Customs Associates


Industry sectors


Computers and telecommunications

Following the implementation of the WTO Ministerial Declaration on Trade in Information Technology Products (ITA) customs duties have been abolished on most computer and telecommunications equipment. Careful classification of your imports could enable you to gain the benefit of these regulations. However, new technology products present new challenges for tariff classification.



Toys are subject to either 4% or 0% duty, depending on their tariff classification. We have considerable experience and a successful record in assisting importers to ensure that their goods are imported correctly.



Most pharmaceuticals can be imported free of duty. But many goods are not covered by the duty free rules, even though they may be treated as pharmaceuticals by the importer. For example, health supplements may be a medicine or they may be a food. The difference in duty between these two products is substantial.


Medical products

Many medical products can be imported duty free but, again, there are differences in the determination of what is a medical product for customs purposes. A product registered as a Class 1 medical device may not be classified as a medical product for tariff classification purposes. Equally, the customs definition of substances with a therapeutic or prophylactic use may not be the industry norm. Some products that are only used in the healthcare industry can still attract duty. Careful planning is needed.


Airlines and aerospace

Airlines are constantly importing and exporting their own goods: including spare parts, catering supplies, in-flight sales, kitchenware, and entertainment goods. We can assist airlines with duty relief procedures, bonded store arrangements and advice on taxes and refunds. We can help companies supplying the aerospace industry make use of Inward Processing Relief and customs warehousing to ensure import charges are not paid unnecessarily.


Motor industry

This is another truly global industry, with most suppliers involved in importing and exporting. Duty reliefs, such as Inward Processing Relief and Authorised Use, offer opportunities to reduce customs duty payments. If you are a supplier to the motor industry you may be able to make your products more competitive by looking for duty saving opportunities.



Tariff classification is complex, especially for goods put together in retail sets. If products are misclassified, duty and licensing can be affected. We are the prime advisers to the giftware industry in the UK.


Food products

Food is a highly regulated industry that requires importers to understand and manage the complex requirements of EU and UK legislation. Duty rates are high and mistakes, for example in tariff classification, can be very costly. Attention to detail in respect of packaging, documentation, etc is vital to ensure the supply chain requirements are met. Advance planning is essential.



Textiles are still heavily regulated in international trade and high rates of duty apply. How are today's fashions classified in a nomenclature that has basically been around for over 50 years? How do Customs interpret the rules concerning the classification of garments? We can answer these questions for you.



Many retailers source at least some of their products overseas but, as importing is not a major function in a retailer’s business, it can often be overlooked or left to a freight agent who does not hold all the necessary information; this can lead to unnecessary costs, non-compliance and mismanagement. We help our retail clients avoid these problems which ultimately saves them money.


Online market

Both traditional businesses and new enterprises are now selling through online platforms. Often these are set up without enough consideration of the potential import, and possible export, issues that may arise. The tariff coding and duty rates, the value of the goods for customs purposes and the practical arrangements for ensuring the goods are declared correctly to HMRC are all paramount to having a successful online market place.