The National Export System

What is the National Export Systemin the UK?

The National Export System is a computer based system which enables export declarations to be made electronically rather than manually.

What is meant by the term export?

An export is defined as the movement of commercial goods from the United Kingdom to a destination outside the European Union.

The National Export System therefore only applies to the exporting of goods outside the European Union.

What is the case in relation to goods exported from the UK within the European Union?

Goods which are exported from the UK to countries within the European Union benefit from the free movement of goods – one of the fundamental freedoms of the European Union. Accordingly there are no requirements in relation to the declaration of goods meaning that a system such as the National Export System is not required.

Mandatory system

For all exporters of goods from the UK to countries outside the European Union, the National Export System is a mandatory requirement.

Access to the system

How do I gain access to the National Export System?

The National Export System operates through a nationwide computer system which electronically controls and records all international cargo movements from the UK. This computer system is called Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF).

You must apply to HM Revenue and Customs in order to be provided with a CHIEF role and location. Once provided with a CHIEF role and location you will be able to use the National Export System.

In order to be provided with full access to the National Export System you must ensure that you are able to provide a valid Economic Operator Registration Number (EORI) for you company.

How do I declare exports through the National Export System?

There are three main ways in which an operator may declare exports through the National Export System. They are as follows:

  1. Standard Full Pre-entry Procedure

  2. Simplified Declaration Procedure      

  3. Local Clearance Procedure

Standard Full Pre-entry Procedure

For a standard full pre-entry procedure you or your agent must complete a full pre-shipment declaration.

There are two ways in which a declaration can be made. They can be done electronically to CHIEF or manually by completing a Single Administrative Document (SAD). Manual declarations will take longer to process.

What is the process in relation to goods moving through European Union Member States then outside the European Union?

Often goods will leave one European Union Member State being shipped to other European Union Member States then to another country which is outside the European Union. In this case an electronic system called the Export Control System (ECS) has been introduced which will provide messages confirming exit from the European Union being confirmed to the originating Member State.

Accordingly indirect exports will be accompanied by an Export Accompanying Document (EAD) which will contain a barcode. Once the goods have exited the European Union the barcode will be scanned and an electronic message will be sent to the originating Member State.

Simplified Declaration Procedure

In order to use the simplified declaration procedure the company must either be an authorised trader or an agent, and in either case be connected to CHIEF.

Following the simplified declaration procedure two declarations must be made:

  1. An abbreviated Pre-shipment Advice (PSA) before export

  2. A full Supplementary Declaration (SD) made within 14 days of shipment

Each consignment being shipped will be given a Unique Consignment Reference which must be quoted on both of the above declarations.

Local Clearance Procedure (LCP)

A Local Clearance Procedure is only open to authorised traders and agents. It enables declarations to be made from authorised inland premises.

The first thing to be done is that customs need to be notified of the shipment through CHIEF. Once permission has been provided by customs the goods should be removed from the LCP premises. The LCP goods will then arrive at the designated port or airport. Shipments that are being shipped directly from the UK to a country outside of the European Union can only be located with the permission of customs.

Once goods have been exported under a Local Clearance Procedure a full Supplementary Declaration (SD) must be made with 14 days of shipment.

Making an export declaration

When making an export declaration what kind of information do I need to provide?

When making an export declaration the following information needs to be provided:

  • You UK Trader Unique Reference Number if you are registered for VAT in the UK or your EORI number

  • Details of the individual to which the goods are to be consigned to

  • Details of the country of the final destination of the goods

  • A full description of the goods including their Commodity Code

  • Full details of the shipping or flight

  • The requisite Customs Procedure Code (CPC) for the goods

  • The correct value of the goods and their invoiced currency code

Restricted Goods

There are restrictions placed upon certain goods in relation to their export from the UK. If you wish to export restricted goods you may be required to obtain an export licence.

If you have obtained an export licence and are exporting restricted goods then this licence number must be included on any declaration made through the National Export System.

What kinds of goods are restricted from being exported from the UK?

Goods such as chemicals are subject to restrictions when concerned with both exporting and importing of these goods. If you are exporting chemicals you should always identify any restrictions in relation to those chemicals. The European Joint Research Centre maintains an online database of restricted chemicals where you can look up any chemicals which may have restrictions on them.

In the UK the Export Control Organisation (ECO) issues licences for the export of strategic goods such as military goods.

Are there any goods which will receive priory when being exported?

Certain consignments due to the nature of the goods will require urgent dispatch. Goods such as perishable foods will fall within this category and will receive priority attention when it comes to exporting.