Delegates take part in 2nd UK & China Cross-Border eCommerce Forum

Hurricane was delighted to take part in the Second UK and China Cross-Border eCommerce Forum which was held at the Peking University Business School in Oxford.

Our CEO Martyn Noble was among the keynote speakers during the day which was entitled ‘Post-lockdown challenges and opportunities for global cross-border eCommerce’.

The event was a mix of in-person and virtual with over 150 delegates taking part, including representatives from government and some of the biggest names in global logistics and online retail.

China’s cross-border eCommerce imports and exports reached 419.5 billion yuan ($65.57 billion) in the first quarter of this year – up 46.5 percent year-on-year and shows no sign of slowing down.

But increasing regulation including the US STOP Act and the EU’s recently launched VAT Package and Import One-Stop Shop (IOSS) mean that the need for complete and valid data on shipments has never been greater.

Through our strategic partnership with ELI Holdings, Hurricane is helping some of the biggest Chinese logistics and ecommerce players to integrate best-in-class data provision into their global operations.

Hosts for the Oxford event were the China Europe eCommerce and Logistics Club (CEELC) and the UK & China Chamber of eCommerce (UCCE).

Among those taking part in the Oxford event were JD.com, Yodel, and The Very Group.

Martyn Noble, CEO of Hurricane Commerce, said: “It was an extremely professional event and built upon the success of the launch event last year.

“While there are significant opportunities for logistics and eCommerce companies to grow their cross-border operations, there is also a growing recognition of the importance of having best-in-class data to meet the regulatory challenges.

“We are hearing of more and more cases of shipments being held by customs authorities around the world because of the poor quality of consignment data.

“Businesses which have the highest levels of data provision are the ones which will have a competitive edge over their rivals and therefore will be best placed to reap the biggest rewards in the global eCommerce space.”

June

 

Today’s the Day: End of the EU VAT de minimis and the launch of the Import One-Stop Shop (IOSS)

Today (July 1) marks the latest major change affecting the complex world of cross-border eCommerce.

It sees the removal of the de minimis value whereby no VAT is paid on goods of a value of up to €22, making all imports subject to European Union VAT rates.

The VAT amount applicable is subject to the local VAT rate of the customer’s delivery country (destination country). The exemption from customs duties on imported goods below €150 will remain in place and will only be applicable on goods with an intrinsic value of more than €150.

To assist third country online retailers and marketplaces, the EU is simultaneously launching the Import One-Stop Shop – or IOSS for short.

The application of the IOSS portal is intended to facilitate a simplified process for the declaration and payment of VAT from either the EU or a non-EU country.

The message is simple – those who are best prepared will be the ones in pole position to secure and grow their cross-border eCommerce sales.

To implement the IOSS, businesses will have to register on the IOSS portal of any EU member state. This electronic portal will hold businesses responsible for charging and collecting VAT, meaning the consumer will be charged VAT at the point of purchase, subject to their local VAT rate.

With this in place, it will enable quicker clearance times at border control, leading to efficiency gains and cost savings for businesses. Just as important, it will ensure high levels of consumer satisfaction, avoiding the issue of any doorstep shocks.

If a business is non-EU based, it will have to appoint an EU-established intermediary to fulfil its VAT obligations of collection, payment and declaration of VAT under IOSS. This intermediary, or VAT agent, will represent them with the IOSS portal and will share the responsibilities of the supplier for return submissions of VAT payments under the IOSS scheme.

Once registered on the IOSS portal, a unique IOSS identification number will be assigned to you. This number will need to be put on all packages under €150 sent to the EU. VAT will then need to be calculated and charged to the customer at the point of purchase with the invoice submitted with the package at customs. IOSS returns must be filed on a monthly basis either directly or through the intermediary and a record kept by the business.

EU goods eligible for relief

As the IOSS is not mandatory, if a business chooses to opt out of registering to the online portal, their cross-border operations may face challenges. Since they are not registered, VAT will not be charged or collected at the point of sale, meaning consumers will have to pay this fee at the point of import.

