International markets offer huge opportunities for UK businesses. Finding and developing new markets for products is a hugely valuable avenue for expansion. For first-timers, however, even the terminology can be daunting.

Here is a straightforward explanation of the key terms that traders are likely to encounter related to the movement of goods overseas:

A three digit code used to identify any supplementary conditions that apply to the intended use of the goods. For example, if customs relief for both Customs Duty and Import VAT are being claimed, two separate Additional Procedure Codes (APC) will need to be quoted. One is required to claim Customs Duty relief, the other for Import VAT relief. The Customs Declaration Service (CDS) allows up to 99 Additional Procedure Codes to be to be used with a single four digit Procedure Code.

For further information, see GOV.UK.

Customs Duty is usually based on the customs value of goods and is usually calculated according to the value - 'ad valorem' in Latin. This means that a tax will be charged applying a rate (i.e. percentage) on the value of the goods. Most goods are taxed in this way, although sometimes different criteria are used such as weight, dimensions, quantity, or some other criteria. For instance, flour is taxed by weight and clocks are taxed by quantity.

An agent is an individual or firm that serves as the foreign representative of a domestic supplier and assists a business in transporting and/or selling their products abroad.

Customs brokers, freight forwarders and clearing agents are all customs intermediaries that help exporters and importers to declare and move goods internationally. Services include preparation of shipping and export documents, warehousing, booking cargo space, negotiating freight charges and freight consolidation.

For further information, see the Agents and Intermediaries guide.

Agrifood includes agriculture, horticulture and food and drink processing technologies.

Food (raw or processed) is a very sensitive commodity. It is perishable and sensitive to temperature. Therefore, quick and efficient exchange of information for agrifood trade is extremely important.

Regulators require significant amounts of information for facilitation and control (to reduce health and safety risks for citizens in a particular custom territory). Also, due to various religious restrictions and cultural practices, consumers in a particular custom territory require information about their food including production, ingredients and sustainability. As a consequence, to avoid customs delays, having fast trade transactions of agrifood goods, requires accurate and on-time information exchange.

For further information, see the Controlled Goods guide.

A transport document used when goods are transported by air freight, typically issued by the carrying airline or freight forwarder. It acts as a receipt for the goods being shipped, and confirms the terms and conditions of the contract of transport

Goods to be delivered 'alongside' are to be placed on the dock or barge within reach of the ship's lifting tackle so that they can be loaded aboard the ship.

This is an additional Customs Duty on imports chargeable to certain products and originating from certain countries. It provides protection against the dumping of goods in a country at prices substantially lower than the normal value. It is charged in addition to, and independent of, any other duty to which the imported goods are liable.

For further information, see the Tariffs guide.

The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) is an executive agency of the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA). APHA is responsible for identifying and controlling endemic and exotic diseases and pests in animals, plants and bees, and surveillance of new and emerging pests and diseases.
It also facilitates international trade in animals, products of animal origin and plants, protecting endangered wildlife through licensing and registration. APHA regulates the safe disposal of animal by-products to reduce the risk of potentially dangerous substances entering the food chain.

Please see GOV.UK for more information, or the Live Animal Movements guide.

Goods declared to customs after arrival.

A free service provided by TSS to support traders with the submission of their Supplementary Declarations. It is also referred in TSS as the Enhanced Supplementary Declaration Service (ESDS).

For further information, see the Assisted Completion guide.

Goods are deemed 'at risk' when there is a risk they will be moved out of the UK domestic market into Ireland (IE) or the rest of the European Union (EU). Goods are not 'at risk' if they are going to remain or be consumed within the UK domestic market or if they are eligible for preferential rates under Free Trade Agreement rules of origin requirements

Authorised consignor, or consignee status, allows you to start (if you are the consignor) or end (if you are the consignee) transit at your own premises rather than at a customs office. Please refer to this guidance.

A status awarded to traders within the UK who demonstrate that they achieve high standards of supply chain security and / or compliance in customs matters. AEO status is a part of an international "Trusted Trader" programme, designed to increase global supply chain security. Companies who achieve AEO status can benefit from simpler and less rigorous customs controls, access to customs procedures, and lower requirements to provide financial guarantees.

Please see GOV.UK for more information.

ALVS confirms compliance between the requirements of other government agencies and control bodies within NI, TRACES NT pre-notifications, and TSS declarations. It tracks declarations and NI control bodies clearance decisions for movements of goods that are subject to SPS controls, including products of animal and plant origins.

Please see GOV.UK for more information.

A written unconditional order in writing from one party (the buyer) to another (the seller), to pay a specified amount either immediately (a sight bill) or on a fixed future date (a term bill) for payment of goods and/or services. Used primarily in international trade, it is non-interest-bearing. The bill of exchange also specifies the payment to a specified person or to the bearer of the bill.

Please visit guidance about the terms and conditions for a bill of exchange to be valid on GOV.UK.

A legal document between the shipper and a transportation company that confirms the terms of a contract under which freight is to be moved by sea between specified points for a specified charge. It must be signed by an authorised representative from the carrier.

It acts as a receipt for goods shipped and identifies the nature of the goods, the number of packages, their quantity and weight and their condition at the time of loading. Bills of lading can also act as documents of title.


A consignee usually needs at least one original to take possession of the goods.


A bonded warehouse (also known as customs warehouse) is a building, or other secured area in which dutiable goods may be stored, manipulated, or undergo manufacturing operations without payment of duty. The suspension of duties under this type of building requires an authorisation by custom authorities. Please find further information concerning terms and conditions for customs warehousing on GOV.UK.

Border Force is a law enforcement command within the Home Office. It secures the UK border by carrying out immigration and customs controls for people and goods entering the UK.

Please see GOV.UK for more information.

"Bunker" refers to fuel used by vessels, planes and other conveyances. Carriers may typically charge a Bunker Surcharge over and above standard freight rates, in order to compensate for frequent fluctuations in the cost of fuel, as an alternative to constantly adjusting freight rates. Surcharges may be in the form of a percentage of the freight cost, or a fixed amount per freight unit.

Importers can reclaim import VAT (input tax) on their monthly/quarterly VAT returns using a C79 VAT certificate.

For further information, see this GOV.UK guidance.

The C2001 application form is used to make a voluntary disclosure of underpayments arising on the import of goods. Please see GOV.UK for more information.

The C285 application form is used to claim repayment if you’ve overpaid on import duty and VAT. Please see GOV.UK for more information.

Insurance undertaken by an exporter or importer to protect themselves against the risk of loss or damage to goods in transit, over and above the limited liability cover offered by carriers or forwarders. Cargo insurance is required under some Incoterms®, and may be a requirement when selling through a letter of credit.

One of the 11 current Incoterms® (see below), used in conjunction with the name of the place where delivery will take place. Under CPT terms, a seller is responsible for all transport costs up to the named place of delivery, but the risk passes to the buyer once the goods are loaded on the first vehicle at the place of collection. The importer is responsible for completing the import customs formalities.

A carrier is a company or a person legally entitled to transport goods by land, water, and air. Usually, the carrier works with shippers to ship goods from one place to the other.

There are two main types of carriers or methods by which goods are delivered:

Common carrier: refers to the transport provider that offers his services to any person or company, as he is entitled to do so under the license provided by a regulatory body. The common carrier is able to work with more shippers within the same day because he is not bound by any contract.
Contract carrier: refers to the company or person who provides transport services for a specified shipper on a long-term basis. This means the contract carrier reaches a common agreement with the shipper and agrees to work under certain conditions over the length of the contract.

A document that certifies that a product complies with minimum production, technical, and safety standards.

