Trade Compliance Review

The implications of non-compliance with HMRC can be significant for UK importers and exporters. Our Trade Compliance Review not only helps identify how your business could trade smarter, but also detects discrepancies in processes and documentation so that they can be dealt with proactively, thus safeguarding your compliance record with HMRC

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Sustainable Global Trade


UK law and HMRC mandate that UK businesses have procedures to establish the correct data for import and export declarations, and are expected to have competent, skilled, and educated staff able to undertake customs and international trade activities. HMRC operates a ‘risk-based’ audit programme that sees customs officers undertake regular checks and audits on import/export activity on businesses trading internationally (both ROW and now EU). The level of involvement and scrutiny can vary from a basic, remote check with requests by email for further supporting information, to full scale ‘on-site’ audits lasting 1-2 days to examine customs transactions and business activities in a particular area of compliance.

When the Transitional Period of membership to the EU Customs Union ended in 2020, all customs laws for Great Britain (England, Scotland, and Wales) ceased to be governed by the EU Union Customs Code (UCC) and instead came under new, but similar, UK legislation (NB: Northern Ireland remains part of the EU for the purpose of trade in goods due to the Northern Ireland Protocol negotiated in 2018 as part of the UK Withdrawal Agreement). The impact of this is that all goods shipped to and received from the EU became exports and imports respectively, and as such were subject to significantly more regulation, customs procedures, and controls than before. Many UK businesses trading exclusively with the EU found themselves for the first time dealing with customs requirements and documentation, which can be complex and costly when wrong.

The implications of non-compliance with customs can be significant, ranging from simple payment of backdated duty and VAT, to payment of amount due ‘plus’ a penalty, all the way through to custodial sentencing. So, it is essential that companies understand what is requested of them by means of compliance, and also that they are regularly self-auditing to ensure that any irregularities are identified and dealt with swiftly and correctly, rather than picked up during an HMRC Audit.

This is where our Trade Compliance Review comes in. We undertake a mini, on-site audit of your import/export procedures, examining sample transactions, and ensuring that you are maintaining the correct documentation and for the requisite period of time. We make recommendations on how your processes could be improved, and where possible you could access HMRC authorisations that could serve to reduce your duty/tax/admin burden. Importantly, where errors are detected, we advise how these can be proactively dealt with so as not to impact your compliance record with HMRC.

More hands-on support

Global trade can exert pressure on internal know-how, capacity, and finances; indeed, this can dissuade many companies from embarking on it in the first place. Our Global Trade Manager programme bolsters your company’s efforts by managing your entire international trade function as integrated members of your team; once your revenues justify bringing on full-time staff, we help you recruit and onboard new hires.

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If you are a UK importer or exporter, it is essential you understand what is expected of you from a customs compliance perspective; the costs of getting this wrong can be significant. Our popular Trade Compliance Review is like a mini HMRC Audit, identifying discrepancies with processes and documentation that can be dealt with proactively.

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Depending on your business sector and geographical target market, the decision to establish an office overseas can be either a long-term ambition or an immediate imperative. Global Trade Department and its in-market associates guide companies navigate the challenges associated with establishing an overseas presence e.g. form of legal entity, local regulation, tax legislation, premises, staff, and more.

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Trading globally can be more costly than trading within your domestic market; traders need to seize opportunities to safeguard cash. Inward processing (IP) is a duty relief procedure that allows goods to be imported into the UK for processing or repair with suspension of import duties and VAT. With a 100% success rate of achieving full authorisation, we have saved clients £1000s in unnecessary duty and VAT.

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HMRC offers several customs facilitations and simplifications to help alleviate the burden of import duty and VAT on traders’ cashflow and profits. Global Trade Department frequently advises companies on the exact compliance requirements surrounding the use of procedures like Outward Processing (OP) and has a 100% success rate in applying for Full Authorisations on behalf of clients.

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Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) status has become an internationally recognised quality standard demonstrating that a company has met the highest standards of customs compliance and/or supply chain safety and security. Global Trade Department has hands on experience helping clients navigate the application process and obtain the authorisation swiftly and on first attempt.

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More services


From strategy definition, market research and regulatory studies through to partner selection and market launch, our consultants guide your global trade efforts to mitigate risk and optimise success.

Hands-on support

Global trade can be complex as well as time and resource intensive. Hands-on support like our Global Trade Manager service, boosts your internal team’s capacity whilst transferring vital knowledge.


Our wide-ranging training courses are delivered by experienced domain specialists and pitched perfectly for expanding your team’s import and export knowledge whilst simultaneously building their confidence.

Global Trade Sustainability Assessment

Obtain an impartial, outside-in assessment of your current global trading processes and practices, with practical recommendations of how you can incorporate sustainability values and targets to meet future regulatory requirements and drive long-term growth.