International trade and customs FAQs.

Have a question about international trade, customs or our advice and services? Read our FAQs section to find out more.

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What is CBAM?

CBAM is the abbreviation for Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism. It is a legal mechanism for carbon adjustment at the border, that aims to achieve a CO2 correction by introducing an additional tax on goods imported into the European Union. In this way, the system ultimately ensures fair competition between EU companies and companies from outside the EU in terms of CO2 emissions.

What goods are covered by the EU CBAM?

The EU CBAM applies to goods that fall into the categories: iron and steel, cement, fertilizers, aluminium, electricity, and hydrogen. Whether a product falls under the EU CBAM depends on the CN code of the product. The relevant CN codes are listed in Annex I of Regulation (EU) 2023/956.

Is there a transitional phase for the EU CBAM?

Yes, there is a transitional phase for CBAM. This phase has started on 1 October 2023 and will run until 31 December 2025. Since this transitional phase reporting obligations are in effect.

When is the EU CBAM officially in force?

The EU CBAM has officially been passed and is in force at present. However, the permanent CBAM system enters into force on 1 January 2026, meaning you will start paying financial levies from then on.

What does the timeline look like for the EU CBAM?

The following dates are key dates in the EU CBAM timeline:

  • 31 October 2023: The first reporting period for EU CBAM emissions begins.
  • 31 January 2024: Deadline for filing the first EU CBAM report on emissions from the previous reporting period.
  • 30 April 2024: Deadline for the first quarterly declaration of 2024.
  • 31 December 2024: End of the first reporting period under the transitional phase of EU CBAM.
  • 1 January 2025: Start of the second reporting period under the transitional phase of EU CBAM.
  • 30 June 2025: Deadline for the second quarterly declaration of emissions for 2025.
  • 1 January 2026: The permanent EU CBAM system enters into force, requiring importers to buy CBAM certificates to compensate for the CO2 emissions of their imports.
  • 31 January 2026: From this date, you must be registered and authorised as a 'CBAM declarer' to import goods to the EU.
  • 1 January 2030: The CBAM coverage will be reviewed and possibly expanded, with the aim of including more than half of emissions in the EU ETS sectors by the full phase-in of CBAM in 2034.
What is expected of me as an importer?

Importers who import goods into the EU covered by CBAM are expected to:

  • Report and submit emissions from their imports
  • Purchase CBAM certificates by 1 January 2026 to offset CO2 emissions from their products
  • Register with the CBAM Transitional Registry
  • Be compliant in complying with CBAM requirements
  • Work with their suppliers to reduce emissions from their imports
What can I do to prepare for the EU CBAM?

Make sure you know which of your products are covered by CBAM and what emission factors apply to them. Based on this, determine your CBAM obligations and develop a compliance strategy for calculating emissions, buying CBAM certificates and a way to manage your CBAM obligations. In addition, you need to register to the CBAM Transitional Registry. We recommend preparing as early as possible and getting the necessary information from your suppliers in time to ensure so you can continue to trade smoothly. If you would like expert guidance on the CBAM, you can contact us by filling out the contact form below or give us a call directly. Our customs experts are happy to help.

Where do I need to report for the EU CBAM?

Click here to enter the CBAM Transitional Registry developed by the EU Commission. Access to this registry should be requested through the National Competent Authority (NCA) of the Member State in which the importer is established.

Who are the National Competent Authorities (NCA’s)?

A list of National Competent Authorities for the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism can be found here.

Which documents do I need to complete my CBAM report?

To complete your CBAM report you will need identification documents, documents related to the imported goods, a calculation of the CBAM levies and if applicable a proof of payment.

Will the UK also implement a CBAM?

The UK is also implementing a CBAM which is a separate mechanism but similar to the EU CBAM. Click here for a UK Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism factsheet from the UK Government.

I would like assistance with CBAM, who can I contact?

Our friendly team of customs experts is here to help. Give us a call to speak to someone immediately, or kindly fill out the contact form above and a member of our team will respond within one business day.

Academy FAQs

Can we complete the training in-house?

Absolutely. We offer face-to-face in-house and remote training sessions to our valued customers.

How long does the training take?

The vast majority of training courses last for half a day, However, this depends on the topic(s) and your needs and knowledge level.

Control Tower FAQs

Do I need to discuss my requirements with different departments or countries?

No, you will receive a dedicated Account Manager and Customer Service Representative who will support you with all operational matters and new queries.

Can I receive consolidated invoices for multiple regions?

