Skip to main content

The “post-Brexit customs and excise” Bill

Next Discussed




This Bill will give the Government the ability to establish a standalone customs regime, and ensure that VAT and excise legislation operates effectively, following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

The Government stated that the Bill will allow the Government to:

  • charge and vary customs duty on goods;
  • specify which goods are subject to what duty;
  • set preferential or additional duties in certain circumstances;
  • to support developing countries by offering preferential treatment;
  • ensure that value-added tax (VAT) and excise legislation function effectively upon EU exit.


Most of the rules that govern UK customs and cross-border taxation are in EU law, because at the moment the UK trades as an EU member state. However that means that existing UK legislation is insufficient to establish a standalone customs regime after the UK leaves the EU and will mean that the UK will require new domestic legislation.

The details of this Bill will depend on the outcome of the ongoing negotiations between the UK and the EU on trade. The Bill itself does not make any assumptions about the shape of the trade deal, but the Government says that it will be guided by what delivers the greatest economic advantage to the UK, and by three strategic objectives:

  • ensuring UK-EU trade is as frictionless as possible
  • avoiding a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland
  • establishing an independent international trade policy.


This is a Treasury Bill from the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond MP

Other Arguments

As with all of these Brexit Bills the devil will be in the detail, and the detail will be dictated by the outcome (or lack of outcome) of the Government’s negotiations with the EU.

Anastassia Beliakova, Head of Trade Policy at the British Chambers of Commerce, said:

Businesses will expect this Bill to provide continuity and alignment with the Union Customs Code, and help establish future customs cooperation with the EU. But it is also imperative that the Government consults with business on how to improve our customs procedures as we leave the European Union. Firms tell us that they want clarity on the future of the UK’s VAT regime, and what our exit from the EU will mean for cross-border liabilities. HMRC must be given more resources, and adopt a clear focus on customer service, to enable them to support exporters and importers as they navigate the UK’s exit from the EU.

How to get involved

You can contact your MP

If I don’t act, will it go through?

This is a Government Bill so stands a strong chance of becoming law, however as with the other Bills concerning Brexit this Bill will be heavily scrutinised and amendments will be tabled.