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The Common User Charge: Key Questions Answered

Ahead of the second implementation stage of the Border Target Operating Model (BTOM), which will see the introduction of risk-based consignment checks at Border Control Points (BCPs), the government has confirmed the rates importers will need to pay to bring SPS goods through these government run BCPs. Ahead, we answer some key questions traders might have.  


What is the common user charge? 

The common user charge has been introduced by the government to cover the costs of operating the government-run border control posts introduced to manage the controlled import of sanitary and phytosanitary goods as part of the Border Target Operating Model.  


When will the charge apply? 

Beginning on April 30th 2024, the Common User Charge will apply to commercial imports and transits from all countries of animal, plants and plant products moved through the Port of Dover and Eurotunnel or eligible for SPS checks at a government-run border control post starting on 30 April 2024.   


Are there any exceptions? 

If you import low risk plants and plant products, the charge will not apply. Though, if you pre-notify these goods on IPAFFS, you might still be charged. Plants and plant products checked at inland control points rather than government run BCPs will not be subject to a common user charge either. The fees will not be charged either on plants or plant products moving from one country to another via Great Britain. 


Who is responsible for paying the charge?  

The company who submits the Common Health Entry Document via IPAFFs will be invoiced for the common user charge.  


How is the charge calculated? 

Importers will be charged for each commodity line that they enter into their Common Health Entry Document (CHED). The exact charges are outlined in the below table and vary depending on the product, risk level and whether the goods are being imported or transited through GB: 

Commodity type 

Imports 

Transits 

Low-risk products of animal origin (POAO) 

£10 

£10 

Medium-risk POAO 

£29 

£10 

High-risk POAO 

£29 

£10 

Low-risk plants and plant products 

no common user charge 

no common user charge 

Medium-risk plants and plant products 

£29 

no common user charge 

High-risk plants and plant products 

£29 

no common user charge 

 

The maximum charge will be capped at 5 commodity lines even if more commodity lines are listed on the CHED. As a result, medium and high-risk CHEDs will not exceed £145 and Low risk CHEDs and transits will be capped at £50.  


How will I be billed? 

DEFRA have confirmed that they will bill importers monthly and in arrears. The first invoices, for instance, will be issued no earlier than 12 weeks following 30 April 2024.  


Are there any other fees I need to be aware of? 

Importers of SPS goods might have to pay additional inspection fees charged by Port Health Authorities and the Animal and Plant Health Agency. Privately run BCPs and Ports are responsible for setting their own fees, so traders moving goods through these might face varying charges. 


For support complying with BTOM requirements and importing SPS goods into GB, contact our international trade specialists at info@teesglobal.co.uk

 

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