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Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Bill introduced in Parliament

The Bill will lay the foundations for the UK’s standalone customs regime.

The Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Bill, previously known as the Customs Bill, was published yesterday. As we leave the EU, the Bill will help ensure that goods can move smoothly and safely in and out of the UK, and that everyone pays the right tax.

The Bill will allow the UK to set and collect its own duty on goods coming into the country and will allow the government to implement different outcomes of the EU negotiations, including an implementation period.

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond said:

Britain is a great trading nation and innovative UK businesses are central to the success of our economy. This Bill represents the first step in setting up an independent UK customs regime and reaffirms our commitment to deliver a smooth transition for businesses as we leave the EU.

The precise nature of the UK’s future customs relationship with the EU will be the subject of negotiations, but the Bill will allow the government to:

  • charge and vary customs duty on goods
  • specify which goods are subject to what duty
  • set preferential or additional duties in certain circumstances – for example:
    • to secure the benefits of global free trade while protecting domestic industries, providing necessary and proportionate safeguards against unfair trade
    • to support developing countries by offering preferential treatment
  • ensure that VAT and excise legislation function effectively upon EU exit

Other trade provisions are included in the Trade Bill, which was introduced to Parliament on November 7th.

International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox said:

Success in trade and investment is vital for our national prosperity, and creating a standalone UK trade policy and customs regime will provide certainty to UK businesses and global trading partners.

As we leave the European Union, the Trade and Taxation Bills will help us seize this unprecedented opportunity to boost British businesses and support a global trade system that works for the UK.

The Bill, first announced in the Queen’s Speech, follows the publication of the White Paper Legislating for the UK’s future customs, VAT and excise regimes in October, which set out the key objectives of the legislation.

Businesses across the UK have a vitally important role to play in helping shape the UK’s future customs regime. Since the referendum, ministers and officials have met with over 250 organisations to discuss customs, VAT, and excise, and the government will continue to work with them to ensure we have an effective systems that works for them.


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