Following an inspection, usually performed by a third party or government agency, this document certifies that goods were in good condition at the time of inspection, usually immediately prior to shipment.

This certificate proves that your goods have been manufactured or processed in a particular country. A Certificate of Origin is usually required for overseas customs clearance and can determine the level of duties payable.
It is generally issued by a Chamber of Commerce and is required by some countries to establish the place of manufacture or production of the goods.

The document should include the name and address of the exporter, the manufacturer (if different), the importer and a description and origin of the goods.

Up until 2019, the Customs Handling of Import & Export Freight (CHIEF) was the computer system HMRC used to record all good moving by land, air or sea. CHIEF allowed importers, exporters and freight forwarders to complete customs formalities electronically and calculate revenues due on those movements.
Currently, this system allows UK traders (for movements not related with the Northern Ireland territory) to communicate with counterpart customs systems in member states of the European Union. CHIEF has been partly replaced by the Customs Declaration Service (CDS) for those movements involving the Northern Ireland territory and is due to be completely retired and replaced by CDS in 2023.

See GOV.UK for an overview of the differences between CHIEF and CDS.

A financial penalty imposed by a government agency as restitution for wrongdoing. The civil fine is not considered to be a criminal punishment because it is primarily sought in order to compensate the agency for harm done to it, rather than to punish the wrongful conduct. Usually a civil penalty will not result in a prison sentence or other legal penalties. For example, if a person were to dump toxic waste in a national park, the park authority would have the same right to seek to recover the cost of cleaning up the mess as would a private landowner, and to bring the complaint to a court of law, if necessary.

Please see GOV.UK for more information.

A claused bill of lading shows a shortfall or damage in the delivered goods. When a bill of lading is claused, it means that the legal bill of lading shipment did not provide what was promised.

A clean bill of lading is a document that declares there was no damage to or loss of goods during shipment. The clean bill of lading is issued by the carrier after thoroughly inspecting all packages for any damage, missing quantities, or deviations in quality.

The documented permission to pass that a national customs authority grants to imported goods so that they can enter the country, or to exported goods so that they can leave the country. The customs clearance is typically given to a shipping or customs agent to prove that all applicable customs duties and any other charges have been paid and the shipment has been approved.

The commercial invoice is the primary document used in international trade to provide information about a shipment or transaction and identify products being shipped. It is used to support customs declarations in valuation and duty determination, and when submitting certificates of origin or other documents for certification. In many cases a commercial invoice will be the same as a sales invoice, although specific version, containing particular information may be required in certain circumstances, or when trading with specific countries.

A sequence of digits, used to identify goods for customs purposes. When trading internationally, you will need to know the correct commodity code for your goods so you can fill out customs paperwork correctly. UK and European Union tariff codes are usually 8 digits long for exports, and 10 digits (or sometimes more) for imports.

Most tariff codes globally are based on the Harmonized System of classification, and are often referred to as Harmonized System, or H.S. codes. The harmonized system covers only the first 6 digits of codes.

For further information, see the Commodity codes guide.

The EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is a system of agricultural subsidies and programmes covering farming, environmental measures and rural development.

Is a collection of documents that brings together pages of guidance for anyone who intends to import or export agricultural products to or from the UK. Updated January 2021

If you are moving live animals, High Risk Food Not of Animal Origin (HRFNAO), Products of Animal Origin (POAO) or Plant products into NI you will have to pre-notify Border Control using the European Commission's TRACES NT platform.

This is a mandatory document that must be presented at border control post (BCP) in order to carry out security checks when any of these goods enter the EU market:
1) Animals or products of animal origin
2) Some plants or products of plant origin
3) Feed and food products

There are four types of CHEDs, depending on the goods for which it is issued: CHED-A, CHED-P, CHED-PP, CHED-D. The border control post (BCP) must be notified 24 hours before the arrival of the consignment by generating a CHED on the European Commission’s online Trade Control and Expert System TRACES (Importers of such products from outside the EU should register for TRACES NT).

Please see the European Commission website for more information.

The CTC is used for moving goods between the common transit countries i.e. the EU member states, the EFTA countries (Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland) as well as Turkey, North Macedonia, Serbia and the United Kingdom. Please refer to further guidance on GOV.UK.

CNS is the Community Systems Provider (CSP) at Belfast and Warrenpoint ports.

A Community Systems Provider (CSP) provides direct interface between a computerised inventory system used at a inventory-linked port or airport and HMRC systems (e.g. the Customs Declaration Service (CDS)). They record and track the movement of goods within ports and airports.

For further information, see the Inventory-Linked Ports guide.

Party who receives the goods post customs-clearance

A consignment is the total quantity of goods delivered from an exporter (the consignor/sender) to an overseas party (the consignee/importer/receiver) under a sales contract or a delivery/contract of carriage agreement.

For a delcaration prior to goods moving, the consignment data is submitted first and before the movement information is submitted. This functionality within TSS allows consignments to be created independently and later linked to the movement information. Consignments can be created by any user, and are linked to another TSS user account (e.g. the carrier/haulier) using the latter’s EORI number. This allows creation of an ENS/SFD declaration where consignments have been created (and data supplied) by other users.

Party delivering the goods as stipulated in the transport contract

A steel transport unit, constructed in standard dimensions and structure, which enables cargo to be moved quickly, safely and efficiently by sea, road, rail or inland waterway.

A contract of carriage is a contract between a carrier of goods or passengers and the consignor, consignee or passenger. Contracts of carriage typically define the rights, duties and liabilities of parties to the contract, addressing topics such as acts of God and including clauses such as force majeure.

Controlled goods are defined as those that are subject to special regulation, certification, licensing or other approvals. This includes not only HMRC customs-controlled goods, such as excise goods, but also goods which are subject to authorisations by any other Government Department.

For further information, see the Controlled Goods guide.

CVD is a Customs Duty imposed on goods which have received government subsidies in the originating or exporting country.

For further information, see the Tariffs guide.

Country of origin is the economic nationality of goods being imported and exported (where they have been produced or manufactured).

This is the country where the goods are being sent from (this may be different to where they were made).

A company that assesses a person's or an organisation's credit standing and/or ability pay back money they are lent or provided on credit terms.

A specialist company with expertise that includes tariff and customs laws, rules and regulations for the clearance of imported or exported goods or merchandise from customs authority, and the preparation of export or import documents including computation and payment of duties, taxes and other charges. Custom brokers may be employed by, or affiliated with, freight forwarders, independent businesses, or shipping lines, importers, exporters, trade authorities, and customs brokerage firms.

A CCG is an agreement to cover a customs debt (such as customs duty, excise duty or import VAT) when you regularly import goods or use common and European Union transit.

For further information, see the Payments guide.

A legal document that lists the details of goods that are being exported from or imported into the UK/EU.

The Customs Declaration Service (CDS) is the UK’s single customs platform to complete customs declarations. CDS is replacing the existing Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system for goods movements to NI.

CDS offers several new services, alongside existing services, all in one place. If you currently use CHIEF for your declarations, you’ll find that the Customs Declaration Service captures some information differently and the way you input data is different. Visit the CDS toolkit for details.

Please see GOV.UK for more information.

The CDS Dashboard is the HMRC’s IT system where parties involved in trade transactions can make customs declarations, get postponed import VAT statements and import VAT certificates, make payments and set up or change an intermediary or agent.

Please see GOV.UK for further information.

A tax levied on goods imported. Customs Duty is there to raise revenue, and/or to protect domestic industries from (subsidised) competitors abroad.

Under the NI Protocol, a Customs Duty waiver is used on GOV.UK and in other public communications describes the de minimis aid to cover the cost of ‘at risk’ tariffs for movements into NI from GB.

