Brexit: Trader Support Service goes live!

The background

Back in August, the Government published guidance on moving goods under the Northern Ireland Protocol. Within this guidance, it introduced us to the new “Trader Support Service” (TSS). The idea is this service takes on the burden of new customs controls and processes from businesses moving goods into Northern Ireland from Great Britain and the rest of the world at no cost.

At the time the Government planned to have the service operational by the end of September.

It’s live!

Having announced just 10 days previously that a consortium led by Fujitsu had been awarded a two-year contract to deliver the service, the TSS went live on 28th September.

HMRC has written to thousands of VAT-registered businesses in Northern Ireland to update them on the new trading arrangements and signpost them to the new service. With less than 100 days to go until the end of the transition period, businesses are advised to sign up for the TSS as soon as possible if they move goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

A recruitment campaign is now underway for a range of positions in order to deliver the service.

The detail

As set out when the service was announced in August, it will help businesses moving goods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland, and businesses moving goods from the rest of the world into Northern Ireland.

When moving goods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland there will be new digital import declarations, and digital safety and security information requirements.

The TSS takes away the need for businesses to engage directly with these new processes and will do so at no cost to businesses. It also provides businesses with free access to a programme of training courses from the Northern Ireland Customs & Trade Academy.

The TSS is also available for businesses importing goods to Northern Ireland from the rest of the world. There may be additional burdens in the operation of defining goods ‘at risk’ of moving into the Republic of Ireland, and therefore being subject to EU tariffs. More information on this will become available following a decision on ‘at-risk goods’ in the UK-EU Joint Committee discussions.  These discussions are ongoing but we are unsure of when we can expect a decision to be communicated.

What businesses and traders require next is an updated version of the border operating model, with more details on how goods will move between NI and GB so that plans can be put in place for January 2021.

More information

More information is available in the links throughout this blog. Members can also access the recent ADS-run webinar where EY experts discussed the Northern Ireland Protocol and how it will affect businesses.