This may lead to delayed clearance of the consumer’s goods and unexpected fees of import VAT or other handling fees being charged.

Faced with these additional charges, consumers may refuse to pay to have their goods released from customs resulting in an unpleasant and unsatisfactory experience for the consumer and a potential loss to the business. It will also make the consumer less likely to return to the online seller in the future.

The changes to EU VAT are primarily about creating a level playing field and fair competition between EU and non-EU eCommerce players. Major cross-border trading countries such as China, the US and the UK will be among those most impacted by the changes.

Hurricane has been working closely with its customers, including postal operators, carriers, retailers and marketplaces, enabling them to be ready for July 1.

The provision of complete and valid product and shipment data is essential in order to make use of the IOSS and to take advantage of the simplified process that the new portal allows.

But while many businesses have undoubtedly put in place robust processes and systems to meet the new requirements, many others will be playing catch-up over the coming weeks and months as they come to realise the disadvantages of not being prepared.

 

EU VAT changes and the Import One-Stop Shop (IOSS): An opportunity for growth

It is now exactly a month until the EU VAT Package and the Import One-Stop Shop (IOSS) come into effect.

July 1 is the next major milestone for businesses committed to growing their cross-border eCommerce operations.

Events including Brexit and the US STOP Act have already highlighted this year the importance of having the highest quality product and shipment data in order to achieve the smoothest possible delivery and customer experience.

For third country online retailers and marketplaces selling into the EU, the looming EU VAT Package will further intensify this requirement. For global leaders in international eCommerce like China and the UK, these are quite simply the most significant event in their calendar in 2021.

From July 1, the EU will remove the exemption from VAT on low value goods with a value of less than EURO 22.

The EU is also making third country online retailers and marketplaces responsible for the collection and remittance of VAT.

To support retailers and marketplaces, the EU has created the Import One-Stop Shop (IOSS) with the intention of simplifying the declaration and payment of VAT on distance sales with an intrinsic value of less than EURO 150.

These are substantial changes and are intended to level the playing field between EU retailers and marketplaces and their counterparts in other parts of the world, most notably China.

It is also intended to have the same impact on postal operators and express carriers.

Any marketplaces uncertain about whether to opt into the IOSS should note the decision of Amazon to embrace the new system for both its retail activities and marketplace businesses. Several other major marketplaces are believed to be actively moving in the same direction.

Hurricane Commerce has produced a guide to the EU VAT Package and the IOSS to help retailers, marketplaces and their logistics partners to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the new rules.

Hurricane is also one of Royal Mail’s partners in providing support to its customers with the IOSS – https://www.royalmail.com/business/international/guide/delivered-duties-paid

Among the key things you need to know are:

  • The retailer or marketplace (or their chosen intermediary) only needs to register on the IOSS portal of one EU member state. Registration opened on April 1, 2021;
  • IOSS makes the buying process easier for the consumer with VAT being paid at the point of purchase – thereby avoiding doorstep surprises when goods are delivered;
  • If the seller does not use the IOSS, the consumer will have to pay VAT at the point of import – with resulting delays in clearance and delivery and greater likelihood of returns;
  • The use of the IOSS will result in much greater efficiency gains;
  • Electronic customs clearance also requires only the so called Super Reduced Dataset, resulting in faster clearance, shorter transit times and reduced costs.

Online retailers or marketplaces which do not have a presence in the EU will need to appoint an intermediary in at least one EU member state.

The intermediary will be responsible for the declaration and payment of VAT to the tax authorities of the member state on the basis of a monthly IOSS VAT return.

They are also responsible for keeping records that have to be made available electronically upon request.

Of critical importance is the need for the retailer or marketplace to be able to provide complete and valid electronic data for customs clearance.

If using the IOSS, this will mean complying with the requirements of the Super Reduced Dataset, including accurate product descriptions and HS6 codes.

