French Smart Border

As we know, on 31 January 2020, the United Kingdom withdraws from the European Union, which will affect trade between countries. There is a transitional period until 31 December, so from 1 January 2021, the rules and procedures in the field of customs and taxation will change.

Transactions with the United Kingdom will be subject to the same customs formalities as any other third country. Customs declarations will be required for imports or exports from the United Kingdom. As changes affect the supply chain, it will be necessary to rethink the routes, the Member States involved and the modes of transport.

A special EORI number, which is an international registration number for customs purposes, will be required to transport goods to, from or through the UK. In Latvia it can be obtained free of charge using the electronic customs data processing system (EMDAS) on the website.

On December 3, there was a conference organized by the French government on the impact of Brexit and optimal solutions for maintaining smooth trade between countries. France has introduced the Smart Border innovation, an electronic IT solution based on a new customs infrastructure and predictable customs formalities. It involves 8 ports, 3 ferry companies (P&O Ferries; DFDS; Brittany Ferries) and the Eurotunnel.

Until now around 5 million trucks have crossed the English Channel and the North Sea each year. More than 85% of traffic between Europe and the United Kingdom is concentrated at only a few border crossings. In order to introduce more fluid border crossings, all formalities will be electronic from 1 January. In future, it will be necessary to complete the customs declarations in advance – BEFORE you arrive at the customs office. This way, significant time savings will be achieved due to the automation of data flow – only trucks under control and in need to complete certain formalities will be stopped. In addition, when submitting the relevant declaration, the French customs will issue a unique barcode to the documents that will be linked to the cargo plates. This process is greatly facilitated for the driver by scanning already prepared customs documents at the border point. Carriers will have a lighter and more transparent control system - while drivers cross the border a message will appear on ferry screens or text messages on whether the vehicle will have to cross the border on the green road (without inspection) or on the orange road (through control) once it reaches its destination.

The Eurotunnel and ferry companies focus on fast and seamless traffic flow and short crossing times. So, the most significant advantages are:
1. Saving time
2. Secure trade flow
3. Data protection
Summarizing the innovations of Smart Border, it will look like this:
• Customs declarations must be pre-made, electronic and bar-coded, and cargo plates must be linked to customs or transit declarations
• Direct border crossing (only in exceptional cases or in case of uncertainty, stop at the FR border)
• Automated control and guidance (free to move / control)
• For exports to the United Kingdom, the French customs check if the transit / export formalities have been completed before loading.