For further information, see GOV.UK.

A CFSP authorisation is required if you wish to use special or alternate procedures on the simplified journey.

For further information, see the Special Procedures guide.

Note: You may see CFSP authorisation referred to in GOV.UK materials as the authorisation to use simplified declaration procedures (SDP); see GOV.UK for more detail. As the term CFSP authorisation is used through the TSS system, this guide uses CFSP authorisation to make navigating the TSS Portal as easy as possible.

Documents issued by HMRC which bring together the law and guidance relevant to a particular aspect of customs.

Customs special procedures allow you to store, temporarily use, process or repair your goods and get partial or full relief from import duty, or in some cases suspension.

Special procedures include:

  • Inward processing
  • Authorised use
  • Customs Warehouse
  • Temporary admission
  • Outward Processing

For further information, please refer to this GOV.UK guidance or see the Special Procedures guide.

This is an scheme that enables an export declaration to be made inland. Under the scheme, authorised traders can declare goods to the export procedure at their authorised premises.

Please see GOV.UK for further information.

A form of trade agreement between two or more countries. It means they decide not to impose tariffs (taxes on imports) on each other's goods and agree to impose common external tariffs on goods from countries outside their customs union. Setting common external tariffs is what distinguishes a customs union from a free trade area.

Customs valuation is the determination of the economic value of goods declared for importation. Together with origin and classification, the customs value provides the basis for assessment of the customs debt, which is often calculated as a percentage of the customs value.

Please see GOV.UK for further information.

Customs warehouses are operated by warehouse keepers, who must be authorised by HMRC. Customs warehousing allows goods to be held duty and VAT free until they are released to free circulation. See also bonded warehouse.

For further information, see the Special Procedures guide.

Dangerous goods are cargoes which have the potential to cause harm, damage or loss of life if released. Dangerous goods are subject to strict requirements to ensure safe handling and transportation. Each mode of transport has specific procedures and regulations for dangerous goods, which are governed by international regulations. Dangerous goods can include explosives, compressed gases, flammable liquids and solids, oxidising substances, toxic materials, radioactive substances, corrosive materials, as well as various miscellaneous articles, including lithium batteries and electronic devices containing lithium batteries. Traders dealing in these commodities are advised to seek expert advice.

For further information, see the Controlled Goods guide.

This is not a customs document, but it is used for the safe transport of hazardous goods.

For further information, see the Controlled Goods guide.

When a goods movement from Great Britain to Northern Ireland is deemed 'at risk' and duties are payable, you are entitled to claim a customs duty waiver from the government covering the cost. This will be a form of de minimis aid. De minimis aid is a small amount of government-provided aid that is unlikely to distort competition rules.

The declarant status indicates the type of representation for a customs declaration. It shows if a business is acting on its own behalf, or if a direct or indirect representative is completing the customs declaration.

A customs declaration is an official document that lists and gives details of goods (amount, nature, and value) that are being exported or imported to/from a custom territory.

A DUCR (also known as a UCR) is a reference allocated to a consignment of goods and recorded on the relevant customs declaration(s). The Unique Consignment Reference (UCR) is a reference number for Customs use and may be required to be reported to Customs at any point during a Customs procedure. The UCR should be : • Applied to all international goods movements for which Customs control is required; • Used only as an access key for audit, consignment tracking and information, reconciliation purposes; • Unique at both national and international level; • Applied at consignment level; • Issued as early as possible in the international transaction.

A UCR binds information together all about a trade transaction; from initial order and consignment of goods by a supplier, to the movement of those goods and arrival at the border, through to their final delivery to the importer.

For further information, see the TSS Data guide.

Value of a shipment as declared by its shipper to serve as the basis for computation of duties and taxes. It usually reflects the selling or the replacement price of the shipment.

These are costs that can be removed from a customs declaration. For example, domestic freight costs, overseas export duties or licence fees, buying commissions, financial arrangements such as a discount for paying early and quantity discounts open to anyone.

This is the unique reference number issued to a business to identify their deferment account.

For further information, see the TSS Data guide.

One of the 11 current Incoterms® (see below), used in conjunction with the name of the place where delivery will take place. Under DAP terms, a seller is responsible for all transport costs and bears the risk until the goods are delivered at the named place. The importer is responsible for completing the import customs formalities.

For further information, see the Incoterms® guide.

The DIT is responsible for promoting British trade and investment across the world.

A customs intermediary acting in the name of, and on behalf of, another business. If an agent acts as a direct representative of the principal, the principal is solely liable for the customs debt. But, if the principal gives clear instructions and the agent makes a deliberate or unreasonable error, the agent may become jointly and severally liable.

For further information, see the Agents and Intermediaries guide and GOV.UK.

An overseas sales partner which buys products, usually in bulk volumes, for resale to individual clients. A distributor will typically generate revenue by negotiating special price rates from the principal, and adding their own mark-up to the resale price. A distributor should normally support the principal's marketing strategy by providing local promotional and sales activities, as well as after-sales service, and by providing market intelligence.

Sometimes import controls require proof of the 'economic nationality' of goods. Usually the local chamber of commerce or Ministry of Trade in the export country authenticates a Certificate of Origin. Sometimes invoice statements may also be permitted.

Goods which have a valid commercial or civilian function, but which could also be used for strategic, or military purposes. They are therefore subject to export controls (see below). Examples of dual use goods include advanced materials, chemicals or metals, high technology machine tools and instruments, software and other technology.

Although not designed for strategic purposes, such as military, dual-use goods can be used without modification in such environments. They include chemicals, computers and telecommunication equipment and specially designed components as well as information needed for the development and production of such goods including blueprints, plans, and models.

Please see GOV.UK for more information.

You’ll be charged Customs Duty on all goods sent from outside the UK (or the UK and the EU if you’re in Northern Ireland) if they’re either:

  • excise goods
  • worth more than £135

If you’re charged Customs Duty, you’ll need to pay it on both: the price paid for the goods and postage, packaging and insurance.

For further information, see GOV.UK guidance and the Tariffs guide.

An HMRC account that lets you make one payment a month through Direct Debit instead of paying for individual consignments. You can apply for a DDA if you're an importer, someone who represents importers or you're releasing goods from an excise warehouse.

For further information, see the Payments guide.

Duty relief allows businesses to pay less or no duty on imports where duty would otherwise be payable.

For further information, see the Tariffs guide.

This is an identification number for trade parties performing international movements under customs procedures. Trade parties need to use their EORI number when making declarations to customs authorities. You need an EORI number if you move goods:

  • between Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) or the Isle of Man and any other country (including the EU)
  • between Great Britain and Northern Ireland
  • between Great Britain and the Channel Islands
  • between Northern Ireland and countries outside the EU

If you’re based in the UK you must get an EORI number that starts with GB. If you already have an EORI number and it does not start with GB, you must apply for a new GB EORI number.

You may also need an EORI number starting with XI if you move goods to or from Northern Ireland. Please see GOV.UK for more information.

An embargo is a government order that restricts commerce or exchange with a specified country or the exchange of specific goods. An embargo is usually created as a result of unfavourable political or economic circumstances between nations.

An EIDR allows economic operators to release goods to a customs procedure using a simplified data set via an entry in their electronic commercial records. The contents of the declaration must be available for customs to inspect at the time it is made.

Please see GOV.UK for more information.