Various attempts to delay the introduction of the IOSS have been firmly rejected – no surprise as we emerge from the pandemic with governments around the world under huge pressure to maximise their tax revenues.

But while preparation is needed to be able to access the IOSS, it should be seen as a big opportunity to secure substantial cross-border eCommerce growth.

By registering and meeting the requirements, particularly around the provision of high-quality product and shipment data, companies will have a significant advantage over their competitors.

This will include faster customs clearance and delivery, greater efficiencies, reduced costs and enhanced customer experience.

To access a copy of Hurricane’s EU VAT and IOSS brochure, email: info@hurricanecommerce.com

https://tamebay.com/2021/06/why-eu-vat-changes-and-ioss-should-be-opportunity-for-growth.html

The path to successful cross-border eCommerce – Why compliance is crucial and how you can protect your business.

Compliance has always been a requirement for any business, but in recent years the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) and Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) have started actively monitoring the compliance of businesses trading in the US.

Businesses that have been found to have compliancy violations have their cases made public, to deter others from falling foul of the rules. In fact, recent statistics showed that Denied Parties violations accounted for 66% of fines given out.

No business is too big for compliance

Denied Party screening must be done by every business, regardless of your size, location or which process of the transaction you are involved in.

Most recently, Apple fell foul of the rules and were found to have violated the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Sanctions regulations by entering an applications development agreement with a Slovenian company whose director and majority owner were designated under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act.

They were ordered to pay US$476,000 for this infringement, in which their screening systems failed to match ‘SIS DOO’ and ‘Sis d.o.o’(D.o.o is a standard corporate suffix in Slovenia identifying a limited liability company), showing that even the top companies struggle with screenings.

Marketplaces at fault

Also guilty of Denied Party failures were Amazon, who admitted to selling goods to individuals in Crimea, Iran and Syria between 2011 and 2018. Although the violations were viewed as ‘non-egregious’ by OFAC, they were still fined $134,523 which amounted to half the value of the transactions.

Small failings in the ability of the screening process to identify spelling mistakes such as ‘Krimea’ in place of Crimea led to further violations and low-value goods being sent to Cuba, North Korea, and Sudan. By admitting to these failings, Amazon were subject to lighter penalties than would normally be given for such large violations.

Individuals are just as responsible as businesses

Although Denied Party screening can be considered more important as the penalties are more severe, a lady attempting to import a crocodile skin handbag into Australia found out the hard way that certain restrictions apply to goods being imported when her handbag was destroyed.

Worth $19,000 the owner did not pay a $70 licence to import it, and although not illegal, crocodile products are controlled under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) to ensure they are not linked to the illegal wildlife trade.

The above examples show that compliance is not an option, and even the biggest companies in the world can fall foul of the rules.

Having an effective screening process in place can minimise the risks associated with cross-border eCommerce.

Hurricane’s Denied Party and Prohibited and Restricted Goods screenings ensure businesses know what they are selling to who and where maintaining compliance and reducing the risk of fines and severe penalties.

Hurricane is quickly becoming the go to data partner for cross-border eCommerce by providing cost-effective solutions that have been built to provide the ultimate customer browse, checkout cost transparency and cross-border delivery experience.

The path to successful cross-border eCommerce – How Hurricane’s solutions can help you successfully trade cross-border.

Cross-border eCommerce can provide any business with the opportunity to expand and open their business up to more markets and customers. Whilst this sounds like a fantastic proposition, there are many issues to contend with when first starting out.

There has recently been a large increase in the amount of regulations and compliance rules that are being introduced and monitored, which are often missed by smaller businesses who may not have any previous experience with customs.

There is a sharp focus on knowing what you are sending, and who you are sending it to.

Unknowingly sending an item into a country that requires a licence or sending goods to a blacklisted customer will end up with a business facing fines, and goods being destroyed.

Hurricane has developed 3 main solutions to help businesses stay compliant, and successfully expand their business into cross-border eCommerce.

