Many Dutch companies too late to prepare for no-deal Brexit: Customs

Customs sent letters to 72,277 Dutch entrepreneurs who do business with the United Kingdom to warn them of the consequences of a no-deal Brexit. Most of them are still poorly prepared, and for many of them it is already too late, Customs director Nanette van Schelven said to Financieele Dagblad.

Customs is not being "overwhelmed" by entrepreneurs who want access to the customs system, Van Schelven said. Depending on what sector a company is in, making preparations for a no-deal Brexit could take anything between 2 and 12 months. Van Schelven emphasized that customs can not make exceptions. "Customs formalities are customs formalities. We can make no choices in that."

If the UK leaves the European Union with no agreements in place, border control will suddenly become a lot more stringent and complicated. The UK will no longer form part of the customs union, which means the country will fall under the same rules and requirements as all other non-EU countries. 

A no-deal Brexit will particularly affect entrepreneurs working with food and food-related products. The requirements and procedures around these products will change significantly. The Dutch food and consumer product safety authority NVWA assumes that all goods from the United Kingdom will have to be checked in the event of a no-deal Brexit. The NVWA therefore hired and is training 143 additional staff, including a hundred veterinarians.

Companies who do business with the UK will at least need to have an EORI number, be able to file declarations in the customs system, and request a 'registration of electronic messages'.