HC Deb 13 January 2003 vol 397 cc416-7W
Dr. Cable

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what representations he has received from trade associations and other business interests regarding the New Export System; [89130]

(2) what the target time period is for Customs and Excise to clear applications under the New Export System. [89129]

John Healey

Customs and Excise's New Export System (NES) went live at all Maritime and Inland locations (including Inland Clearance Depots) throughout the UK on 27 October 2002. NES is an electronic-based system, which enables exporters and agents to send their export declarations to Customs electronically. It replaces the current paper-based system, facilitates legitimate trade and helps combat VAT and Excise fraud.

NES provides a number of tailored models and procedures to meet the needs of different trade sectors. It allows Customs to target their controls more effectively, minimise disruption to legitimate trade and reduce the time it takes to process an export declaration.

In order to utilise NES simplified procedures exporters must apply to Customs for specific authorisation. This involves completion of a form, possibly a visit from a Customs Officer and, depending on the electronic transmission route chosen, registering to use the Government Gateway. Each application is considered on its merits; there is no specific time frame for completion of individual applications. Customs make every effort to complete their part of the procedure as swiftly as possible. Exporters who need to obtain a digital certificate from the Office of the e-Envoy (to enable Government Gateway access) may wait approximately 7 days for delivery of access data.

The Paymaster General received one representation on NES from the British International Freight Association (BIFA) on 20 December 2001, to which the Financial Secretary replied on 24 January 2002. A series of Questions relating to the use and provision of digital certificates was laid and answered in October 2002.