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Trading in 2024: Key Date for your Diary

With 2024 well underway, the government’s long-awaited Border Target Operating Model

imminent and lots of changes in customs compliance planned for the year ahead, we review need-to-know dates for your diary and signpost to some helpful resources to support you through these changes. 


BTOM begins  

This month will bring the introduction of the Border Target Operating Model. Importers of medium-risk animal products, plants and plant product as well as high-risk food and feed from the EU will require an export health certificate issued by the competent authority in the country of origin before they can bring these goods into the UK. It is crucial that importers understand which risk category their products belong to in order to determine their responsibilities. For advice on categorising your goods by risk, see our BTOM guide.  

After this date, all importers will be unable to use the 999L waiver code when declaring ‘ex-heading goods’, which do not require a licence but belong to a commodity code covering some items that do. Traders can find the appropriate replacement code here.


Switch over from CHIEF to CDS for exporters 

From March 31st, exporters will be required to use the Customs Declaration Service (CDS) to complete export declarations, and the previous system, CHIEF, will be retired. Whether self-declaring or using a customs broker, all exporters should ensure they are subscribed to use this service here and, if submitting their own declarations, check their customs software systems support export declarations through CDS. Once subscribed, traders completing their own declarations should make use of the Trader Dress Rehearsal Service (TDR) through their software provider to ensure they are familiar with the system. 


Physical checks at Border Control Posts on SPS goods   

Medium-risk Sanitary Phyto-sanitary (SPS) goods, including animal products, plants and plant products, imported from the EU will be subject to both documentary and physical checks from April 30th onwards.   

High-risk SPS imports are already subject to physical checks on import, and this process will continue into 2024.  

Crucially, physical and identity checks on SPS imports will move from Place of Destination (PoD) to a designated Border Control Post (BCP) after this date. All SPS goods, then, will need to enter GB through a point of entry with a Border Control Post that can carry out these checks. A list of approve Border Control posts can be found here.

Low risk SPS goods from outside the EU, meanwhile, will no longer require health certificates or routine border checks.  

Again, it’s crucial that importers of SPS goods understand which risk category their products belong to. For advice on categorising your goods by risk, see our BTOM guide. 


Roll out of ‘red lane – green lane’ system under the Windsor Framework  

September 30th will see the full roll-out of the ‘green lane’ system as part of the UK Internal Market Scheme agreed under the Windsor Framework. Goods between GB and NI will move on a ‘green lane – red lane’ system. All goods not at risk of entering the EU will move on a ‘green lane’ duty-free and without customs declarations. Traders will need to be registered to use this service. Users of the existing UK Trader Scheme (UKTS) should have been contacted in 2023 to apply to the new scheme whilst those not currently registered can apply online.  


Safety and Security Declarations required on EU imports  

Whilst goods from the EU and other qualifying territories were covered by a waiver meaning full safety and security declarations were not required during the EU exit transition period, from October 31st, such imports will now require a full safety and security declaration to be submitted ahead of their arrival in GB.  Since carriers are liable for submitting this declaration, for most shipment this requirement will be covered as part of the Entry Summary Declaration (ENS) sent by their shipping line, air carrier or haulage company if the goods are coming into the UK accompanies. Importers should contact their contracted carriers if they have any concerns or queries about S&S declarations.  

For more support navigating SPS controls and customs formalities, get in touch with our International Trade specialists at  

All dates are correct at the time of publication. Sign up to our weekly newsletter to ensure you receive the latest updates and guidance on issues affecting traders.  

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