In order for the goods to leave a country, the haulier or carrier must lodge a safety and security declaration with customs at the first place of arrival within the customs territory to let HMRC know which goods are bring carried. A safety and security declaration, known in TSS as the Entry Summary Declaration, is required for goods movements from Great Britain into Northern Ireland. The Entry Summary Declaration must be submitted prior to the goods entering Northern Ireland and is the responsibility of the person operating the means of transport on which the goods are brought into Northern Ireland. This person is commonly referred to as the carrier.

For further information, see the Entry Summary Declaration guide and the Entry Summary Declaration page.

Error codes are generated by CDS or the TSS ServiceNow system when errors are made in the supplementary declaration and discovered during submission. The error code will be displayed in the traders TSS portal along with receipt of an error code email. New functionality has been included in the latest software release to make the error code report more user friendly and provide useful supporting information.

For further information, see the ENS & SFD Error Code guidance or the SDI Error Code guidance.

The name of a type of movement certificate (a form of certificate of origin) which can be issued within the EU to prove that goods are of EU origin, and therefore qualify for a preferential rate of duty when imported (see "Preferential Trade" below). The form must be stamped by a Chamber of Commerce or customs authority, but the exporter must demonstrate that the goods meet the required conditions of origin.

The common currency used in 19 of the 27 member states of the European union; it is currently used in Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain. In addition, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and Vatican City, which are not EU member states, also have formal agreements with the EU to use the Euro.

The EU is a unified trade and monetary body of 27 member states. It eliminates all border controls between members and allows the free flow of goods and people.

This is the customs rate of exchange which is updated daily and can be found on For imports declared on CHIEF, the rate of exchange is built into the system so every entry is automatically converted at the current customs rate; however, for imports declared in foreign currency in CDS, traders need to check the respective foreign exchange (monthly rates) on GOV.UK.

Excise Duty is chargeable, in addition to any Customs Duty which may be due, for certain types of goods that include alcohol, tobacco and some energy products.

For further information, see the Controlled Goods guide.

An EU-wide digital mechanism for controlling the movement of duty suspended excise goods within the EU. It is applied through separate IT systems built and managed by each EU Member State.

This is referred to as the combined fiscal and safety and security declaration. It is also known as a pre-departure message. The EXS provides security information to the customs authority in the EU country of exit if the movement involves goods passing through more than one member state and can also provide advance details to customs in the import country to assist with cargo risk assessments.

For further information, see the Export guide.

An export is when a good produced in one country is shipped to someone in another country for sale, under a contract of sale or a carriage's agreement. The seller of such goods and services is an exporter; the foreign buyer is an importer.

For further information on how TSS supports this, see the NICTA guide on movements from NI to GB.

There are several reasons why governments aim to control the export of goods, depending on the nature and destinations of the proposed export.

Certain types of goods are flagged as strategically important as military goods or high tech products that could be used in a strategic military way without modification or have the inherent capabilities to assist in the delivery or manufacture of chemical or biological weapons. The export of strategic goods and technology is the specific remit of the Export Control Organisation (ECO). Military and dual-use controlled goods require an export licence before they can leave the UK.

Export controls are not unique to the UK. All countries should have some form of an export control policy, legislation and enforcement mechanisms.

The Export Control System (ECS) is the EU system for the control of indirect exports.

Credit insurance provides cover against default by debtors (customers), and may also protect against "country risks", (factors within the buyer's country which prevent the buyer's ability to pay, such as social unrest). Cover can protect all of the debtor book or specific debtors. Some credit insurance companies also provide credit reference services.

International credit insurance is provided by a number of commercial organisations. In circumstances where commercial organisations are unwilling to provide cover due to commercial risks, cover may be obtained from a government department, such as U.K. Export Finance, previously known as the Export Credit Guarantee Department.

An Export Health Certificate (EHC) is an official document that confirms your export meets the health requirements of the destination country and is required for exports of products of animal and plant origin to the EU, NI and any third countries.

For further information, see the Controlled Goods guide.

Party responsible for completing customs procedures for the departure of the goods

An export/import measure is anything that is flagged when looking up a commodity code in Volume 2 of the UK Trade Tariff. This includes the potential need for a licence, licence quotas, end-use suspensions, special permits/certificates needed, restrictions on certain products, restrictions on countries to trade that product with, and additional duties.

An Express Operator is also known as a fast parcel operator, or third party declarant.

Using third-party declarants
Fast parcel operators who complete customs entries on behalf of an importer, or deliver goods to the place where they will be temporarily used, processed or stored, cannot claim relief in their own name if they are not responsible for using, processing or storing the goods themselves, or are arranging for this to be carried out on their behalf.

If you use a fast parcel operator as a third party to complete entries on your behalf, and you want to claim any of the customs reliefs that may be available, you must ensure that you:

  • give clear written instructions for the goods to be entered to the particular relief concerned
  • are clearly identified as the person claiming relief
  • ask them to send you details of customs declarations made on your behalf so that you can check their accuracy

If the declaration is incorrect, you will be liable.

Third parties who declare goods for a relief without the authority of the person in whose name the declaration is made, will be liable for any customs debt incurred. Read Notice 199 for more information.

Please refer to this guidance.

One of the 11 current Incoterms® (see below). Under ex works terms, a seller is only responsible for supplying goods at the nominated place (usually their premises), and plays no further part in the transportation process.

For further information, see the Incoterms® guide.

A Final Supplementary Declaration (FSD) details the number of Supplementary Declarations finalised for the reporting period compared to the number of Supplementary Declarations due. Final Supplementary Declarations must be submitted by 9pm on the fourth working day in the month following the reporting period. This includes all Supplementary Declarations submitted up to that day.

For further information, see the Standalone Simplified Frontier Declaration Step-by-step guide.

FAS is an accounting sub-system which can be used to process import entries through a computer terminal linked to the Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system. It can only be used if you’re a Direct Trader Input (DTI) agent who wants to pay for charges due on DTI entries using an immediate payment method.

Please see GOV.UK for further information.

Goods in free circulation are those that have been cleared by Customs authorities following the payment of any customs duties attached to them, and their documentation has been approved. Once the goods have been cleared, they can be sold and used by consumers in the arrival custom territory.

Please see GOV.UK for further information.

Free movement allows goods to leave one country and enter another country without extra taxes, legal documents or official limits.

One of the 11 current Incoterms® (see below), usually used in conjunction with the name of a place or port. Under FOB terms, a seller is responsible for all costs and bears the risk until the goods are placed on board a vessel in the nominated port in the country of export.

An agreement between two or more countries to trade freely with each other while still being able to set their own tariffs on goods from the rest of the world. FTAs make trade cheaper (by eliminating or reducing customs duties and red tape) and faster (by making transit through customs easier and setting common rules).

Goods transported in bulk by truck, train, ship, or aircraft.

A freight forwarder, forwarder, or forwarding agent, is a company that organises shipments for individuals or corporations to get goods from the manufacturer or producer to a market, customer or final point of distribution.

Full Frontier Declarations are required for any goods movements from the Rest of World excluding the European Union to Northern Ireland, as well as for some scenarios of goods moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland (e.g., those moving into Inventory-Linked Ports (ILPs) and when using certain special procedures). The FFD is required where the trader can not make use of simplified customs procedures, and where there is a need to supply more information prior to movement of goods, such as the requirements for an export license or where advance information is required to facilitate the export.

For further information, see the FFD guide.

The TSS Full Frontier Declaration path requires traders to submit all information on their declaration and pay any necessary duties at the same time, generally before the goods move into Northern Ireland. Movements from Rest of World excluding the European Union or movements into inventory-linked locations must use the TSS Full Frontier Declaration path. While all movements from Great Britain to Northern Ireland can also use this declaration path, it is recommended that you use the TSS simplified journey where possible.

