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Exporting and Transporting UK Goods

Volume 684: debated on Thursday 19 November 2020

What steps she is taking to simplify the process of (a) exporting and (b) transporting UK goods around the world. (909002)

The Department for International Trade is working closely with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs and others to ensure that businesses are prepared for 1 January. We have delivered specialist webinars and support tools to ensure that industry understands the changes required for it to keep trading effectively with the EU as well as to start trading under preferential conditions, such as those with Japan. Looking forward, we are aiming to produce the world’s most effective border by 2025, simplifying and digitising border processes so that exporters across the country will be able to sell their products around the world more easily once our free trade agreements are agreed and in place.

A report published this month by the National Audit Office estimates that the number of HM Revenue and Customs declarations that will need to be processed from 1 January will increase from the current annual volume of 55 million to 270 million. That is a huge increase. What discussions is the Department having with other Departments to ensure that this huge increase in the administrative burden does not discourage exports to Europe and the world?

The hon. and learned Lady is quite right; there are a lot of challenges. That is why, across Government, we have been making such an effort to work with other Departments to make sure that we do everything possible to inform business and to facilitate the border, including investing hundreds of millions of pounds in improving customs processes and others.