The meetings of the Group will normally be held four times per year on the second Thursday in the months of February, May, September and November (AGM) at various venues in central London, at 6 o'clock in the evening until 8 o'clock. Membership is £100 per year, which includes participation in the four meetings a year, and receipt of regular mailings of customs and international trade related technical material (some of which is not always available as quickly or at all on the websites of European customs administrations, trade ministries, the European Commission, etc.). Members serve for the CPG on customs focussed working parties, and lobby the European Commission and others on customs issues.
A customs and excise or international trade specialist is usually invited to participate in a presentation and discussion with members at most meetings.
Speaker: Jeremy White, CPG Member, on Brexit.
Venue: RPC, Tower Bridge House, St. Katharine's Way, London E1W 1AA.
This meeting was also the AGM and, after the formal business was concluded, we had a presentation from our own Jeremy White on Brexit, future trade arrangements with the EU and border delivery improvements. We also had a presentation from Michelle Sloane of RPC on a recent Court of Appeal judgement on the issue of C18s outside the three year limit.
There were further discussions on recent meetings with HMRC on authorisations & approvals, AEO and self-assessment. It is apparent that Brexit is enabling HMRC to review and improve its service to business which is very positive.
Speaker: Aaron Dunne, HMRC, on EU Exit.
Venue: Grant Thornton LLP, 30 Finsbury Square, London EC2A 1AG.
Aaron Dunne returned to update us on the latest Brexit issues and discussions centred around the latest UK proposals for a Facilitated Customs Arrangement. We also discussed the need for businesses to prepare for the potential scenario of no deal being in place for future trade arrangements between the UK and EU27 next April and the difficulties this presents for traders.
The main other issue of discussion was the new Customs Declaration Service and the lack of information that is available to business to enable them to prepare for the changes that are due to come in before the end of the year.
Speaker: Stella Jarvis, CDS Transformation Programme, HMRC.
Venue: Baker & McKenzie LLP, 100 New Bridge Street, London, EC4V 6JA.
Our guest speaker was Stella Jarvis who provided a very interesting insight into the latest developments on the new Customs Declaration Service (CDS) which is currently in testing mode with the software houses and will begin to be rolled out later this year. Stella explained how, initially, the system will run in parallel with the current CHIEF system. It will only be used for imports until next year when exports will also come onto CDS. There were many questions about the new system, how it will operate, what additional data will need to be provided and what benefits there will be for traders.
The interaction left little time for much further discussion but there was an update on certain JCCC issues, recent consultations and the current Brexit landscape.
Speaker: Neil Feinson, Deputy Director for Trade in Goods at Department for International Trade.
Venue: Pinsent Masons LLP, 30 Crown Place, London EC2A 4ES.
Our guest speaker was Neil Feinson who gave us an update on the preparations that the Department of International Trade is making for when the UK has its own competence in trade policy matters. The main discussions were around the EU FTAs and the need for the UK to maintain as much access as possible to these agreements during and post the transition period for exiting the EU. Many scenarios were discussed, including the potential FTAs that the UK may adopt post Brexit. Origin rules, quota splitting, anti-dumping duties and duty suspensions were all covered in a lively and interactive debate.
Additional matters discussed included the Import Fraud Strategy Group, the new arrangements for End Use Relief and the Hamamatsu Photonics EUCJ case.
Speakers: Five Lanes Consultancy on the UCC Navigator Tool and Jeremy White, CPG Member, an update on recent Customs Case Law.
Venue: RPC LLP, Tower Bridge House, St. Katharine's Way, London E1W 1AA.
Following the Annual General Meeting, there were presentations from Five Lanes Consultancy on the UCC Navigator Tool and, from our own Jeremy White, an update on recent customs case law.
The UCC Navigator brings together the four UCC regulations and is an electronic tool for finding a way through the UCC, its delegated, implementing and transitional regulations; it will be updated as the regulations change.
Jeremy focussed on two CJEU cases, Wortmann on interest charges, and LEK, a Slovenian case on classification – both had interesting outcomes and potential knock on effects.
The Chairman gave a brief update on the Fulfilment House Due Diligence Scheme and the AEO Workshop that she had recently attended. There was also a discussion on the effectiveness of the HMRC National Advice Service.
Speaker: Aaron Dunne, HMRC, on HMRC's approach to the Brexit challenge.
Venue: Baker & McKenzie LLP, 100 New Bridge Street, London, EC4V 6JA.
Our guest speaker was Mr Aaron Dunne of HMRC who delivered a presentation on Customs’ approach to the Brexit challenge. The Government’s “Future Partnership Paper” on the arrangements for trade between the UK and the EU 27 after 29th March 2019 was discussed. Members are encouraged to respond to the paper and to the White Paper on new UK customs law which will be published soon.
It was a well-attended meeting and there was a lot of lively discussion about the immediate issues that need to be addressed, such as logistics, customs clearance and the cost to business of both new arrangements with the EU but also with other third countries.
There was little time for any meaningful discussion on other issues but concerns regarding the back log of processing of requests for IP authorisations and amendments at Nottingham were again highlighted.
Venue: Bird & Bird, 12 New Fetter Lane, London EC4A 1JP.
Unfortunately, following the sudden decision to hold a UK General Election, our Speaker from HMRC was unable to attend this evening due to Purdah restrictions.
We therefore had an open Forum for discussions and one of the main issues was Brexit. Valentina Sloane gave an interesting update on her recent attendance, with Jeremy White, at a House of Lords EU Select Committee meeting and then we had a talk by a guest attendee, Gary Horlick, a highly respected US trade lawyer. Gary gave some general observations on the implications for both the UK and the EU of the UK’s decision to leave the Union and a perspective on US/UK future trade arrangements.
Other items discussed were the proposed changes to the definition of exporter in the UCC Supplementing Regulation, the judgement of the CJEU in the Wortmann case on interest on customs duties that are reimbursed and a brief discussion on the new wording in the UCC regarding the repayment or remission of “overcharged” amounts of import duty.
Speaker: Open forum on Brexit to inform a Paper to HMRC.
Venue: Grant Thornton House, Melton Street, Euston Square, London NW1 2EP.
This meeting was an open forum on customs and international trade matters relating to the UK decision to leave the European Union. Following the White Paper in which it was announced that the UK would not stay in the Single Market but would seek a new customs arrangement with the EU, there was much discussion and debate about what that arrangement should be and the issues that would need to be addressed. The CPG will deliver a paper to HMRC and the Treasury.
There was also discussion on who can be shown as an exporter on an ex-works declaration and there was feed-back from the recent meeting with HMRC on the new Fulfilment House Due Diligence Scheme.
Speaker: Jeremy White - an Update on Customs Law.
Venue: Clifford Chance, 4 Coleman Street, London EC2R 5TA.
This meeting included the brief formal business of the Annual General Meeting at which Robert Hina was voted in for a second term as Treasurer and the Chairman’s report of the year and the Accounts were accepted. A very interesting presentation by Jeremy White on recent Customs case law followed the AGM and then there were lively discussions on a number of UCC implementing procedures and Brexit.
Speaker: Colin Davies, HMRC, on Brexit.
Venue: The Montague Hotel, 15 Montague Street, Russell Square, London WC18 5BJ.
Colin Davis from the Customs Directorate of HM Revenue & Customs was our speaker this evening on Brexit. It is still too early to even predict what customs regime the UK will have in the future and what our trading relationship will be with the EU 27, but Colin explained that HMRC are now reviewing where, within the flexibilities allowed by the Union Customs Code, they can be more facilitative to UK business. Brexit will have an impact on UCC transition and on the introduction of the new Customs Declaration Service (CDS) that is to replace CHIEF; CDS is likely to be delayed.
There was much crystal ball gazing and clearly a frustration, on both sides, about the uncertain future. There will be a vast amount of work for HMRC and the Department for International Trade in the ensuing months and years ahead. Consultation between HMRC and business on Brexit will continue within the JCCC structure, which is currently being reviewed.
Speaker: Caroline Wilkins, HMRC on the UCC.
Venue: Deloitte LLP, Stonecutter Court, 1 Stonecutter Street, London EC4A 4TR.
This meeting was dominated by discussions on the Union Customs Code, particularly Special Procedures. Caroline Wilkins from HMRC was our very informative speaker.
Caroline explained the procedure for obtaining new authorisations.
To obtain a CCG waiver, a trader must submit a CCG1 to the Customs Office at Harwich and will then be sent a questionnaire to complete. It was agreed that the CCG1 is confusing and completion notes will be available soon. The CCG2 for the bank guarantee will also soon be available.
Military End Use is no longer available for traders. They must either be a named processor on the MOD authorisation or use IP to import and then transfer to the MOD.
Simplified declarations are now Authorisation by Customs Declaration (ACD) and may only be used 3 times in a year; a full guarantee is needed (even for AEOs).
The Chairman reported on the Social Event the previous week which was enjoyed by all although the turnout was disappointing.
There was also a discussion on the proposed Fulfilment House Due Diligence Scheme in preparation for a JCCC Extra-Ordinary meeting to be held on 17th May.
Speaker: Ian Ascough, Head of Strategy, Engagement and Bilateral Negotiations Team, BIS Trade Policy Unit.
Venue: Pinsent Masons, 30 Crown Place, Earl Street, London EC2A 4ES.
Ian Ascough gave a most interesting presentation on trade negotiations, including the Commissions new trade policy strategy, the issue of competency between the EU and MSs and the current situation regarding a number of FTAs. There were discussions on TTIP and China’s potential market economy status.
The other main issue of discussion was the Union Customs Code; with implementation just a few months away, there is still so much uncertainty. It was apparent that business is receiving conflicting advice from various HMRC sources but it was recognised that HMRC is doing a much better job of publicity than other member states.
Speaker: Ian Ascough, Head of Strategy, Joint BIS/DfID/FCO Trade Policy Unit was unable to attend.
Venue: The Khan Partnership, 48 / 49 Russell Square, London WC1B 4JP.
The meeting was held at the offices of the Khan Partnership LLP, 48-49 Russell Square, London WC1.