A convention in international maritime transport which can occur when an "extraordinary sacrifice or expenditure is intentionally and reasonably made or incurred for the common safety for the purpose of

preserving from peril the property involved in a common maritime adventure." This involves both the vessel and also the cargo being transported during the voyage; such that all parties are required to

make a contribution towards the costs and financial sacrifice incurred.

If "General Average" is declared by a shipping line, all exporters or importers with cargo on board will have to make a proportionate contribution, and cargo will usually be held by the carrier under a lien until payment or some form of guarantee is received to cover the outlay.

The GIRs are a set of 6 rules provided to ensure uniform legal interpretation of the Harmonized System for the accurate classification of goods. Please see this guide from the World Customs Organization for more information.

Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) agreements are unilateral trade agreements designed by developed countries to support the economies of developing and least developed countries. They offer preferential market access to 150+ countries which benefit from this scheme.

Applies to goods that enter NI but may later be sold or consumed within the EU (i.e. Ireland). It also applies to goods moved into NI for commercial processing, unless in one of the approved processing sectors.

The official evidence of export when shipping goods outside the EU.

Goods domestic status is determined by the fact that all Duties and Taxes have been paid on the goods upon entering that customs territory.

33(1) Goods are domestic goods for the purposes of this Part if–

(a) they are wholly obtained in the United Kingdom, or

(b) they have been subject to a chargeable Customs procedure.

33(2) For the purposes of this section goods have been “subject to a chargeable Customs procedure” if–

(a) the goods were declared for the free-circulation procedure and the procedure has been discharged,

(b) the goods were declared for an authorised use procedure and the procedure has been discharged, or

(c) the goods–

(i) are not Union goods and were removed to Northern Ireland (in the course of their importation into the United Kingdom or otherwise), and

(ii) were declared, in accordance with Union customs legislation, for a procedure corresponding to the free-circulation procedure or the authorised use procedure and that corresponding procedure has been discharged, while the goods were in Northern Ireland, in accordance with that legislation.

A GMR indicates approval to move goods and is issued through the Goods Vehicle Movement Service (GVMS).
For further information, see the How to create a GMR on GVMS guide.

Applies to goods that will be for sale to or final use by end-consumers located in the UK, and are moved into NI by a business authorised under the UK Trader Scheme (UKTS).

The Goods Vehicle Movement Service (GVMS) is a UK government border control information technology system for coordinating the movement of vehicles.
It is part of the government's measures for dealing with post-Brexit trade.
The system is estimated to need to process 400 million customs declarations per year.

For further information, see the How to create a GMR on GVMS guide.

Great Britain in the context of TSS is the Island of Great Britain covering England, Wales and Scotland but not including Northern Ireland.

See "Less than Container Load" below.

Where REX is not yet implemented, GSP Form A is used. It is a certificate of origin issued by exporters in GSP beneficiary countries. It must be stamped and signed by the relevant government authority.

Bonds and guarantees give international customers extra confidence that sellers will meet their part of a deal. It has become increasingly common, particularly in international trade, for a buyer to request that a bank guarantee or bond be provided on behalf of their seller. This provides a means of securing performance or other obligations under the terms of a contract.

They provide the beneficiary with access to a sum of money should the seller fail to fulfil contractual or other obligations in respect of an underlying transaction, contract or order.

A third party who promises to provide payment on a bond, loan, or other liability in the event of default.

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, generally referred to as the 'Harmonized System', or simply 'HS', is a multipurpose international product nomenclature developed by the World Customs Organization (WCO). It comprises about 5,000 commodity groups each identified by a six-digit code. The system is used as a basis for customs tariffs and for the collection of international trade statistics. Over 98% of the merchandise in international trade is classified in terms of the HS. These codes are also known as 'H.S. Codes', 'Tariff Codes' or 'Commodity Codes'.

Please see GOV.UK for more information.

Haulier a business or a person involved in a haulage business that transports goods by road

Haulage is the business of transporting goods by road or rail between suppliers and large consumer outlets, factories, warehouses, or depots. This includes everything we might wish to move in bulk - from vegetables and other foodstuffs, to clothes, ore, coal, and other supplies

Stands for Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs; this is the body which oversees customs and tax matters within the United Kingdom.

The HMRC penalty system aims to encourage accurate declarations and compliance with the law. Civil penalties can range from a minimum £250 per offence up to a maximum of £2,500.

The part of UK government responsible for immigration, security and law and order.

Most import clearing agents will enter goods to customs under home use. This declares the goods are to remain in the UK/EU.

A form of transport document issued by a freight forwarder, rather than the main carrier of the goods. This type of document may not be allowed when goods are sold with a letter of credit.

A form of transport document issued by a freight forwarder, rather than the main carrier of the goods. This type of document may not be allowed when goods are sold with a letter of credit.

ICS (Import Control System) is the electronic security declaration management system for the importation of goods into the European Union customs territory. This EU regulation came into force at the end of 2010. This is the system that links with GVMS and CDS to confirm the import of goods from the UK. Effectively a pre lodgement is made into ICS advising the customs authority in the port of entry what to expect and what measures or support may need to be put in place to receive those goods.

A document required and issued by some national governments authorising the importation of goods into their individual countries.

Regulates a small proportion of imported industrial goods that require import licences.

Use IPAFFS to notify enforcement authorities about imports of the following products from the EU and European Economic Area (EEA):

- live animals
- germinal products
- products of animal origin (POAO) under safeguard measures
- high risk animal by-products (ABP)

The EEA includes EU countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.
You do not have to notify enforcement authorities about imports of the following products until 1 January 2022:

- POAO unless there’s a safeguard measure in place
- certain low-risk ABP
- high-risk food or feed not of animal origin (HRFNAO)

For further information, see GOV.UK, the Live Animal Movements guide, and the Controlled Goods guide.

Party responsible for completing the customs declarations for the arrival of the goods. This could be the sender, receiver or their intermediary and should be pre-agreed in the delivery terms.

Incoterms are internationally agreed commercial terms identifying the transfer of risk and the responsibilty for customs declarations, transportation, insurance and who bares the associated costs.

For further information, see the Incoterms® guide.

Moving goods for the export through the EU to non-EU countries, such as export consignments declared for export at a location in one member state that then exit the EU via another member state.

For further information, see the Export guide and the Indirect Export checklist.

Indirect representation means that the customs representative acts on behalf of another person but acts in their own name. The customs representative must maintain a full audit trail of the customs declaration. The Indirect representative shall be jointly and severally liable for all customs liabilities arising from the customs related transactions. Both parties are responsible for the declaration.

If an agent makes a customs declaration as an indirect representative of the principal, the agent and principal will be jointly liable for any customs debt. HMRC may seek payment from either the agent or the principal.

For further information, see the Agents and Intermediaries guide.

Intellectual property describes intangible assets or "creations of the mind" which enable a business to operate, and which are the property of the business or the individual. This can refer to trademarks, patents, industrial designs or copyright. Any business intending to trade internationally should protect all intellectual property effectively in all markets in which their product or service may be exposed. Traders are advised to seek expert advice from the UK Intellectual Property Office:

The Intrastat system collects statistics on the trade in goods within the EU. All VAT-registered businesses trading with other EU member states must provide details of the total value of goods dispatched to other EU member states and the total arrivals of goods acquired from other EU member states, on their VAT return. The supply of services, however, is excluded from Intrastat.

The Inventory Consignment Reference (ICR) is used to identify and link the inventory and declaration for inventory-linked goods.

For further information, see the TSS Data guide.

Inventory-linked locations, including ports and airports, are defined as 'Inventory-Linked Ports (ILPs)'. ILPs are those ports and airports that have customs control systems linked to HMRC systems, allowing for quick electronic clearance of goods on arrival to the port.

