, but they will only reap the rewards of new border systems and trade deals if they are armed with the right skills and knowledge in plenty of time.”