Temporary service adjustments due to COVID-19
In preparation for the potential spread of the coronavirus, rest assured that we are taking steps to provide continuity to all of our processes in order to minimise disruption to our customers.
LAST UPDATED: 24 July 2020 at 10:20
Following government guidance, our offices remain closed to our customers for the foreseeable future.
If you do need to send original documents to us for processing the best method is through the post, although Couriers can access the site if required.
However, we are still delivering a virtual solution to our clients for the majority of our export services, and we recognise the need to endeavour to keep the certification and fulfilment of documentation in place.
The majority of the International trade team are still working remotely, and whilst our teams are working from home inevitably in some cases it will take longer for documents to be processed, owing to logistical challenges.
We now have a process in place for manually requested certification documents but these will take considerably longer to process compared to using the e-z Cert platform. We strongly advise to use the digital solutions where possible. As the situation continues to unfold there may come a point where we are unable to fulfil manual documents.
Documents that require a wet signature by both ourselves and the client may well take over a week to process. We fully recognise that this is not our usual same day turn round, but the only alternative would be the withdrawal of the service altogether.
Please bear with us and in the meantime we wish you good health!
Moving to an electronic documents only service will affect the following types of documentation:
- EC Certificates of Origin – For exporters who do not currently apply for EC Certificates of Origins online you can register for an e-z Cert account today and then apply for eXpress documents, which are certified (stamped) electronically and then printed in your own office / home onto the blank certificate stationery. To ensure the least amount of disruption to your business, after registering on e-z Cert you will need to email us to request a supply of blank EC Certificates of Origin and / or EUR1 forms. Please note that the eXpress application option will not work for ATRs (Turkey) or some EUR1s (depending on the country – see further information below).
- Arab British Certificates of Origin –You can apply for many your Arab documents using the eXpress option on e-z Cert, however, if you know that these documents will not be accepted by the customs authority overseas without original signatures, you can still apply for Arab Certificates of Origin online but invoices or originally signed other documents will need to be sent to us in the post.
- EUR1 – There are a number of countries who will not accept electronically signed EUR1 documents: Egypt, Iceland, Israel, Lebanon, Liechtenstein, Mexico, Norway, Serbia and Switzerland. Therefore, we will only be able to offer electronically stamped EUR1 documents for the other preference giving countries. Chile and Switzerland have relaxed their rules on having manual signatures on EUR1's during the current crisis. SGS have amended the settings on their e-z Cert platform for EUR1 applications for both Chile and Switzerland so that these can now be done as eXpress applications, with overseas customs now accepting electronic signatures.
- ATR – The Turkish authorities will not now accept electronic signatures on ATR certificates. You can also apply for ATR documents on the E-Cert system but please note that you must add your e-mail address into Box 1 of the form for them to be accepted by Turkish Authorities. We can also still process eXpress EC Certificates of Origin applications for Turkey.
- Other documents – Exporters can upload any other document on the e-z Cert platform and apply for the document to be certified using the eXpress option.
- Embassy Closure update – All Arab Embassies are now open. If you have documents to be legalised for any other Country embassy, please contact us and we can let you know which embassies can currently process documents.
Please Note: Business West cannot be held responsible for the refusal to accept any electronically stamped documents by overseas customs officials, other authorities, the negotiating bank or the consignee.
ATA Carnet Service Update
For those who are set up to process their ATA Carnets using the eXpress option on e-z Cert, we are able to offer this service.
For manual Carnet applications, we are now able to offer this as a service, however, as most of the team are still working remotely, please note that any manual Carnets must be applied for using ECert.
Please note that there could be delays in processing these documents and we will not be able to guarantee the same level of turnaround times or, that applications submitted before 1:00 pm will be processed the same day.
We will not be able to process any manual ATA Carnet applications during this period.
Letters of Credit Service Update
In light of the current coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, whilst we are endeavouring to continue with business as usual, there are some factors beyond our control which may lead to delays in being able to process your Letter of Credit applications or present your documents to the bank.
The processing of Letters of Credit will be affected by the recent closure of many embassies, as this has caused major delays in processing times, particularly the UAE and Iraq embassies.
Our ability to process Letters of Credit or present documents to the bank is also very much dependent on whether we receive information from yourselves and third party documents in good time. Please ensure documents are circulated at the earliest opportunity.
We have enabled our team to work both in our offices and remotely, endeavouring to mitigate risk. However, as we are all exposed to the current increased risk of illness our usual levels of service may be impacted.
Have a question?
If you would like further information or a quote for any of the above documentation then please contact a member of our team on 01275 774 958.
Or submit an enquiry and one of our expert trade advisers will be ready to answer any questions related to your international trade documentation and regulations.