The Taxation (Cross-Border Trade) 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.
As the rules governing customs are mostly in EU law that is directly applicable in the UK, and existing UK legislation is insufficient to establish a standalone customs regime, leaving the EU will mean that the UK will require new domestic legislation.
The Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Bill does not presuppose any particular outcome from the negotiations. In assessing the options for the UK’s future customs relationship with the EU (and therefore, how the government uses the powers in the Bill), the government 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
The government previously set out its plans to legislate for the UK’s future customs, VAT and excise regimes in its Customs Bill White Paper.