Customs Administration (Post-Brexit)

AEO and Trusted Traders

Businesses and persons may appoint and use a customs agent to act on his behalf. A direct agent acts in the name of the importer. An indirect agent acts in his own name. The appointment of an agent must be notified to HMRC in accordance with HMRC regulations.

There is provision for recognition of authorised economic operators equivalent to the current status as recognised under EU law. The AEO is an internationally recognized designation/quality mark in relation to standards of operation and compliance on the part of trusted traders. AEO status facilitates quicker access in some simplified customs procedures and to fast-tracking shipments through customs procedures in many cases. The legislation allows HMRC to make regulations specifying the simplifications that may be available to AEOs. It specifies conditions for admission to AEO status.

There are provisions for certification, approvals and authorisations for the purpose of the customs system. For example, regulations can be made by approval of a customs warehouse. Standards can be prescribed. The procedure for application and the applicable requirements (e.g. security) may be provided for.


HMRC may establish a system of giving rulings by public notice to determine the correct tariff code and origin. These will be binding tariff information and binding origin information decisions, similar to those that apply under the current  EU systems. The form of application and the procedure or determination may be specified. The period of validity may be provided for.

There is provision for the disclosure and exchange of information by HMRC with other parties for the enforcement of other laws. The legislation sets out the type of information that can be disclosed and shared, its purpose and what can be done with it. HMRC is subject generally to the data protection legislation.

HMRC may charge fees under regulations for the exercise of its functions in connection with import duties. The power to make regulations charging fee may be exercised only if it is consistent for the international agreements and it is fair and reasonable for the charge to be made.

The legislation places a requirement on persons, departments and bodies, exercising functions under the legislation to comply with the UK’s international obligations.

Facilitating Customs Partnerships

The legislation gives enabling power to the UK to effect a customs union arrangement with other territories. This is a union in which no tariffs on goods moving between the territories applies and which applies substantially the same rules for charging import duty when goods are imported from outside either (or all constituent) territory. This could facilitate arrangements with Crown dependencies or an interim customs arrangement with the European Union.

Regulations may be made for the purpose of implementing a customs union, including the modification of provisions made by the Act so that the legislative framework for customs are aligned between the UK and the territory with which it is in a customs union.


Domestic goods are goods wholly obtained in the United Kingdom and those which have been imported into the United Kingdom and undergone a relevant customs procedure and have been discharged from that procedure.

Goods cease to be domestic goods on export from the UK. HMRC may specify circumstances in which goods retain their domestic status, while they have been temporarily removed from the United Kingdom.

Good are presumed to be domestic goods until the contrary is shown. This presumption may be reversed for certain products in certain circumstances under Treasury powers. This may happen, for example, in relation to excise controls.

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