Unfortunately our speaker was unable to attend the meeting due to a family illness. The meeting therefore commenced with the AGM where the accounts for the year ended 31st October were presented by the Treasurer and the Chairman presented a short Report of the year. The members voted on an amendment to the Constitution and Michelle Sloane was re-elected to the Council for a further term.
There was a report from the JCCC meeting of 9th November and a discussion on the progress of the UCC Delegated and Implementing Acts. Other matters discussed included a recent Italian case on retrospective price adjustments, the problems with delays in obtaining repayments of import duty and the customs civil penalty regime.
Speaker: Jim Repper, HMRC, on the Union Customs Code.
Venue: Baker & McKenzie LLP, 100 New Bridge Street, London,EC4V 6JA.
Jim Repper from HMRC Customs Policy was the guest speaker at this meeting. Jim updated members on the current position of the negotiations on the Implementing and Delegated Acts for the Union Customs Code. There were interesting discussions on some of the various impacts of the new legislation, how it was to be implemented in the UK and how business is to be informed of the changes.
There were updates on the recent meetings of the JCCC Change Group, the Duty Liability Working Group and the Customs Product and Procedures Group, all which concentrated on the changes to be introduced by the UCC.
There was also a lively discussion on the excessive delays being encountered with the CITEX IP Processing Team in Nottingham.
Speaker: Beth Earwicker, Senior Policy Advisor, HMRC Tariff Classification Service.
Venue: PWC LLP, One Embankment Place, London, WC2N 6RH.
Beth Earwicker gave an informative presentation on the work of the Tariff Classification Unit which issues around 7,000 BTIs each year and provides both internal advice to HMRC staff and external advice to the Trade. Beth announced that the results of the Review of the Tariff Classification Helpline Service will now not be announced until the summer as clearance of the report had been delayed due to the General Election. The changes in the procedure for issuing BTIs under the UCC were of prime interest to the members present.
Other issues discussed were recent JCCC and sub-group meetings and the problems caused by long delays in HMRC approving changes to IP authorisations.
Speaker: Jim Repper from HMRC on the Union Customs Code.
Venue: Baker & McKenzie LLP, 100 New Bridge Street, London EC4V 6JA.
Jim Repper, accompanied by Angela Head, gave an interesting update on the Union Customs Code proposed Delegating and Implementing Acts. The current draft texts now need to be reviewed by the other DGs and it is most likely that some problems will be raised during the interservices consultation. Some of the main issues discussed were:
Guarantees for both potential and actual debts and the standards to be met for obtaining waivers of the need to provide guarantees for 100% of the debt;
Special procedures and the transitional arrangements;
AEO requirements; and
This topic took up most of the evening but there was also a short discussion on the CHIEF replacement program (Customs Declaration Service) and on Commercial Samples Relief.
Speaker: Jeremy White on Customs Case Law Update.
Venue: Pinsent Masons, 30 Crown Place, Earl Street, London EC2A 4ES
Jeremy White, CPG Member and our representative on the Tribunal User Group, delivered a lively and fascinating insight into Customs case Law; included in Jeremy’s presentation were examples of the fundamental principles / remedies in relation to recent ECJ Cases, including RTBH.
The Accounts for the year-ended 31 October 2014, plus the Budget for 2014, were presented by Robert Hina. All were adopted at the meeting. Barbara Scott, CPG Chair, was re-elected to Council. Ronnie Bennett and Steven Sandell had been nominated prior to the AGM, and were duly elected to CPG Council to replace Michael Galloway and Gary Charles who both retired from Council at the AGM. Michelle Sloane volunteered to take over the role of CPG Honorary Secretary.
Our CPG Chair, Barbara Scott, presented her comprehensive Report (copy published on CPG web site and in Bulletin 218 to Members), which included grateful thanks to Michael and Gary for their service to CPG as Council Members and presenting them with the honour of life membership.
Other non-AGM Agenda items discussed included: meetings attended by members; new Customs Directorate; CHIEF Replacement Programme and UCC.
Speaker: Lynne Rawlinson, Acting Head of CITEX National Functions (CNF) in HMRC.
Venue: Laytons Solicitors LLP, 2 More London Riverside, London SA1 2AP.
Our speaker this evening was Lynne Rawlinson, Acting Head of CITEX National Functions (CNF) in HMRC. Lynne explained the various functions of CNF which has a staff of 175 people and whose role it is to Promote, Prevent and Respond. The functions are placed in various locations around the UK and they work with the trade through local CITEX assurance offices. There were various discussions about the discord between the work of the processing units, the Units of Expertise and the local assurance officers. Lynne explained some of the service improvements she will be making over the coming 12 months and beyond.
It was a very open discussion and the members present were all very heartened by what Lynne had to say.
There was a general discussion on AEO, which included an update on approvals in France and Italy.
Other matters discussed included the lack of information on the draft Acts for implementation of the UCC, C18 procedures and the removal of goods from warehouse into TA.
The Chair announced that, with regret, Gary Charles would be standing down as Honorary Secretary at the AGM.
To access sumaries of earlier meetings please click here.