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What are Customs Declarations and Why Do You Need Them?

Updated: Mar 11



According to the European Commission, “a Customs Declaration is an official document that lists and gives details of goods that are being imported or exported.” Before Brexit, declarations only needed to be completed for transactions outside of the EU, however, despite having signed a Foreign Trade Agreement, Customs Declarations are now a new requirement when exporting to and importing from the EU.


As a result, the number of Customs Declarations processed in the UK has been increasing. It is forecasted that the increase will be from 50 million annually to nearly 270 million in the future, according to the National Audit Office.


There are two options to get your Customs Declarations completed:


  • In-House – You can do your own Customs Declarations either using the Export National System or purchasing specialised customs software. However, you must ensure that your staff is fully knowledgeable to be able to do this accurately and efficiently.


  • Through a customs intermediary – A customs intermediary can be a freight forwarder, a fast parcel operator or a customs agent/broker such as the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce. These intermediaries can act either directly or indirectly on your behalf. However, as a trader you are always responsible for providing full and correct information, and bear liability for any errors.


It is important for companies to be knowledgeable in Customs Declarations to ensure compliance. In order to do this, you may wish to train your staff on a Customs Declarations training course or other relevant courses such as Incoterms, export procedures, and Rules of Origin. HMRC has launched a flexible training grant of up to £1,000, on a first come first served basis, which is open to applications until the 31st of January 2021. For more information on how to apply, please click here.


Finally, for more information on the Chamber’s Customs Declaration’s service please click here.

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