On 7 December 2023, the government announced a package of customs simplification measures to simplify export and import processes for traders. These measures are aimed at supporting the UK government’s goal of having “the world’s most effective border” under its 2025 UK Border Strategy (our previous blog on that here), developed in 2020 to “simplify processes to traders, improve the security and biosecurity of the UK, and embrace innovation“. Together these improvements in the following six areas are expected to reduce the administrative burden on businesses and facilitate trade:

  1. The simplification of customs declaration: the government plans to simplify customs declarations for both imports and exports following consultations (see here) by reducing by up to a quarter the number of data fields traders have to complete. The timeline for implementing these changes will be informed by an ongoing dialogue with stakeholders, which will also consider the wider role that technology can play as part of HMRC and wider government border transformation programs.
  2. Strategic review of Temporary Admission: the government will launch a strategic review into the Temporary Admission procedure which allows goods to be brought into the UK on a temporary basis without paying import duties (see here). The government is likely to explore improving the scope of eligibility criteria, conditions of use, and timing requirements across the board or in respect of specific sectors. The government will engage further with stakeholders in early 2024.
  3. Modernising Authorisations: new measures have been announced to continue to streamline and digitise the government’s customs and excise authorisation process. Since the Spring Budget 2023, the government has reviewed the authorisation application forms and commenced the co-design process of a Modernising Authorisations policy with industry partners. Now, the government plans to update and introduce new authorisation guidance and legislation in 2024 to deliver these changes, and will continue to co-design Modernising Authorisations with industry.The new customer portal is slated to be launched in 2024 and plans to conclude delivery in 2025.
  4. Changes to customs guarantees for special procedures, temporary storage and duty deferment: changes will be made later in 2024 to allow more traders to access customs procedures which allow them to delay duty payment without a requirement to pay for financial guarantee. Going forward, guarantees will not be required from approved traders for duty deferment accounts below £30,000 (tripling from £10,000). Guarantees will also only be required from a small minority of traders authorised for special procedures and temporary storage. 
  5. Transit policy simplifications: the government has announced three improvements to the transit process to make it simpler, cheaper, and more accessible. These are (i) authorised consignees will no longer be required to physically unload goods at their approved locations to end a transit movement; (ii) the requirement to submit an export declaration when goods under transit are loaded onto ships, trains or planes in Great Britain for use or consumption on board has been removed; and (iii) introduction of a new simple digital process to allow authorised consignors to quickly and easily add a client’s premises to their authorisation to start transit movements from these locations.The first two changes have been in force since 7 December 2023, while the final change will be introduced in 2024.
  6. The introduction of a voluntary standard for customs intermediaries: the government will develop a voluntary standard for customs intermediaries following the responses on a consultation launched in June 2023 (see here). Currently, 99% of traders use intermediaries to support their customs declarations, and a voluntary standard would encourage improvements in quality and standards in the sector and help traders to distinguish the quality of providers. Starting in Spring 2024, the government intends to work with the British Standards Institution to develop a standard that is suitable for certification.  

Businesses should expect further details on the implementation of these measures in early 2024.


Jennifer is a Partner and head of Baker McKenzie's Customs & Excise Practice in London, and co-head of Baker McKenzie EMEA Customs group.


Rini joined Baker McKenzie after six years with the Canadian government, having worked on Brexit policy, as well in trade and tax litigation. She obtained her legal training with the Canadian government with the Trade Law Bureau and the Department of Justice. Her background in trade matters spans legal advisory, litigation and policy, having worked on free trade agreements, WTO litigation on market access and trade remedies issues. Prior to joining the Canadian government, she was a government affairs associate at one of Canada's most recognizable brands.