Changes to the Export Documentation & International Trade Department in Response to the Covid-19 Coronavirus

Date: 18/03/2020
Author: Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce
Company: Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce

***IMPORTANT NOTICE FOR GREATER MANCHESTER CHAMBER OF COMMERCE EXPORT DOCUMENTATION CLIENTS***

UPDATED AS OF 03rd JUNE 2020

Following the Prime Minister's announcement about lockdown measures, the Chamber remains committed in supporting businesses through COVID-19.   However, to enable most of our team to work remotely following government 's guidelines, there are some key changes to our international and export documentation services for the foreseeable future.

EXPORT DOCUMENTATION SERVICES

Please note we are not offering a Physical Counter Service at this time.

CUSTOMER SERVICE WORKING HOURS:

Our advice telephone lines for the export documentation dept are: 0161 393 4311 / 12 / 13. These will be manned from 10:00 a.m. till 4:00 p.m. However, due to the large volumes of calls we may experience we encourage you to email us on exportdocs@gmchamber.co.uk. We will endeavour to reply to you as soon as we can.

Should there be any changes, we will inform you as soon as possible, but we ask you to regularly check our website with updates here: https://www.gmchamber.co.uk/covid-19-coronavirus/

POST:

Only our Airport office will remain partially operational during this time and at reduced timings (10:00 a.m. till 13:00 p.m.) for collection service only via Courier services such as DHL and other dedicated suppliers at the Airport (e.g. cargo/freight handlers). Please note you cannot ask your courier to wait for the documents.

GMCC Airport Office

Room 7, Building 308, World Freight Terminal, Manchester Airport M90 5PZ

Please note that any documents posted to our Elliot House office will not be processed for the time being and you will likely experience severe delays if you post documents there.  Any other post for the chamber, please also send it to our Airport Office at the above address.

If there are further lockdown measures implemented by government affecting the above, we will inform you as soon as possible.

ELECTRONIC SERVICE:

We will continue providing the export documentation services by our online platform www.ecert.sgs.com.

We encourage all of our customers to please use this as the main channel to submit all documents, especially for those companies who have been submitting manually.

  • Existing Customers: log in via: www.ecert.sgs.com
  • New Customers: go to the links below and complete the simple registration process:

Deansgate Elliot House office www.ecert.sgs.com

Airport Office www.ecert.sgs.com

Via e-z cert.com, we will operate the following services:

EXPRESS APPLICATIONS

  • European Certificates of Origin
  • EUR1s, please note some countries currently do not accept electronic signatures so you cannot send express. Please check the list of exceptions under Standard applications below.

Should any of the countries that currently do not accept express applications introduce any changes on this, we will update you as soon as we know.

  • Invoices and Other Documents (e.g. packing lists) which require certification

STANDARD APPLICATIONS

Whilst the post is operational, we will return documents by 1st class post, however, in order to facilitate and cut delivery times, if requested we can send documents back to you via email as scanned copies, so please make sure to request this in the notes to Chamber on your application.  

At this time, we cannot provide any other post services, nor we can guarantee delivery times.

These are the documents we can process:

  • European Certificates of Origin
  • Invoices and Other Documents (e.g. packing lists)
  • EUR1s / A.TRs

Below is a list of countries that currently do not accept electronic signatures:

  • Croatia
  • Egypt
  • Iceland
  • Israel
  • Lebanon
  • Liechtenstein
  • Norway
  • Serbia

The British Chambers of commerce are pressing HMRC and DIT to lead discussions with countries not currently accepting e-stamps, and as of today:

Pre-signed forms

Under current remote working, we do not hold pre-signed forms on file for those who have lodged them with us. For any applications which require original signatures you will need to post these pre signed forms to us to enable us to print the applications on them. Please ensure that you include your account MAN for CBE reference so we can allocate it to your application. Please only post these to the Airport office details above.

ATA Carnets – COVID-19 update

The impact of COVID-19 on trade continues, with two thirds of the world in the lockdown and severe restrictions imposed by governments. Carnets have been heavily affected by cancellation of events and passenger flights worldwide. It is therefore possible that ATA Carnet Holders may be ‘trapped’ abroad and unable to comply with the normal procedures e.g. re-export their goods within the time limit for re-exportation specified by the host Customs on importation (if applicable) or within the validity of the Carnet itself.