For further information, see the Inventory-Linked Ports guide.

A commercial document issued by a seller to a buyer, relating to a sale transaction and indicating the products, quantities, and agreed prices for products or services the seller had provided the buyer.

If you're authorised to use inward processing to process or repair your goods, you will not need to pay Customs Duty and import VAT on goods that you import from outside the UK and then re-export from the UK.

For further information, see the Special Procedures guide.

The Republic of Ireland or Southern Ireland is part of the European Union and a separate Customs Union to the UK, but the same epidemiological island as Northern Ireland (NI)

ISO country codes define 2- or 3-letter abbreviations for countries. The ISO code for the UK is GB.

A term used in conjunction with certificates of origin, particularly for shipments to Middle East destinations. A certificate of origin (and / or other documents) may have to be legalised (certified) by a representative of the destination country, usually the Embassy in the country of export. Legalisation is an additional form of verification over and above that which is undertaken by the chamber of commerce.

When goods are shipped by container (see above), a shipper may not have enough cargo to fill a container. Less than Container Load (or LCL.) services are operated by carriers or forwarders to cater for such shippers. LCL operators will receive small shipments from multiple shippers at receiving depots in the country of export, and consolidate them into cost-effective full container shipments, charging each shipper for the weight or volume of cargo shipped, and issuing a transport document (usually a Bill of lading) to each client. On arrival in the destination country, goods will be deconsolidated from containers at a freight depot, for transfer or delivery to the client.

Similar services can also apply when goods are transported by road or air; in such cases they are typically known as "groupage" or "consolidation" services respectively.

A letter of credit is a written undertaking given by a Bank to pay the seller (the beneficiary) an amount of money within a specified time, provided that the beneficiary presents specified documents which are in compliance with the terms of the letter of credit. This is to lower the risk of non-payment of the Import or Export of goods for both the Importer and Exporter, while verifying the precise terms and conditions which must be met in order to obtain payment and when that payment will be received.

Some goods require export and/or import licences, like certain military, paramilitary, dual-use goods and technology, artworks, plants and animals, medicines, or chemicals. Exporting or importing controlled goods without the right licence is a criminal offence.

For further information, see the Controlled Goods guide.

The LRN is the declarant's unique number for a consignment and cannot be duplicated. Each transit declaration require a separate LRN.

For further information, see the TSS Data guide.

In order to comply with the legal obligations and to place goods under a customs procedure, a customs declaration needs to be lodged. The declaration should be lodged with the customs office where the goods were or will shortly be presented.

MCP is the Community Systems Provider (CSP) at Londonderry port.

A group of Declaration Unique Consignment References (DUCRs) into one MUCR reference number. A container could typically have 1 MUCR linked to 10 DUCRs. A ship or flight could have 1 MUCR linked to 10,000 DUCRs.

For further information, see the TSS Data guide.

MiB goods are generally carried as accompanied baggage or in private vehicles for trade or business use. Depending on the reasons for the journey, whether they are a temporary or permanent import/export, or merely in transit, the rules state that they may be liable to customs charges. Failure to declare them at the Red Point of Entry could result in seizure and/or a fine.

For further information, see the Merchandise in Baggage guide.

The ways in which a declarant can fulfil the payment of duties to HMRC.

For further information, see the Payments guide.

A code additional to the commodity code, which should be used when making a declaration for import or export of goods containing certain types of milk and sugars

The principle of Most Favoured Nation treatment means that, unless a preferential agreement is in place, the same rate of duty, on the same goods, must be charged to all WTO members equally.

The Movement Assistance Scheme (MAS) is to support the movement of agrifood goods from GB-NI. MAS will help you by; offering general advice and support through a contact centre, and provides financial support for certain certification costs up to a set amount.

For further information, see the Controlled Goods guide.

This enables importers to import goods from certain countries at a reduced or nil rate of duty under specific trade agreements with the beneficiary countries.

A number issued to a consignment after importing customs have conducted safety and security validation of the data. The MRN confirms that the goods are allowed to be shipped.

For further information, see the TSS Data guide.

The single UK national site that handles the movement of third country goods and processes goods transiting the EU. It replaced the separate entry processing units that used to operate at major ports and airports.

The system for declaring all exports from the UK to third countries to customs. NES operates as an electronic interface with Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF).

For further information, see the Export guide.

The New Computerised Transit System (NCTS) is a system of electronic declaration and processing that traders must use to submit Common Transit declarations. You can also use NCTS to submit Transports Internationaux Routiers (TIR) declarations electronically if you’re in Northern Ireland.

Please refer to this guidance.

NIDOM is used in the Goods Domestic Status field in TSS where goods are already in free circulation within the UK.

NIIMP is used in the Goods Domestic Status field in TSS for goods imported from Rest of World (RoW) and for goods moving from customs special procedures.

Note: Within TSS, RoW is considered all countries excluding those in the UK and the EU.

NI Additional Information Codes. Goods not 'at risk' should use NIREM. Within subsidy limit and claiming waiver/subsidy should use NIAID.

For further information, see the TSS Data guide.

A statement, normally on an Invoice, stating the goods are not controlled and thus no Licence is required.

For further information, see the Tariffs guide.

Standard goods that do not require and additional controls, licenses or procedures

Non-preferential origin confers an 'economic nationality' on goods. It is used for determining the origin of products subject to all kinds of commercial policy measures (such as anti-dumping measures and quantitative restrictions) or tariff quotas.

The Northern Ireland Tariff can be accessed via the UK Global Tariff. The NI tariff has been created specifically for goods that are deemed 'at risk' of moving from the UK to the EU and will be subject to EU duties, taxes and controls. The NI Tariff is based on the EU Tariff and has been established to support the movement of goods between the UK and NI since 01/01/2021.

For further information, see the GOV.UK NI Online Tariff Tool.

The Northern Ireland Protocol exists to ensure that the progress that the people of Northern Ireland have made in the 22 years since the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement is secured into the future. Please refer to this guidance.

Transit - the office of departure or authorised consignor (your own or an agent’s premises) where your movement will start.

For further information, see the Transit guide.

Transit - the office of destination or authorised consignee (your own or an agent’s premises) where your movement will end.

For further information, see the Transit guide.

Offices where movements under the Community and Common Transit procedures can start and end.

For further information, see the Transit guide.

If you import goods into Northern Ireland for onward supply to an EU country, you may be able to claim VAT relief. The VAT is then accounted for in the final EU destination country that the goods are forwarded to.

For further information, see the Special Procedures guide.

Allows the export of specific goods by any exporter to a range of destinations. Open licences may be available for less restricted controlled items.

An oral declaration is one of the ways that commercial goods can be declared to customs at import, at the goods to declare channel or the red phone point in the customs area of a port or airport.

For further information, see this GOV.UK guidance.

The 'economic nationality' of goods, as determined by the rules of origin.

A Customs Special Procedure that allows EU traders to temporarily export free circulation goods from the EU for processing/repair in a non-EU country and then claim full or partial duty relief when the goods are re-imported. OP also enables faulty goods to be returned to a third country for repair with re-import to the EU with reduced or nil duty liability.

For further information, see the Special Procedures guide.

A complete list of what is being sent in a consignment. Customs and border authorities need the packing list so that they can find what they want to inspect more quickly.

The Association of Port Health Authorities is responsible for health controls at sea and airports, with the primary objective of preventing the introduction into the country of dangerous epidemic, contagious and infectious diseases and ensuring the wholesomeness of imported food.

An online service or postal form (C81) to make an amendment to export declarations.

