Many NON-UK companies have been busy getting in place and in accordance with the new rules in continuation of UK’s withdrawal from the EU. We have seen mandatory DDP delivery when selling to consumers under £ 135. Furthermore, NON-UK companies have commercially oriented themselves towards the British market (delivering DDP also to the BtB segment). As a consequence thereof, many NON-UK companies have been registered in the UK either with a legal entity (Ltd) or with a local VAT number without a UK establishment.

With these registrations either as a Ltd or VAT number in the UK challenges arise when importing goods. Customs clearance is usually carried out by the freight forwarders British company or British customs agent and the relation to the freight forwarder / customs agent becomes very important.

Is your freight forwarder or customs agent a direct or indirect representative?

The direct representative shall clear the goods on behalf of the importer / company and in its name. It is thus the importer / company that is fully responsible for compliance, audit trail and has the full financial obligation in relation to the customs clearance of goods. If an error is made in the customs clearance the responsibility and consequence of this will be imposed on the importer / company.

The indirect representative clears the goods on behalf of the importer / company but in his own name. This means that customs clearance takes place in the name of the importer, but it is the freight forwarder / customs agent who is fully responsible for compliance and audit trail. The indirect representative shall also be jointly and severally liable with the importer for all customs obligations. If an error is made, the responsibility and consequence of this will be imposed on the importer / company & the customs agent.

In addition to this distinction between direct and indirect representation, there are also special rules for how and who can use direct and indirect representation. Just as the British freight forwarders / customs agents are requesting different collateral from their customers. There are many difference requirements and solutions.