Yes, we can consolidate invoices over any desired timescale and/or group geographical regions together to make for a cleaner administrative process.

Can I request invoices in different currencies?

Yes, we can provide invoices in EUR, GBP or USD.

Will I have visibility over my various customs flows?

We offer various visibility tools, ranging from manually populated status sheets to digital dashboards.

What services does the Control Tower offer?

As a full-service customs partner, we offer a wide variety of customs products and services. This includes import and export clearances, transit documents, consultancy and advisory services, reporting, and fiscal representation.

Does the Control Tower offer automated solutions?

Yes, we have standard models of integration and an IT team that can create bespoke solutions should you need them.

Can I request ad hoc clearances in new trade lanes?

Yes. We understand that best serving your customers often involves the odd shipment into new regions, and we offer support with ad hoc clearances to our existing customers.

Consultancy & Advisory FAQs

I have an authorisation, can you revaluate? What do I have to do?

We will conduct an in-depth review of your current operations against the licence requirements, identify any gaps and recommend solutions to ensure and maintain compliance.

What do I need to get my Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) authorisation?

There are several criteria required for AEO authorisation, including compliance history, sufficient financial solvency, excellent record-keeping, documented security and safety standards, exceptional customs knowledge, and procedural controls.

We provide gap analysis and remediation advice to ensure your successful authorisation.

What do I need to receive a bonded warehouse authorisation?

There are several criteria required for bonded customs warehouse authorisation, including documented security protocols, controlled access and CCTV, approved storage facilities, detailed inventory management and record-keeping procedures, trained staff, proven financial solvency, and customs compliance history.

Our team will help you meet all of the criteria.

Customs Warehousing FAQs

How does a customs bonded warehouse work?

A customs bonded warehouse is a secure facility where imported goods can be stored without immediate payment of duties or taxes. Duties are only paid when goods leave the warehouse for domestic use. If the goods are re-exported, these charges are waived.

How long can you store goods in a bonded warehouse?

Goods can typically be stored in a bonded warehouse for an indefinite period, however this is dependent on your specific country's regulations. This period allows businesses to manage inventory and cash flow effectively, by delaying duty and VAT payments until goods are distributed domestically.

What do I need to receive a bonded warehouse authorisation?

Businesses must meet several criteria for bonded warehouse authorisation. This includes documented security protocols, controlled access and CCTV, approved storage facilities, detailed inventory management and record-keeping procedures, proven financial solvency and a history of customs compliance.

Fiscal Representation FAQs

Who requires a fiscal representative?

A fiscal representative is typically required for businesses that are involved in taxable transactions in a country where they do not have a physical presence. This is often the case for companies engaged in cross-border trade within the EU, especially for VAT purposes. Non-EU businesses selling goods or services to EU customers, or involved in import/export activities within the EU, frequently need a fiscal representative to comply with local tax regulations, facilitate VAT registration, and handle tax declarations.

What does a fiscal representative do?

A fiscal representative acts as a liaison between a non-resident business and the local tax authorities. They handle the administrative and compliance aspects of tax regulations on behalf of the company. This includes registering the business for VAT, filing VAT returns, ensuring accurate tax payments, and communicating with tax authorities.

What’s the difference between limited and general fiscal representation?

Limited fiscal representation is typically used for specific transactions, like importation, and is available in certain countries. Under this arrangement, the fiscal representative is responsible for VAT obligations related to imports but not for other domestic transactions.

General fiscal representation, on the other hand, covers a broader scope. It includes managing all VAT-related matters for a non-resident business, including imports, sales, and other taxable transactions within the country. General representation is more comprehensive, making it suitable for businesses with extensive operations in a particular country.

Excise Consumption FAQs

When do you have to pay excise duty?

Excise duty is typically paid when a specific type of goods, often referred to as excisable goods, are manufactured, imported from the rest of the world or other member states, or sometimes sold. Common examples of such goods include alcohol, tobacco, and fuel. The duty is due at the time of production or importation, but the exact point of payment can vary depending on the country's regulations and the ability of your customs representative.

When are you eligible for an eAD?

You are eligible for an Electronic Administrative Document (eAD) when you are involved in the movement of excisable goods under duty suspension within the European Union. The eAD is required for tracking the movement of these goods, ensuring that excise duty is correctly accounted for and paid.

How is an excise tax different from a sales tax?

