Summary of the current situation, particularly in respect of Customs Procedures.

On 24 July 2019, Boris Johnson became the UK’s Prime Minister, vowing to leave the European Union by 1st October 2019 with or without a deal.


  1. The current “Deal” which is causing problems in Parliament is only a Withdrawal Agreement and not a ‘Deal’. If this WA or any other WA is agreed by Parliament, a transition phase will commence until December 2020, but can be extended by up to another 2 years. During this phase, a DEAL will be agreed that covers, amongst many issues, what the Customs and Documentary Procedures will be post transition. Therefore, during this transition phase NOTHING will change.
  2. As it stands, no WA was passed by Parliament before the European Elections on 23rd May, therefore the EU agreed that the UK will remain a member of the EU until October 31st. It will then leave the EU without a deal, unless Article 50 has been revoked, or some deal agreed and ratified by UK Parliament. The EU have not ruled out extending the 1st October deadline.
  3. If the UK decides to leave without a deal (WA), then all existing Customs Procedures and Documents will revert to relevant WTO Trade related requirements. However, both the UK and EU are putting in place transitional customs arrangements for RO/RO freight to ease the potential problems which will result.


The House of Commons has 650 MP’s of which over 400 have consistently voted to oppose a No Deal Brexit. As a result of this, the chances of option 3 happening have been remote. However, Boris Johnson has not ruled our proroguing Parliament, which in theory would mean that MP’s would be unable to block a No Deal Brexit. If this seemed likely, it is almost certain that a vote of no confidence in the government would be tabled which may succeed and stop the proroguing.

Finally, if Option 1 happens, i.e. a WA and transition phase leading to a Deal, it is likely that frictionless trade would be agreed and the necessary technology implemented in time for the actual changes that need to occur after December 2020.

So, to summarise; we believe there will be no change until December 2020. PSL are perfectly placed, with both deep Customs Regulatory expertise, and a 24hr operation in Dover, covering all ports electronically, to deal with any customer requirements both in the interim period and after any agreed changes are introduced.

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PSL are at the forefront of what is being decided in respect of Customs Procedures and Documentation in the result of a Deal or No-Deal agreement. Our Dover Office Director, Richard Catt is regularly invited by HMRC and various Government Departments to attend meetings, and provide input on behalf of the Dover Port Users Group, therefore will have an immediate understanding of what changes will be required from Traders when decisions have been made.

PSL run a 24hr, 7 Day per week operation at the Port of Dover, (also covering other Ports electronically) providing the following Documentation Requirements:

  • Import UK Customs clearance documentation
  • Export UK Customs clearance documentation
  • Intrastat declarations
  • All Customs regimes i.e. Home use, CT, IPR, OPR, TI, Excise, Bond, CFSP, etc.
  • Preference arrangements (EUR / ATR) and others

Note: PSL are AEO approved – Certificate Nr. AEOC/00064/14

When a Withdrawal Agreement has been passed, we will be able to consult with your team to provide guidance and expertise on the best way to meet the requirements.

We strongly believe that a No-Deal exit from the EU will not happen.

IF it does, and IF there is an immediate requirement for additional documentation, we already have the staff, knowledge and systems in place to provide a rapid response.

If you would like to discuss your needs now or in the future please contact us:

Richard Catt – Director (Customs Procedures): 01304 203443

Richard Gibbs – Commercial Director: 01455 234567