The new rules of origin requirements for trading with the EU are causing problems for UK businesses.
Initial government messaging suggested that all traders needed to do was to fill in a form and a piece of software. However, it seems the reality is much more complicated.
Independent trade and customs expert, Anna Jerzewska, recently told the UK House of Lords Brexit sub-committee that rules of origin were a far more serious issue. She noted that every trade deal involved “complex” rules of origin requirements and suggested they had not been adequately considered in the Brexit strategy.
“In the first five weeks of the year, I’ve seen an incredible number of questions from those struggling with rules of origin,” she said.
Ms Jerzewska said that it was not the case that traders had been left without guidance but that the guidance provided was “not fit for purpose” for business.
Director general of the Automated Customs and International Trade Association, Des Hiscock, echoed these thoughts. He said the UK government needed to provide a “proper education” on what is required under the EU trade deal.
“The potential sanctions for misinterpreting rules of origin and getting it wrong is significant, and government has a duty to tell it like it is”
It seems that the government guidance needs to be clarified for the business sector, as it does not seem to answer the specific queries being raised.
Hopefully, the rules of origin guidelines will be explained more clearly in the weeks to come, making it easier for UK businesses to keep within the rules.