Excise tax is a specific tax levied on certain goods, such as alcohol, tobacco, and fuel, which the merchant is usually responsible for paying. It's charged per unit (like per litre of alcohol) and is often aimed at discouraging the use of certain products. Sales tax, on the other hand, is a general tax applied to the sale of most goods and services and is calculated as a percentage of the sale price. Unlike excise tax, sales tax is not product-specific and is usually visible to consumers at the point of purchase.

Transit Declarations FAQs

What is a T1 transit document?

A T1 transit document is an EU customs procedure that can be used between the EU and Common Transit countries, which includes the UK. The document allows the movement of uncleared goods across international borders whilst delaying the need to pay for duties and submit customs declarations until they arrive at their final destination or are re-exported. This document also ensures that while the goods are in transit, they are under customs control.

What is a T2 transit document?

A T2 transit document is used within the European Union for the transit of goods that are in free circulation within the EU. This means the goods have either been produced in the EU or have been imported and all relevant customs duties and taxes have been paid. The T2 document facilitates the movement of these goods travelling via countries that are not part of the EU customs territory, such as Switzerland or Norway.

Export Declarations FAQs

Why does my shipment require an EORI?

An EORI (Economic Operators Registration and Identification) number is required for all businesses importing or exporting goods in the UK or the EU. For the UK, you must have a GB EORI, and for Norway, you'll require a Norwegian Organisation Number instead. These are used by customs to identify traders and ensure compliance with customs procedures and regulations.

What is a commercial invoice?

A commercial invoice is the document provided by the exporter to the importer to pay for the goods sold. It details the goods, their value, key transaction information, including the Incoterms® and, in some cases, proof of origin.

What is an ATA Carnet?

An ATA Carnet is an international customs document that allows the temporary importation of goods into another ATA Convention country, without paying duties and import taxes. However, these goods must return to their original country. An ATA Carnet is often used for goods such as professional equipment, or items for exhibitions and events.

What goods require an export licence and what one is best to apply for?

Goods that typically require an export licence include military items, dual-use goods, artworks, and endangered species. The best licence depends on the item's nature, destination, and end-use.

What commodity code should I be using?

The commodity code for your products depends on their nature, intended use and specifications. It's essential for customs declarations and determining duties. If in doubt, consult a member of our team.

Can you complete a EUR1 on our behalf?

Yes, as a full-service partner, and if your shipment is applicable, we can apply for an EUR1 certificate on your behalf. This certificate will help you in claiming preferential duty rates under trade agreements between the EU and certain other countries.

Can you explain incoterm EXW to me?

EXW (Ex Works) is an Incoterm where the seller makes the goods available at their premises. The buyer is responsible for all transportation costs, risks, and customs procedures from the seller's location onwards.

Import Declarations FAQs

What do I need to import my goods?

To import goods into the UK or the EU, it's essential you have an EORI (Economic Operators Registration and Identification) number, along with the commercial paperwork. For UK shipments, you must have a GB EORI. For Norway, you`ll require a Norwegian Organisation Number instead.

How do I get an EORI?

You can get an EORI number by applying through your country's official customs website or by using a trade partner like Gaston Schul to support you.

How do I apply for a Norwegian Organisation Number?

You can register your business by visiting The Brønnøysund Register Centre website.

How do I register for the UK`s Customs Declaration Service (CDS)?

To register for the Customs Declaration Service (CDS), visit the HMRC website and follow the registration process. You'll need your EORI number, Government Gateway ID, and relevant business details to complete the registration.

What paperwork is required for my declaration?

For your customs declaration, you`ll need a commercial invoice detailing the transaction, Incoterms®, and goods. You`ll also require a packing list, the correct commodity (HS) code(s), plus any preference certificates or statements relating to your shipment such as an EUR1, REX Statement or invoice declaration. These documents are crucial for customs to assess duties and taxes.

Should I use PVA for my UK shipments, and what does it mean?

PVA (Postponed VAT Accounting) can be used by VAT-registered businesses in the UK to account for import VAT on their VAT return, rather than paying upfront at the border. It's beneficial for cash flow.

Can I claim preference or duty relief? How do I do this?

You can claim preference or duty relief if your goods qualify under trade agreements or specific relief programs. To do this, simply provide your proof of origin, such as an EUR1 certificate, REX statement, or invoice declaration, when submitting your commercial paperwork to our team.

How do my Incoterms® affect my shipment?

Incoterms® define the responsibilities between the buyers and sellers of international shipments, including who pays for shipping, insurance, and customs duties. Your chosen Incoterm (e.g., FOB, CIF, EXW) can significantly impact cost, responsibility, and your customs value, which determines the amount of duty you pay.