Postponed VAT Accounting was introduced in January 2021 to allow UK VAT registered importers to account for and recover import VAT on the same VAT return, subject to the normal rules on import tax deduction.

Essentially, rather than pay import VAT when your goods are imported into the UK, and then reclaim the VAT on your VAT return, PVA allows you to both declare and reclaim the import VAT on your VAT return. Meaning no cash is transferred and your VAT liability is neutral (as the amount you pay is offset by the amount you reclaim).

For further information, see GOV.UK.

Preferential origin is conferred on goods from particular countries, which have fulfilled certain criteria. In order to obtain preferential origin those criteria generally require that the goods be wholly obtained or have undergone specifically determined working or processing.

Preferential origin confers certain tariff benefits (entry at a reduced or zero rate of duty) on goods traded between countries which have agreed such an arrangement or where one side has granted it autonomously.

Please refer to this guidance.

Preferential Tariff can be claimed where the rules of origin have been met and preferential duty rates can be claimed due to specific trade agreements between the UK and third countries.

For further information, see the Tariffs guide.

Preferential trade is a trading agreement that gives more favourable access to certain products from the participating countries. This means that manufactured goods may enter those countries at a lower customs duty rates. Preferential trade can occur either within a Free Trade Area, or between countries or trading blocs which sign Free Trade Agreements.

A PBN is a 'virtual envelope' where the details of the Master Reference Numbers (MRN's) of all the customs declarations relating to the goods are held together in one place under a unique identifier called the PBN ID.

The creation of the PBN is the responsibility of the Haulier who may delegate this function to their supply chain partners. These can include the declarant, importer, exporter, clearance agent or logistics company.

The custom declarations to cover all the goods, including multiple consignments, on the vehicle must be pre-lodged to Revenue in advance of the goods departing for the Ferry Terminal in Great Britain or Ireland. Any pre-notification requirements for goods subject to sanitary and phytosanitary checks (SPS) must also be completed.

For further information, please refer to this guidance or the TSS Data guide.

Goods entered to customs prior to arrival. The export and import paperwork are both completed before the vehicle checks in at the port of departure.

This is a four digit code and is used to identify the requested procedure the goods are going into (such as Free Circulation), and the previous procedure they are coming from (for example, Customs Warehousing).

For further information, see GOV.UK.

An advance draft of a sales invoice, which can act as a format for a sales offer, or may be used to facilitate payment in advance by a client. A proforma invoice may also be requested by a client in order to secure an import licence, foreign exchange or to initiate a letter of credit.

Prohibited and Restricted (P&R) goods are subject to regulations preventing the import or export of goods that may only be imported or exported under certain conditions. Such goods may require special licences or authorisations to enable goods movements. Prohibitions are often connected with embargoes and sanctions, as well as the safety of persons, flora and fauna, with an aim to maintain or restore international peace and security. Permissions to move P&R goods will sometimes specify a limit or quota which a business is not allowed to exceed.

For more information, see the Controlled goods guide.

An import quota is a limit on the amount of certain goods that can be brought into the UK.

A rate lower than the standard VAT rate in the UK of 20% as of February 2019. This rate can depend on what the item is as well as the circumstances of the sale.

REX allows an invoice declaration to be used as evidence of origin. To be entitled to make out a statement on origin, a business will have to be registered by the customs authorities.

Rest of World excluding the European Union (RoW excluding EU) means any country outside of the UK and EU. Importing goods from the RoW excluding EU may incur duties and taxes on import, although these duties and taxes may be reduced or zero depending upon specific trade agreements.

For further information, see the Full Frontier Declaration guide.

Goods that have been returned within 3 years and which have not undergone a process may qualify for Returned Goods Relief (RGR).

For further information, see the Special Procedures guide.

A relief from import duties that can be claimed when free circulating goods that were previously exported out of the customs territory/UK are being reimported in an unaltered state. The goods must be reimported within 3 years of export, although an extension may be granted.

For further information, see the Special Procedures guide.

Roll on Roll off refers to goods being transported by wheeled freight via a ship or ferry.

The WTO rules of origin are used to determine the country of origin ('economic nationality') of a product for purposes of international trade, where there is not a free trade agreement between the relevant countries. Country of origin is important for customs as duties and/or restrictions may depend upon the source of imports. Governments may apply different criteria to determining the country of origin of goods for trade purposes.

Sanctions are political trade restrictions put in place against target countries with the aim of maintaining or restoring international peace and security.

Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) goods are a category of controlled goods (related with animal or plant elements) that require additional certificates and licences.

For further information, see the Controlled goods guide.

The Scheme for Temporary Agri-food Movements to Northern Ireland (STAMNI) Compliance Declaration enables authorised traders to use a simplified certification for shipments, primarily food items, that comply with the DEFRA guidelines.

For further information, see the Controlled Goods guide.

A sum of money held in trust by HMRC against future taxes or duties owed on goods movements.

Confirmation that the goods have been loaded and dispatched for shipment on a maritime vessel. This clause is usually inserted onto a Bill of Lading (See Above), with conformation of the vessel name and date of international departure.

A short shipment describes the absence, non-delivery, or incomplete fulfilment of cargo on a shipping list. The term is used when cargo is not dispatched on the international vessel or flight which it was booked onto.

The Simplified Customs Declaration Procedure (SCDP) has been introduced
by HMRC as an updated term for the Customs Freight Simplified Procedures (CFSP) (see above).

When a business/trader is authorised to use Customs Freight Simplified Procedures (CFSP), goods that arrive from outside the UK (previously outside EU), an initial simplified frontier declaration (SFD) is submitted by the trader to allow the release of the goods.

The Simplified Frontier Declaration is part of the customs declarations on the TSS simplified journey. A Simplified Frontier Declaration, usually auto-generated by TSS from the information provided in the Entry Summary Declaration, is made before the goods movement using a simplified data set. It is the responsibility of the Importer to ensure the Simplified Frontier Declaration is submitted.

See guidance on how to create an ENS here; creating an ENS will automatically generate an SFD. If you are moving certain goods under special procedures, see this guide on how to create a standalone SFD.

The TSS simplified journey allows businesses to move goods from GB into NI by making a simplified declaration before the goods move and then providing the full information about the goods after they have moved. This is the most common journey on TSS. The TSS simplified journey requires:

  1. a safety and security declaration, the Entry Summary (ENS) Declaration, which must be done prior to the goods entering NI (usually completed by the carrier) and
  2. the customs declarations, which is divided into multiple steps:
    • A Simplified Frontier Declaration (SFD), usually auto-generated by TSS from the information provided in the Entry Summary Declaration, made before goods movement using a simplified data set
    • A Supplementary Declaration, requiring a full data set which is always completed after the goods move and used to close the customs journey and pay any required duties and other charges Submission of the Supplementary Declaration in TSS is required by 9pm on the fourth working day of the month following the goods movement. Submission of the Supplementary Declaration is the responsibility of the importer of record, as indicated by the Importer EORI on the TSS Simplified Frontier Declaration.
    • A Final Supplementary Declaration, detailing the number of Supplementary Declarations finalised for a reporting period (i.e., arrivals with Tax point date in the previous calendar month) compared to the Supplementary Declarations due; which TSS will automatically submit on your behalf

Import customs declarations are based on the information required on the SAD (known as a C88 in the UK). It is either completed by the importer or by their appointed agent on their behalf, for instance a freight forwarder.

SIVA stands for Simplified VAT accounting possible. It is a scheme that allows businesses to reduce the level of financial guarantee needed to operate a duty deferment account for VAT purposes.

