2022 customs recap - The key changes from this year

2022 has brought a lot of changes in for customs clearance in the UK. From changes in systems and processes to the introduction of new preference schemes and border initiatives, it’s been a lot for the industry to keep track of.

Here is a recap of some of the biggest changes in customs this year:

The Goods Vehicle Movement Service (GVMS)


GVMS came into effect on January 1st 2022, one year after Brexit. The Goods Vehicle Movement Service was designed to ensure that no vehicles crossed the English channel without the import clearance and the export clearance being completed, which was a problem for HMRC in 2021.

Since the new GVMS procedure, both clearances need to be raised as pre-notifications before the vehicle is allowed to board the ferry. The customs agents on both sides of the border need to send the documents to the haulier (or their agent, like us) so that they can allocate them to a Goods Movement Reference (GMR). The GMR is then used as the inventory for the vehicle, and the clearances are processed once the ferry embarks.

Any holds are flagged during transit, and vehicles will be held on arrival if necessary.

Customs Declaration Service (CDS)


Use of the Customs Declaration Service became mandatory for all import declarations from 1st October 2022. However, due to some unresolved errors in CDS’s infrastructure, some clearances are still being processed on the Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system. HMRC is looking to resolve these as soon as possible so that importers and brokers can solely use CDS.

Export clearances and T1 forms are still raised outside of CDS, but these will also be processed on the system from 1st December 2023. Originally, the deadline for exports was for 30th March 2023, but HMRC made the decision to extend this following the issues with the import migration.

The Developing Countries Trading Scheme (DCTS)


Launched on the 16th August 2022, the Developing Countries Trading Scheme is replacing the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP). The GSP is a preferential agreement that third-countries typically use with the European Union, but the UK are no longer part of the EU.

This new scheme looks to improve upon the GSPs rules for origin and application, and currently covers 37 countries in Africa, 18 in Asia, eight in Oceania, and two in the Americas.

Plastic Packaging Tax (PPT)

Applicable from 1st April 2022, PPT is not part of your border calculation for duty and VAT. Instead, this needs to be declared as part of your accounting in house. The reason for this is that plastic packaging tax is levied against imports and manufacturers of plastic packaging, so the tax declaration for both can be done a part of this process instead of as part of a customs clearance.

The Brexit Freedoms Bill (pending)


As well as the GSP,  there are a lot of other remnants of EU law in the UK. Whenever a universal law is passed in the European Union, every member state has to pass it through their own law as well. The Brexit Freedoms Bill, which entered the courts this year for review and has not yet been passed, will force these EU laws to be assed by UK parliament before the end of 2023.

Happy New Year from Universal Customs Clearance!

As we end 2022, Universal Customs Clearance also come to the end of our second year in business. Having moved offices, attended multiple trade shows, continued to grow our service base, and expanded our team, we are very grateful for a successful year despite the downturn across the industry.
Thank you to all of our customers, suppliers, readers, and friends who continue to support us. We wish you all a fantastic 2023!


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