Businesses that import goods from Europe will not have to make immediate declarations to customs in the event of a no-deal Brexit, the Government has revealed.

The new guidance from HMRC claims importers will file a simplified online form up to two hours before a lorry is due to cross the English Channel by ferry, or one hour if arriving by Eurostar.

Importers will have to update the online entry within 24 hours to notify HMRC of the goods' arrival, with the duty payable up to a month later.

The move was announced in a bid to allay mounting fears of long queues at Channel ports resulting from the UK failing to reach an agreement over its exit from the EU.

The UK remains on course to leave the EU - whether or not a deal can be struck - at 11pm on Friday 29 March 2019.

Richard Burnett, chief executive of the Road Haulage Association, said:

"This is a welcome move by the Government but it is essential that if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, any road transport operations must be reciprocal.

"We cannot have one rule for UK hauliers and another for European operators.

"There is still a need for more clarity and detail, and we call for those assurances from ministers as a matter of urgency."

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