The SME Brexit Support Fund could give you up to £2,000 to help with training or professional advice, if your business has up to 500 employees and no more than £100 million annual turnover.

A SIEL allows the export of a quantity of specified goods to a specified importer as set out in the licence.

The standard rate of VAT in the UK is 20%. Most goods and services are standard-rated.

British currency (GBP) - Sterling is the unit of currency of the United Kingdom.

The Strategic Export Control List is a consolidated list of strategic military and dual-use items that requires authorisation before export is permitted.

A sum of money granted by a state to support an industry or business.

The primary form of subsidy that TSS users can claim is de minimis aid, using a customs duty waiver. Please see the definition of de minimis aid above for further information.

Goods whose production involved materials from more than one country will originate in the country where the last substantial or sufficient transformation occurred. For instance, goods being converted from one commodity code to another.

The Declaration Assistant tool will help you identify the completion requirements for your supplementary declaration. Part C of the assistant also gives examples of how goods in a consignment can be grouped under a single commodity code. Please read carefully the criteria in the tool to see if your goods movement can use the assistant.

Following a Customs Freight Simplified Procedures (CFSP) released via simplified frontier declaration (SFD), full details of the consignment are submitted via a post-movement Supplementary Declaration (SDI), which is used to close the customs journey and pay any required duties and other charges

The Supplementary Declaration is part of the customs declarations on the TSS simplified journey. The Supplementary Declaration requires a full data set which is always completed after the goods move and is used to close the customs journey and pay any required duties and other charges. Submission of the Supplementary Declaration in TSS is required by 9pm on the fourth working day of the month following the goods movement. Submission of the Supplementary Declaration is the responsibility of the importer of record, as indicated by the Importer EORI on the TSS Simplified Frontier Declaration.

For further information, see the Supplementary declarations guide.

Certain goods benefit from a temporary suspension or reduction of Customs Duty. This is designed to allow manufacturing industries within the EU to compete on equal terms with non-EU producers of finished products. It permits the complete or partial suspension of import duties on components or raw materials for further processing.

For further information, see the Tariffs guide.

Used for goods temporarily imported for a specific use for a limited time, such as for an exhibition.

For further information, see the Special Procedures guide.

An approved place situated within an appointed area, generally within an approved port/airport, where goods are held in temporary storage until they are assigned a customs approved treatment or use, such as being placed under a customs procedure or re-exported.

Administers the UK's system of export controls and licensing for military and dual-use items.

Another name for Volume 2 of the UK Trade Tariff. The Tariff sets out the duties and measures affecting the import, export and transit of goods to and from the UK.

TRACES NT is the European Commission's online platform for sanitary and phytosanitary certification required for the importation of animals, animal products, food and feed of non-animal origin and plants into the European Union, and the intra-EU trade and EU exports of animals and certain animal products.

Trade policy tools which allow governments to take remedial action against imports which are harmful to domestic industry. An example is antidumping duties.

A Transit Accompanying Document (TAD), will be issued by the office of departure or authorised consignor when the transit movement is started. It will show a barcode and the movement reference number that will match your transit declaration. It must accompany your goods under transit from the point they start their journey until the transit journey is ended together with any licences needed.

For further information, see the Transit guide.

The EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement concluded between the EU and the UK sets out preferential arrangements in areas such as trade in goods and in services, digital trade, intellectual property, public procurement, aviation and road transport, energy, fisheries, social security coordination, law enforcement and judicial cooperation in criminal matters, thematic cooperation and participation in Union programmes. It is underpinned by provisions ensuring a level playing field and respect for fundamental rights.

If you are a trader or carrier that moves goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, you need to register for the Trader Support Service or make other arrangements to be ready to submit declarations. If you are not ready you will not be able to move goods between the regions.

The Trader Support Service will raise declarations on your behalf for free. Training and support is available now.

Trading Standards are the local authority departments that enforce consumer protection legislation.

The price paid by the buyer when goods are sold by the seller in a normal commercial transaction. If goods have been sold to more than one buyer (wholesaler to distributor, for example) it is the last sale price in the commercial chain before goods cross the border.

A movement of goods under a transit customs procedure allows the suspension of duties, taxes and commercial policy measures applicable to imports moving between two points via different Customs territories.

The Transit service provided by TSS is free-to-use for traders registered with the service wishing to move goods from GB to NI via IE. Both the haulier and importer need to be registered with TSS to use the transit service. If the haulier and importer have not yet registered with TSS, please see the Registration guide for registration assistance and guidance.

For further information, see the Transit guide.

A Transit Guarantee is a financial security that is activated if the goods are lost during movement or discharged incorrectly. If activated, the customs authorities in the country of transit will call on the declarant to pay any import VAT, customs duty and other charges.

For further information, see the Transit guide.

Trade Tariff that applies for movements under the Border Operating Model (BOM), Movements between GB and third countries.

This is an online search tool for import and export commodity codes and for tax, duty and licences that apply to your goods.

Commodity codes classify goods for import and export so you can:

  • fill in declarations and other paperwork.
  • check if there’s duty or VAT to pay.
  • find out about duty reliefs.
  • Confirm import or export controls and conditions on specific commodity codes

For the trade tariff relevant for movements under the Northern Ireland Protocol, see the NI Online Tariff.

For further information, see the Tariffs guide.

HRMC guidance that includes how to classify goods by commodity code, duty, excise and VAT rates and preferential trade agreements and restrictions on goods, licences and permits.

For further information, see the Tariffs guide.

If you want to declare your goods not 'at risk’ and the EU tariff rate on these goods is above zero, you can apply for authorisation under the UK Trader Scheme. Registration with UKTS allows you to select a simplified process where your goods are confirmed as remaining in the UK and thus will not be subject to any EU duties or taxes when moving between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Please see GOV.UK for more information.

The Union Customs Code (UCC) defines the legal framework for customs rules and procedures in the EU customs territory, adapted to modern trade models and communication tools.

A number generated by Customs shed operators or Port operators which identifies your Shipment with Customs, Freight Carrier and Port / Airport.

For further information, see the TSS Data guide.

The costs that Customs Duty is levied on. This is the value of goods (minus any discounts) + insurance + freight + delivery costs to the customer's location.

Value Added Tax is a general, broadly-based consumption tax assessed on the value added to goods and services. VAT is charged as a percentage of the declared value, either at standard, reduced or zero rate.

Zero-rated means that the goods are still VAT-taxable, but the rate of VAT charged to customers is 0%.

The cost of a shipment can be affected by the amount of space that it occupies on an aircraft or ship, rather than the actual weight. This is the volumetric (or dimensional) weight.

Generally freight charges are calculated on the actual weight of the goods plus packing (gross weight) but if the goods are a low weight but large in volume then the freight carrier may charge for the amount of space the goods use. In this case an estimated weight is calculated from the length, width and height of a package.

The concept of volumetric weight has been adopted by the transportation industry worldwide as a uniform means of establishing a minimum charge for the cubic space a package occupies.

You can claim a waiver for duty on goods you bring into Northern Ireland from Great Britain which might otherwise be charged ‘at risk’ tariffs if you have not exceeded the allowances at the point your import declaration is submitted.

For further information, see the Customs duty waiver and de minimis aid guide.

Warehousing is the act of storing goods that will be sold or distributed later.

A form of transport document; waybills are frequently issued by small parcel or express courier companies, although many operators no longer issue paper documents. The term "waybill" is also used as a generic term for an unspecified transport document.

A wholly origination good can originate in the country it was born, farmed, fished, mined, grown, dug out of the ground.

The World Customs Organization (WCO) represents 182 Customs administrations across the globe that collectively process approximately 98% of world trade.

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