This notice has been designed to provide advice to any such ATA Carnet Holders whose goods are currently abroad and unable to move.  Please click here for further information.

LIMITED DOCUMENTATION SERVICES DURING THIS TIME

ARAB DOCUMENTATION

The Arab Chamber is still operating as normal and can still certify documentation. Below is a list of embassies which are not operating at this time and for these countries the Arab Chamber will certify your documentation if this is an option for you. This information is rapidly changing so please check with us before sending your documents. 

Latest status on which Arab embassies remain open or closed:

  • Algeria:  Open
  • Bahrain:  Open
  • Iraq: Open
  • Kuwait: Open
  • Lebanon:  Open
  • Libya: Open
  • Oman:  Open
  • Jordan: Open
  • Qatar: Open
  • Saudi Arabia: Open
  • Tunisia: Open
  • UAE: Open
  • Yemen: Open

FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH OFFICE

  • As of 16th September the London FCDO (formerly FCO) will re-open and resume its same-day legalistation service and the Arab British Chamber of Commerce will also resume its courrier service for same-day legalisations.

FORCE MAJEURE CERTIFICATES

The Chamber is offering customer facing issues in the movement of goods due to COVID-19, a Force Majeure Certificates. Talk to our team if you need one.  H

How to apply?

  • Email a letter confirming details of the force majeure circumstances and the scope of non-fulfilment of contractual obligations due to these circumstances, signed by the company director, to exportdocs@gmchamber.co.uk
  • This will need to be backed up by documents by the competent authorities or verifiable sources attesting to the existence of the force majeure circumstances (not required if circumstances are related to COVID-19)
  • We will produce a draft letter and email it to you for approval.
  • The letter on Chamber headed paper will be stamped with the Chamber logo stamp and released once we have received the payment.

OTHER INTERNATIONAL TRADE SERVICES

Most of our other international trade services remain available and can be delivered virtually.  Just visit our website:  https://www.gmchamber.co.uk/international-trade/

Training & Events

We will be running some free webinars and some of our standard training will still be delivered virtually, so please keep your eyes peeled for updates on our website, social media (@GMCCTradeteam on twitter) and newsletter.

Virtual Consultations

Our team and extensive network of members, approved suppliers, associates and strategic partners are here to help.  Whether you wish to look into your overall export/import strategy, building your future export pipeline or need assistance regarding COVID19 impact, we are here to help! 

  • Free consultations: 20-30 min of basic guidance from our team or our network
  • Paid consultations:  For more complex queries and duration will be according to your requirements.

To book or find our more, email us at ExportBritain@gmchamber.co.uk 

Brexit Support

Our team also continues to provide support to companies in all areas, and please remember we have a Brexit hub full of useful information and links, which you can visit here: www.gmccbrexithub.com

PAYMENTS BY CHEQUES

Due to the lockdown measures, we kindly ask customers to avoid sending cheques via post as our finance team will not be able to process payments in this form.  Therefore, we kindly ask our customers to please consider paying via BACS or Credit card. To switch your payments, please email us at invoices@gmchamber.co.uk

HOW TO GET IN TOUCH WITH OUR TEAM?

The best way to get in touch with our team is via email:

International trade services (other than export docs):   Exportbritain@gmchamber.co.uk

Export Documentation: exportdocs@gmchamber.co.uk

If you have Microsoft teams, we can schedule a video call if needed or alternatively via Skype for Business call if you have the application.

Alternatively, you can try us by phone at the following numbers:

  • International Trade Team:
    • 0161 393 4368 / 50 (Calls are being diverted)
    • 07770 017536 (Susana)
    • 07932 792976  (Amy)
  • Export Documentation team Elliot House:
    • 0161 393 4311 - 12 -13 (Calls are being diverted)
  • Airport Office:
    • 0161 489 3170

We will continue to do our most to support businesses all throughout Greater Manchester and beyond, so we thank you for your patience and understanding.