In a recent series of webinars, C4T focused on the various opportunities afforded by the use of Customs Special Procedures (SP) in many examples of manufacturing and value-added international supply chains.
Of course, since the UK left the Single Market, the relevance of British companies using SP within their customs declarations has increased to the tune of 27 additional trading partner countries. Gone are the days of seamless, customs-free trade between the UK and the EU. This is particularly significant for a number of reasons. The EU bloc is the biggest individual global trading partner for the UK, accounting for some 50% of the UK’s international trade. Moreover, its close proximity and the resulting speed and efficiency of freight transport services have for more than 30 years increasingly facilitated many integrated inbound and outbound value-added, processing and sub-manufacturing supply chains for a very large number of businesses. These are in perfect scope of SP and the inherent cost savings which can be achieved.
Against this backdrop, C4T has seen a big increase in post-Brexit enquiries over the past year or so from companies looking to take advantage of the potential cost savings offered by SP.
Some of the most commonly used components of SP are:
- Inward Processing, whereby raw materials imported for manufacturing, processing or repair are not subject to duties
- Customs Warehousing, which exempts goods from duties and taxes until they leave the warehouse
- Outward Processing, under ‘Returned Goods Relief’ whereby goods temporarily exported for manufacturing, process or repair are not subject to duties
By way of example, polling during the webinars revealed that amongst the attendees, 53 % identified Returned Goods Relief as an important benefit, and 30% said that they’re investigating it.
“Given the complexity of many businesses’ supply chains, with Europe and the rest of the world, and in context of the well-publicised upward pressures in operational supply chain costs, it’s become very important for organisations to ensure that they’re avoiding unnecessary duty payments,” says Sam Blakeman, C4T’s Product Marketing Manager.
“We’ve been happy to assist clients with the auditing of their supply chains to identify the SP opportunities where they exist, and in many cases to support them in their management of the applicable SP regimes using our cloud-based customs software tool, CAS.”
There have traditionally been barriers to companies implementing SP into their customs strategy. A lack of understanding within customs departments as to how SPs work is a case in point. Furthermore, companies can sometimes question whether they can manage, with full compliance, the various control tasks and obligations which come with the territory.
These include such things as obtaining the necessary authorisations and guarantees, administering and controlling stock levels and overseeing all aspects of discharge periods and issuing Bills of Discharge when appropriate.
Blakeman addresses these concerns and concludes:
“We’re happy that through a combination of our highly consultative approach and the capabilities and functionalities of our CAS software platform, we are able to support our customers in their SP journey and help them to realise the duty cost savings that they are looking for in as pain-free a way as possible.”