Q&As

What considerations apply when determining the correct rate of customs duty payable on imported goods from 1 January 2021?

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Produced in partnership with Fergus Randolph QC of Brick Court Chambers
Published on LexisPSL on 01/03/2021

The following Commercial Q&A produced in partnership with Fergus Randolph QC of Brick Court Chambers provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • What considerations apply when determining the correct rate of customs duty payable on imported goods from 1 January 2021?
  • Will duty apply?
  • What rate of customs duty is payable?
  • Assumptions/limitations

Will duty apply?

Whether duty applies, and at what rate, will depend from where the goods are imported into the UK. If goods are imported from countries outside of the EU, then the position will not have changed after the end of the transition period at 11 pm on 31 December 2020. However, if the goods are imported into the UK from countries in the EU, then the position could be different. This remainder of this Q&A considers goods imported from the EU into the UK.

The first point to note is that the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) essentially allows for products traded between the EU and the UK to be free of customs duties: ‘Except as otherwise provided for in this Agreement, customs duties on all goods originating in the other Party shall be prohibited’ (TCA, Article GOODS.5).

Customs duties are defined in the following terms in the TCA: ‘…the duty payable on goods entering or leaving the customs territory of each Party in accordance with the rules set out in the customs legislation of the respective Parties’ (TCA, Protocol on administrative cooperation and combating fraud in the field of value added tax and on mutual assistance for the recovery of claims relating to taxes and duties, Article 3(i)).

It should also be noted that ‘[b]aggage and direct cargo in direct transit across the territory

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