Lesley Batchelor 2
Lesley Batchelor

Member Article

IOE’s new customs diploma designed and driven by top companies

A new Diploma in World Customs Compliance and Regulation – the first of its kind in the UK – has been launched by the Institute of Export, in consultation with some of the world’s leading companies, including Nissan.

The formal qualification, launching in mid-September, will demystify the complexities of international compliance and customs procedures, and equip students with the knowledge to trade competently and profitably in the UK, Europe and across the world.

Being profitable when trading internationally involves a raft of complicated rules affecting both large and small businesses alike; a lack of knowledge - leading to errors - can be costly.

Lesley Batchelor, the Director General of the Institute of Export said: “We know of a university being billed for £125k for not completing a simplified Inward Processing Relief (IPR) Bill of Discharge when goods were re-exported.

“In another instance a company incurred a debt of half a million pounds after using a duty relief scheme for imports by charities, without fulfilling the conditions of the customs procedure.

“Other examples have seen an airline industry supplier import goods under their end use approval - but because the goods were imported to incorrect tariff codes and did not qualify for end use, they received a retrospective demand for £60k. A chemical company also incurred a cost of £220k because they did not have approval for removing waste materials which were left after goods had been imported under IPR.

“By undertaking our Diploma, businesses will receive a comprehensive and in-depth range of topics and knowledge in customs procedures and documentation covering the UK and European Union - and Worldwide. The Diploma also includes project based assessments to demonstrate our students’ ability to apply the knowledge they have learnt.”

The idea for the Diploma stemmed from a meeting between Lesley Batchelor and Steven Sandell, of the Nissan Group, to discuss a training need that Steven had identified.

He explained: “I looked everywhere to find a relevant qualification that would help our staff to understand all the implications of customs. I had a very clear view of what we wanted and was surprised that it wasn’t available anywhere in the UK. There is a lot of good training throughout the UK & Europe - courses which cover many of the rules, processes, procedures & legislation with regards to Customs/Import/Export - however, it was all-encompassing, formal qualification was lacking in the UK.”

A dedicated team from the IOE, including IOE Council member Sandra Strong, and a steering group consisting of leading UK companies: Nissan, Sony, Amber Road, Adidas, BAE, BIS Export Controls, Ryan Consulting, Tesco, Grosvenor EU, Mike Hodge Associates and Barbara Scott, Chair of The Customs Practitioners Group, helped to design and drive through the new qualification.

The IOE’s own research highlighted some significant issues that the new Diploma will address. These include:

  • A lack of awareness by staff of the risks involved with different methods of payment and the implications that has for a company. This can result in incomplete documents being submitted, which may invalidate the payment tool used by the customer – leaving the manufacturer with no real protection for the sale. Letters of credit alone represent over 70% of incorrect submissions to banks.
  • Shipping issues are likewise another bugbear; using a freight forwarder does not permit the manufacturer to abdicate their paperwork responsibilities. No matter how efficient the forwarding agent, it is still the manufacturer who is ultimately responsible for any errors – irrespective of whether they are to blame.
  • Use of incorrect commodity codes because the tariff and the explanatory notes are not understood, which can result in duty demands up to £45k.
  • Undervaluation of goods – if goods are declared at freight inclusive price, but the contract is Freight (Free) on Board (FOB), this can result in huge back duty demands (and a lot of management time sorting it out).
  • Wrong currency declared - often a repeated mistake because, once the data is set in the system for a supplier, it gets used in error time and again
  • Mis-declaration of origin - importing with invalid Generalised System Preferences (GSP) Forms has been known to put companies out of business. Even valid forms must be declared correctly – one business lost its claims to GSP reduced duty status when the agent declared the goods under a duty free preference requiring EUR forms to be provided.

The Diploma is a modular course designed to offer a programme of flexible learning that students can take up to four year to complete if they wish. Most will take between 15 and 18 months to gain their qualification.

The Diploma enrolment fee is £1,250.00, plus an annual charge of £60 for student membership. This will be in addition to assessment fees of £130 per module – although these are only due as and when students take the assessments. There is also an option to take specific modules individually priced at £500 per module (subject to membership and assessment fees). For more information about the Diploma, contact education@export.org.uk.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Lesley Batchelor .

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