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Brexit reality begins to bite

[ January 11, 2021   //   ]

Problems with cross-Channel shipments in the first few days since Brexit, including week, parcel operator DPD’s temporary suspension of deliveries to the EU, are just the “tip of the iceberg”, according eCommerce trade expert Hurricane Commerce.

Hurricane says that the issues caused by lack of complete and valid customs data and VAT now being payable on low value goods into the UK will cause severe challenges over the coming days and weeks.

Last week, DPD halted parcel deliveries to the EU due to lack of data, stating that 20% of items had incorrect or incomplete information and  UK online retailers, including Fortnum & Mason, have temporarily stopped taking orders from EU countries due to the extra customs paperwork now needed.

And some EU retailers have also ceased taking UK orders following the January 1 change making overseas suppliers who send parcels containing goods valued at £135 or less to the UK responsible for paying any import VAT due.

Another major hurdle resulting from the Brexit trade deal concerns ‘rules of origin’ with the threat of tariffs due if goods do not meet the complex requirements or are not wholly made in either the UK or EU.

Hurricane’s chief content and compliance officer, Martin Palmer, said: “Online merchants and marketplaces, postal operators and carriers are starting to see the reality of Brexit and the ending of VAT exemption on low value goods by the UK Government.

“With the EU also removing the low value VAT threshold in July, the compliance pressures on all parts of the cross-border supply chain are set to intensify even further with similar issues to be experienced in all EU countries to those current being experienced in the UK.

“The first week and a half since Brexit is just the tip of the iceberg.”

He added: “We predicted for the last six months of 2020 that many businesses were going to face serious challenges post January 1, while others did their planning and put the best possible systems in place.

“There is simply no escape from the need for complete and valid customs clearance data including product descriptions, HS6 codes, shipper and consignee details and country of origin.

“Retailers which offer Delivered Duty Paid (DDP) give themselves the best chance of keeping their customers happy by avoiding the doorstep shock of unexpected fees for customs duties and import taxes.”

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