One of the UK’s leading customs agents has warned that hundreds of businesses could be banned from importing unless they urgently switch to a new Government computer system.
ChamberCustoms, which is owned by the British Chambers of Commerce, has been working with thousands of firms to get them ready for the change.
HMRC’s Customs Handling Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system will be replaced by the Customs Declaration Service (CDS) on October 1 for companies importing goods from abroad.
HMRC have announced a one-month extension so that traders that will not be ready to switch to CDS Import in time will still be able to make import declarations on CHIEF until 31st October.
Jane Rose, Head of International Trade at Essex Chambers of Commerce, said:
“The switch over from CHIEF to CDS, has been talked about for quite some time now. Our ChamberCustoms team here in Essex began using the new system with our customers six months ago and have been granted the extension meaning that those of our customers who are not yet fully registered for CDS will still be able to make import declarations on CHIEF until the end of the new deadline.
“The ChamberCustoms network has reported that they are regularly hearing from traders who remain frustrated by difficulties in just completing their registration. Meaning many intermediaries and businesses are still not ready!
“A month extension will not be enough, intermediaries that have only recently had access to the CDS training system need more time to embed training, CDS is very different and more complex than CHIEF. If businesses are shut out of CHIEF before they are ready then they will find themselves unable to import at all.
“With all the cost pressures and supply chain disruption businesses have been facing it is not surprising that some have yet to act”
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