Here is a summary of some of the key news items and developments over the last month. Please note this is not intended to be exhaustive, nor is it intended to be used as definitive advice upon which you may rely in making decisions of importance to your business. If you would like more detail about any item, please call The Customs Practice on +44 (0) 1635 521624, or email email@example.com
Anti-dumping duties (ADD)
Ceramic tableware from China: the investigation into alleged dumping is continuing. We expect to have news by mid-October on whether provisional anti-dumping duty will be imposed by its target date of 16 November.
Aluminium Foil from China: provisional ADD has now been imposed on aluminium foil from China, ranging from 13% to 35.4%. Importers may wish to consider whether this additional cost might be mitigated – give us a call, we have some ideas.
Bicycles from China: an investigation has been initiated into possible circumvention of ADD on Chinese bicycles, consigned from Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Tunisia. During the investigation, shipments from these countries are subject to registration so that if the investigation concludes that circumvention of anti-dumping measures has taken place, the Commission can collect appropriate levels of ADD.
Organic coated steel products from China: provisional ADD has been imposed on a range of flat-rolled coated steel products, in Chapter 72. ADD rates range from 13.2% to 57.8%, which represents a significant increase in cost for importers of these products.
There are also continuing investigations into Chinese manufacturers of solar panels and telecommunications products, as well as US investigations into Chinese manufacturers of automotive parts.
UK Customs U-turn on IPR drawback
Drawback is a version of Inward Processing Relief whereby imported goods are declared to IPR with a simultaneous declaration to free circulation. In this way, customs duty is paid at time of import, then is reclaimed following export of compensating products, subject to the conditions of the processor’s authorisation.
Over the past couple of years, UK Customs have refused new applications for IPR drawback, on the basis that drawback was not envisaged by the Modernised Customs Code, even though the MCC had not been enacted. Now, the MCC is to be redrafted as the Union Customs Code, and could take several years before it can be a) finalised and then b) enacted by its Implementing Regulation. This means that the original Customs Code and its Implementing Regulation remain in force – this includes provision for IPR drawback. Consequently, Customs have advised that they will accept new applications for drawback, and extend current authorisations up to 31 December 2014. This deadline may be extended depending on progress towards implementation of the UCC.
We would like to hear from any businesses which have had applications or renewals for IPR drawback rejected, or who simply would like to know more about whether IPR drawback could benefit them.
Ex-works sales for export
Customs have issued clarification - CIP (12)47, that where goods are sold to a non-EU buyer for export under ex-works terms,
- an agent making the export declaration must do so under indirect representation, and
- the declared consignor (box2) must be the EU contracting party, with the non EU buyer being shown in box 44.
There are some exceptions – in the UK an instructed agent can make an export declaration under direct representation, but this must be authorised in writing by the UK seller. Also, care is needed to ensure any export declarations comply with the requirements of, for example, inward processing relief.
If you have regular export shipments under ex-works terms, we can help to ensure your related processes are compliant with customs requirements, and that any agents used are instructed appropriately.
Duty deferment guarantees
For those who have existing deferment guarantees, when was the last time you looked at whether they are efficient and appropriate for your business? We can review their efficiency and, in many cases can source an alternative, cheaper guarantee solution.
Unable to obtain a bank guarantee? Whatever the obstacle preventing you from obtaining a bank guarantee – give us a call. We may be able to help you get around the obstacle and then you can start reaping the benefits of a duty deferment account.
Compliance checking service
Do you have the time to undertake post-entry checks on the accuracy of your customs declarations? Most importers don’t have the resource to do this, and consequently the first time any checks are undertaken are during a Customs audit. This can (and does!) often result in an unexpected demand for underpaid customs duty, going back up to 3 years. Regular compliance checks of import entries not only give some comfort that declarations have been correct, but they also enable timely corrections where necessary, which helps to ensure that duty has not been underdeclared, or overdeclared. If you don’t have the resource to carry out these checks, then please ask about our compliance checking service.
A recent success story. The Customs Practice was approached by a business which had been found to be using rebated fuel (red diesel) in two of its vehicles. Customs issued a demand to the business for almost £22,000, plus penalties. After detailed analysis of the business records, we were able to secure a reduction of the demand to just over £300, and withdrawal of the penalties.
The message here is that if your business receives a demand from Customs, please don’t assume that it cannot be successfully challenged. We are here to help.