Exporting businesses given more time to switch to new customs software

Exporting businesses given more time to switch to new customs software
Dan Martin
Dan MartinDan Martin Content & Events

Posted: Fri 25th Aug 2023

The government has delayed the deadline for most businesses to start using a new system for managing exports.

Customs Declaration Service (CDS) is replacing the current Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) service.

The new software, which is already being used for imports, was originally due to come into force in March but its introduction was then delayed until 30 November.

The government has now announced a new "phased approach" with "selected high-volume" exporters still needing to switch by 30 November, and all other businesses needing to move to CDS for exports by 30 March 2024.

HM Revenue & Customs said it had made the change "after listening to feedback from industry".

Anna Doherty, senior trade and customs specialist at the Institute of Export and International Trade, commented:

"The new timeline gives government and businesses breathing space to properly prepare for the CDS migration as issues remain with the new system, including functionalities around creating declarations for inventory-linked locations.

"Exporters which use services of multiple agents for their customs declarations may also find themselves in a position where they have a mix of CHIEF and CDS entries, similarly as we experienced with the roll out of CDS for imports."

The CDS announcement follows delays to other international trade changes.

The Financial Times reported that the introduction of new rules imposing extra checks on chilled and fresh food being imported into the UK from the European Union will be postponed for the fifth time.

In April this year, the government said they would be phased in from 31 October 2023, with further changes next year. It is now believed that the rules won't start to come into force into January 2024.

The government has also announced that the UK will continue to use the European Union's CE product safety mark with an indefinite delay to the introduction of its planned post-Brexit UKCA replacement.


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Dan Martin
Dan MartinDan Martin Content & Events
I'm a freelance journalist and event host who helps small businesses and the organisations that support them. I'm also Enterprise Nation's news reporter and Bristol Local Leader. I have 20 years of experience as a small business journalist having interviewed hundreds of entrepreneurs from famous names like Sir Richard Branson and Deborah Meaden to the founders behind brand new start-ups. I've worked for a range of leading small business publications and support groups, most recently as head of content at Enterprise Nation where I was responsible for the prolific output of content on the company's blog and social media. I now freelance for Enterprise Nation as the website's news reporter and as the host of the Small Business sessions podcast. I'm based in Bristol where I run and host regular events with the local small business community in my role as Enterprise Nation's Local Leader for Bristol. I also have strong connections with other major business organisations in the south west region. In total, I've hosted over 100 events including conferences with an audience of hundreds for international brands like Xero and Facebook and live web chats from inside 10 Downing Street. With my partner, I co-run Lifestyle District, a lifestyle blog focused on culture, art, theatre and photography.

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