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Brexit – Business Day One Review from essCert

Certificate of Origin
Chambers of Commerce
freight forwarders
Brian Smith
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By Brian Smith, Managing Director, essCert

The first business day post-Brexit has now come and gone. The good news is that no major hitches were reported in the press. The Port of Dover saw orderly movement of lorries onto ferries bound for the EU. On the Calais side, things did get off to a slow start, with Customs checks on a long queue of lorries not starting until mid-afternoon – however, they did eventually start and began moving smoothly thereafter. The Channel Tunnel, likewise, saw things flowing smoothly, with France’s new smart border system working as advertised.

While that sounds like great news, Monday’s cross-channel volume was less than 20% of usual volumes following the holiday period. This may work out perfectly as a transition ‘cushion’, but time will tell over the next few weeks if borders withstand the added stress of a return to normal traffic.

Much of Brexit planning at companies has focused on Customs declarations between the EU and the UK, and that is obviously critical. A few EU-based retailers have halted shipments to the UK temporarily as they work out some VAT, shipping rate and export declaration issues. Only hours before the trade deal took effect at 23:00 on 30 December 2020, the UK government suspended the need for Customs Declarations on parcel shipments to Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK. Northern Irish consumers can only hope that the anticipated glitches can be worked out prior to the three-month grace period.

Origin of goods has been somewhat less discussed, but becomes vitally important as the UK and the EU no longer trade as a bloc. 

Your Chamber of Commerce is a valuable resource, especially with regards to the issuance of Certificates of Origin (COs). The EU has several non-preferential origin provisions with which UK exporters must be familiar, and many Chambers have been working with origin rules for decades.

Furthermore, new opportunities will arise: for example, the UK and the United States are in the negotiating stages of a Free Trade Agreement. Companies outside of the EU may see trade lanes change, as they might export goods directly to EU countries that once were distributed through the UK. Brexit will bring both disruption and opportunities, so it is important that companies across the globe pay attention to developments.

With regards to essCert’s role in the puzzle, i.e. helping Chambers and their exporters handle the origin of goods digitally, we stand #BrexitReady, and our proven flexibility will ensure that exporters and forwarders around the world are well-served. Our Team has worked extensively over the past year to make sure that essCert systems are ready to meet users’ requirements in the post-Brexit era – from the ability to issue a new UK Certificate of Origin, to our cloud-based infrastructure designed to automatically expand, if needed, for potential volume increases. 

We look forward to continuing to provide assistance on Brexit-related matters surrounding Certificates of Origin, or to help steer you in the right direction if required.

Useful links providing information on non-preferential origin requirements between the EU and UK:

Register for essCert is you are an exporter or forwarder seeking to digitize your CO and trade document processes.

Contact us to find out more or if you are a Chamber of Commerce / National Authority seeking immediate assistance in digitizing your CO and trade document processes.


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