ACITA National Meeting Minutes March 21st

Des Hiscock, Director General, welcomed members to the meeting and explained that ACITA had been invited to speak

 to some “think tanks” regarding Brexit.  Some of the Committee had spoken to DExEU at Downing Street and HM Treasury.  The agreement that had been announced from the Prime Minister on Monday was good but some matters were still causing trade worries.  If any members wished to become involved please speak to a Committee member.  Information would now be published on the website.

Ian Wilkins, HMRC – Head of Business Transformation – CDS Tariffs  

Ian explained that the Declaration rules come into effect in July.   

           Ian Wilkins - HMRC

CDS Volume 3 for Imports had been issued and the department would like any comments by 13 April. The associated documents can be found on the links below:

He said that some companies may not be happy with some items but they can’t be re-visited within 5 years of issue.  The UCC today will be a lot different to what there was before however HMRC will produce a “dummies guide” to cover the differences.  They will also work closely with BIFA and all trade members.

The data elements have been divided into 8 categories which will form the tariff. 

4 digits will form the first part of the code + 99 other numbers to choose from, total of 7 digits.  It is the same as before but listed in a different way.  Ian urged people to view.  National codes will be retained as far as possible, there is still some work to do on export codes.  There are 999 declarations which can be used and it should make life easier.

There are 6 different datasets, showing the types of procedures – H1, H2, H3, H4, H6 and I1.  The people writing these sit with those people implementing and therefore it should all be seamless!

The Y&Z declarations go live in July and A-K will come later.

Ian advised members to go through the Government Gateway to get onto the CDS System.  If any company would like further information, the Stakeholder Team will come out and speak to you.  Contact the Secretariat to be put in touch with the Stakeholder Team.

Laura Goldthorpe, DIT, Trade Disputes and Market Access Team (TDMA) Trade Disputes and Market Access Barriers -

   Laura Goldthorpe - DIT

Laura  explained that they had launched a new on-line service.  She would not be able to answer all questions as a lot of information at the moment is confidential.

They are currently trying to agree negotiations to leave Brexit by the end of October 2018. Quite a lot of information is on website.

The department has 1400 overseas staff employing 9 Trade Commissioners to assist.  New FTA’s are currently in negotiation and the hope is to have up to 218 in 2018.  There are currently around 40 FTA’s which will cease when we exit the EU.

The TDMA settle disputes through consultation where possible, they are the most frequently used dispute system in the world.  The new digital service will allow people to report barriers  as well as good and bad experiences etc.  They also help countries to know where to export their goods.  Should members require help  you can email Laura:

  • Currently anti-dumping is being looked at and the team is running a consultation, each case will be considered
  • The market access database is public and will be replaced by the on-line service
  • More information on future tariffs can be obtained by emailing Laura at
  1. Shanker Singham and Victoria Hewson, Institute of Economic Affairs – Brexit and UK Trade Policy

          Shanker Singham - IEA

  • Shanker Singham spoke about the way the UK can build an independent trade policy, acting unilaterally in the domestic economy, bilaterally, including in the very important agreement with the EU and with other key partners like the US, plurilaterally with groups of countries like the Transpacific Partnership, and multilaterally in the WTO.  Progress in the WTO has stalled in recent years, especially in services, which is the area where the UK is strongest. The UK has an opportunity to act independently in the WTO to influence this agenda.
  • To be able to succeed in this it is important that the relationship with the EU is managed so that we are able to negotiate on our tariffs and regulations, which is what modern free trade agreements focus on to address non-tariff barriers.

     Victoria Hewson - IEA

  • Victoria Hewson then spoke about the work that she and Shanker have done with the ACITA committee in producing recommendations for HMRC to prepare for leaving the EU.  Focusing on steps that are available to the UK government within the framework of the Union Customs Code and would be beneficial whatever the outcome of negotiations with the EU.  The aim of the paper is also to provide technical information to MPs and media, and educate them to ask the right questions of government in the important debate on trade and customs policy.  The paper is now complete and will be available to members soon.

They will push the article into the media and have already had an article published in The Times.  Victoria urged members to push their local MPs to ask the right questions in The House.

  • Inward Processing/Storage/Relief have been raised with Steve Baker who has an appetite to find solutions. Members were asked to forward  comments as soon as possible.
  • The audience is MPs and journalists.  Des Hiscock (DH) urged the members to put in their broad ideas and to feedback via the secretariat who can pass on to the Committee

A Question and Answer session followed:

Q       How is ACITA getting their ideas from the audience back to the Government?

DH     Some of this has already happened quickly but we will send out requests for information via the website. Members were urged  to check they are set up to receive the appropriate information and if they have problems contact the secretariat

Q       In 10 years UK ought to get EU trade with many other countries?

VH     There is an on-going deal with India re. agriculture.  Legal, financial and educational services are also set up abroad

DH     A suggestion was made to set up a Q and A sheet on the website for members to fill in and the SEC will pass to the Committee each week

Aaron Dunne, HMRC – EU Exit Policy & Legislation EU Exit and Customs Update

Aaron Dunne - HMRC

 Aaron referred to the article that had been published in the Times.  He stated that the P.M. had set out guidelines last January when there was a White Paper outlining  the exit.  This was followed by a Customs Bill White Paper.

There are approximately 130,000 companies in the UK who have never done Customs Declarations.  Customs will be recruiting more staff to assist these companies once they understand the scenarios/criteria.



Stella Jarvis, HMRC – CDS Progress CDS Update and Roadmap

Stella Jarvis - HMRC

  • Stella mentioned that the CPC Tariffs were issued over the last few days.  If anyone wishes to receive please contact SEC and they can be sent and put on the website
  • It is scheduled to move from CHIEF over to CDS in August 2018.  Stella pointed out that CDS has nothing to do with Brexit it was being changed anyway
  • Currently trade test 3 is out with approximately 358 entries – 25% trial.  Companies can try this out. 
  • Test 4 opens in May with full functionality in June
  • There will be dual running i.e. if entries are already entered under CHIEF  they will complete under CHIEF but any new entries will be entered under CDS
  • If anyone requires a new EORI number it will be issued under the old system, taking a few days NOT the new system which will take hours  DExEU will give the “go” when they are ready to change over
  • AEO recognition status is still required in Europe, this is still being negotiated
  • Members should send questions direct to

Jeremy White - Pump Court Chambers

Jeremy White, Barrister, Pump Court Tax Chambers – Transfer Pricing and Customs Valuation Transfer Pricing Case Study

 Jeremy briefly spoke about Transfer Pricing and Customs Valuation illustrated by facts and procedures around the Hamamatsu case.





Panel Discussion

Speakers & Panel

The panel discussion, panellists listed below, was held after the main business:

  • Des Hiscock – ACITA Director General
  • Ian Wilkins – HMRC
  • Shanker Singham and Victoria Hewson
  • Aaron Dunne – HMRC
  • Stella Jarvis – HMRC
  • Jeremy White - Barrister

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