They are Import Duty and Tax calculations, Prohibited and Restricted Goods Screening and Denied Party Screening. Below we show what these solutions do, and how they can help your business navigate cross-border eCommerce.

Duty and Tax

Every product has a duty and tax rate applied by individual customs upon importation. Individual countries also have their own deminimis levels, which are the values under which products do not have any duty or taxes applied to them.

It can therefore be difficult to calculate the duty and tax rates applicable in checkout. Hurricane’s duty and tax calculator allows businesses to show their customers the total cost of any purchase, drastically reducing negative customer experiences and customer churn.

Prohibited and Restricted Goods

Each country’s customs have their own rules on what can and can’t be imported, and whether special licences or permissions are required. Having carried out deep analysis of restrictions and requirements for importing, exporting and transporting goods in 154 countries, covering 97% of global GDP, Hurricane provides feedback on prohibited and restricted codes. Hurricane’s screening prevents goods from being wrongly transported or imported, ensuring there are no compliance slip ups.

Denied Party Screening

Denied Party Screening is becoming crucial for any business trading cross-border as punishments become more severe. Hurricane’s screening allows businesses to see if their customers and partners are on any of the global denied parties lists, allowing you to control who you sell your products to.

Compliance is key

Transparency is key to providing a positive customer experience. It is incredibly cost-effective and affordable compared to fines that can be given due to non-compliance.

Hurricane can also be a key selling point for your customers, as they will know that all costs will be paid upfront and transit times will be reduced.

Contact us to find out how Hurricane can help your business navigate the uncertainties of cross-border eCommerce.

Hurricane Tamebay Webinar

Hurricane Commerce signs up for Tamebay Live Show

We are delighted to be a main sponsor and speaker at the first ever Tamebay Live.

The 5-day virtual event in May is set to be a great new addition to the calendar for retailers, brands, marketplaces and anyone else involved in the fast growing world of eCommerce.

More than 30 workshops and a host of masterclasses have been lined up from May 17-21 with each day having its own theme.

Hurricane is the headline sponsor and co-host for Day 1, called ‘Back to Basics’, and will then be a speaker on Day 4, which is all about Cross-Border selling.

Martyn Noble, Hurricane’s CEO, said: “Tamebay have come up with an innovative and hugely timely event that will give retailers, brands and others involved in eCommerce plenty of food for thought and inspiration.

“We are thrilled to be playing a leading part and, particularly, look forward to sharing knowledge and ideas that will help anyone looking to grow their sales internationally.

For more information about Tamebay Live and to register to attend visit https://tamebaylive.com/

Please also keep an eye on the Hurricane website and LinkedIn for further details as we run up to this hugely exciting conference.

The path to successful cross-border eCommerce – What’s the opportunity and how can you get a piece of it?

Cross-border eCommerce is becoming more accessible to businesses, ranging from small scale independent stores to multinational giants.

Facilitating this surge in cross-border eCommerce are platforms like Magento® an Adobe company, which accounts for 16% of all eCommerce websites. They include some big names like Coca-Cola and Christian Louboutin.

Platforms like this offer a huge opportunity for a business to create a site and get trading quickly, especially with a host of extensions that allow businesses to manage their stock, create labels and provide a better customer experience. Magento alone has over 250,000 sites and saw an increase of 7,500 in 2019, covering a total of $155 billion in total merchant sales.

Risk and reward

With 57% of all online shoppers buying cross-border, the prize associated with using an eCommerce platform is large. This does however also expose your business to the risks associated with cross-border eCommerce, such as parcels being seized by customs due to poor data, or customers being charged extra upon delivery due to import duties and taxes not being paid.

These situations can lead to a negative customer experience which can result in customers making a one-time purchase then shopping elsewhere. With businesses able to earn 50% more revenue if 40% of their customers are returning, it is important to understand the issues surrounding cross-border eCommerce and ensure your business is prepared.

The Hurricane solution

Hurricane has developed a suite of solutions that allows businesses to show their customers the total cost of any purchase inclusive of shipping, import fees and any extra costs, as well as screening for denied parties and prohibited and restricted goods to ensure total compliance.

