On 1st January 2022, the UK government began implementing the first set of customs rules for imports of goods coming from the EU. The Public Accounts Committee of the UK Parliament has published a report on the state of implementation of the new customs regime and the likely effects on imports and exports between the UK and the EU. There are a number of problems, with SMEs experiencing the greatest inconvenience and substantial increased costs.
For the purpose of understanding the current commercial relations between the EU and the UK, it is necessary to recall that the latter is no longer part of the EU since 31st January 2020 as a direct consequence of the referendum held on 23rd June 2016. Moreover, as of 31st December 2020, the so-called “transition period” ended. During this phase, the UK, although no longer a member State, was allowed to remain within the European single market.
At present, the UK and the EU are no more than trading partners and their trade relations are regulated by the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TAC).
Regarding the implementation of the new customs rules, the UK government has set out the following timetable: