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Trade sets out customs priorities

[ July 10, 2013   //   ]

Trade members of the Joint Customs Consultative Committee (JCCC) have set out their aspirations for customs and the freight industry over the next few years, in a straw poll carried out by ASM chairman Peter MacSwiney.

Among other measures, they are calling for pilot schemes based on business’s interpretation of the UCC including, for example, temporary storage, centralised clearance, guarantees, traders entry in the records and self-assessment.

But there need to be proper processes around these pilots with a clear understanding of what it aims to prove with a consultative process to give regular reviews of progress.

It is also vital that HMRC’s own senior personnel are involved from the outset and take an active role. They must be properly resourced by HMRC and based on genuine trade desires rather than any perceived legal position.

They should concentrate more on actual compliance rather than simple application of the law – the two are not always the same thing.

The trade would also like HMRC to take a more proactive approach with Brussels. Rather than ask the Commission what something means or how it sees it operating – for example, the UCC – UK Customs should show the Commission its own interpretation and how it will plans to implement it. There is also a concern that the trade will be told: ‘The law says…’ without quoting the relevant act, chapter or article etc. against which that statement is made.

It has been suggested that anything cited by HMRC that is not reinforced by the relevant act (or part within it) and which cannot therefore be checked and verified, should as a matter of principal be challenged in future.

There are also calls to re-establish the ITFC meetings between HMRC, Defra and the Border Force with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills as happened under the Sitpro trade simplification body wound up by the Government about three years ago.

The trade also called for the replacement for Customs’ ‘Chief’ computer to be properly funded and implemented and that there should be an effective electronic call and data management system.

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