Hurricane has become a Technology Partner with Magento, one of the leading eCommerce platforms and will give their customer base the cost-effective and user-friendly tools needed to successfully trade cross-border and reduce the risk of fines and negative customer experiences.

With customer experience becoming the main differentiator between brands, surpassing pricing and the products, providing a positive experience is crucial.

Hurricane’s cross-border solutions will provide businesses with an engine for growth by improving the customer experience from the first site visit, all the way to the delivery, thus increasing the likelihood of them making repeat purchases, and making businesses fully compliant with customs and import regulations.

Hurricane to be Gold Sponsor at WMX Asia

Hurricane is delighted to announce that it will be a Gold sponsor at The World Mail & Express Asia Conference, taking place in Bangkok, Thailand, from the 1st to the 3rd of November 2021.

This prestigious annual international event brings together leaders in parcel and mail world, providing great opportunities for networking, gaining industry insights and doing business.

As a Gold sponsor, Hurricane will not only be exhibiting, but CEO Martyn Noble will also be speaking about some of the major regulatory changes impacting the postal and carrier industry and the importance of quality data in enabling seamless cross-border eCommerce trade.

Hurricane will be attending the event with Chinese partner ELI Holdings, who are helping us to develop our links in China and the wider Asia Pacific region.

We are looking forward to showcasing Hurricane’s data enhancement technology at WMX Asia, a region that is at the epicentre of global eCommerce trade.

For more information on the event and Hurricane follow the link below:

WMX Asia Conference

Hurricane Tamebay Webinar

Hurricane to discuss impact of March 2021 regulations in Tamebay Webinar

March 15th should be etched in the diaries of anyone involved in cross-border eCommerce.

Two major regulatory events – the US STOP Act and ICS2 – come into force on this date.

Both will require cross-border traders to ensure they are providing complete and valid electronic data on their parcels.

Without it, several hundred million parcels are likely to get stuck at customs leading to increased costs, delays and, worst of all, reputational damage with customers.

The Tamebay webinar on March 15 will hear from Hurricane’s Martyn Noble and Bram Buijs. They will explain more about these and other regulations impacting cross-border eCommerce in 2021 and, crucially, what it means for businesses.

We’ll explain the critical importance of having complete and valid data (including HS6 codes, product descriptions, country of origin etc.) and also ensuring you are screening effectively for prohibited and restricted goods and so called denied parties.

This webinar is a must watch for merchants, marketplaces, carriers and anyone else involved in the cross-border supply chain.

To register for this event, follow the link below –

 

Hurricane and ELI launch new China website

Hurricane Commerce and our Chinese partner ELI Holdings have launched a new dedicated Chinese website to enable Chinese businesses to learn more about our suite of APIs.

Hurricane has teamed up with ELI to provide Chinese eCommerce and logistics companies with the tools and technology to enable them to trade cross-border successfully and seamlessly amid tough global regulatory requirements.

Among these regulations is the US Stop Act which requires all mail parcels to have complete and valid advanced electronic data (AED) to pass through US customs.

The UK and EU are also removing the exemption from VAT on eCommerce packets containing low value items while, in March 2021, the implementation of ICS2 will require postal operators to provide entry summary declarations before parcels can pass into or through the EU.

The demand for services that allow businesses to continue trading cross-border is soaring, with the need for compliance screenings, cost transparency and accurate and complete customs declarations. The need for accurate data is becomingly increasingly important and is becoming key in providing a positive customer experience by reducing transit times and the risk of unexpected fees upon delivery.

Nothing moves without the right data and increasing global regulation is providing huge challenges to those involved in cross-border eCommerce trade.

Hurricane is the preferred data partner for postal operators, online retailers, eCommerce platforms and carriers.

Contact us to find out more about our suite of APIs and how they can benefit your business.

The dedicated Chinese site can be round at this address – http://www.hurricanecommerce.cn/