Safety & Security


2. Purpose of the instrument

2.1 This instrument forms part of legislation to be made under the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 to ensure that, in the event of the United Kingdom (UK) leaving the European Union (EU) without a negotiated deal, the UK has a customssafety and security regime in place before the date of departure.


What did any relevant EU law do before exit day?
2.2 EU law introduced a Customs safety and security policy across the European security zone. It protects the EU against potential threats as terrorism and the trade from illicit goods such as guns and drugs. The policy is designed for information on goods to be shared and risk assessed before they arrive in or leave the EU. This is to facilitate the movement of legitimate trade into or out of the EU.

Why is it being changed?

2.3 The European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 provides that direct EU legislation forms part of the UK domestic law. New legislation is required to remedy deficiencies in the EU law to ensure the UK continues to operate a robust safety and security system and meets its international obligations post EU-Exit.

What will it now do?

2.4 The instrument removes or replaces references, phrases, processes and terms that will be inoperable in a no deal scenario. It will allow the UK to continue to operate a robust safety and security regime and meet its international obligations. It will also ensure the Authorised Economic Operator (AEO)  programme, which provides the security of international supply chains, is maintained.

2.5 The UK Government is committed to avoiding a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland and will do everything in its power to ensure that no new physical infrastructure is introduced at the land border in the event of no deal. The amendments to the retained EU law contained in this instrument will not have effect in relation to trade in goods between Ireland and Northern Ireland. Further details on the arrangements for trade between Northern Ireland and Ireland will be published as
soon as possible.

4. Extent and Territorial Application

4.1 The territorial extent of this instrument is the United Kingdom.
4.2 The territorial application of this instrument is the United Kingdom.

6. Legislative Context

6.1 Safety and security currently sits within the Union Customs Code Regulation (EU) No. 952/2013. Section 3 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (EUWA) provides that direct legislation forms part of the UK domestic law as it stands on exit day. Schedule 7 paragraph 1 of the Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Act 2018 disapplies any direct EU legislation which became UK domestic law pursuant to section 3 of EUWA, so far as it imposes or applies in relation to any EU customs duty. As safety and security provisions do not impose or apply in relation to any EU customs duty, those provision continue to have effect as retained law.

6.2 However, amendments are required that replace references and terminology that will be inoperable in a no deal scenario. For example ‘Customs Authority’ will be replaced with ‘HM Revenue and Customs’. This will allow the United Kingdom to maintain a safety and security regime that replicates the European Union Customs Code.

6.3 Section 8(1) of European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 contains a power to make secondary legislation in order for these deficiencies in direct EU legislation to be remedied. For example, it enables amendments to terminology that is no longer applicable. This instrument introduces legislation to ensure the UK maintains a functioning safety and security regime post EU-Exit and meets its international obligations.

7. Policy background

What is being done and why?

7.1 The European Union introduced a safety and security policy across Europe, governed by the Union Custom Code (UCC) legislation. The movement of goods such as food produce and clothing  consignments from countries outside the EU to Europe require safety and security declarations. Goods moving from the EU to non EU nations also require a declaration. In a no deal scenario the UK will be regarded as a non EU nation and UK exporters to Europe and other nations will have to complete safety and security declarations. Goods imported to the UK from the EU and other nations will also carry a safety and security declaration. The information on the declaration can then be risk analysed by our border agencies to monitor what goods are coming across the UK border and prevent illegal goods from entering.

7.2 The EU safety and security policy also introduced the Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) programme. This instrument will replace terminology that will enable the (AEO) programme to continue to operate after the UK departure date. For example ‘Customs territory of the Union’ will be replaced with ‘United Kingdom’. This instrument will ensure the UK has a robust (AEO) system in place that replicates the Union Customs Code. In order to receive (AEO) status, traders must complete an application process. Once considered reliable and compliant in their customs operations and they meet certain criteria, they are issued with an AEO authorisation by the customs authority. In the United Kingdom, this is HM Revenue and Customs. One of the benefits of AEO authorisation is faster custom control clearances and operating within secure supply chains in line with World Customs Organisation
requirements. Within the safety and security regime HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) can impose a penalty for failure to notify any changes that affect AEO status.

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