08 Nov 2023
by Elise Elan

#techUKInternationalTrade Impact Day Blog: Can AI reshape trade compliance and border procedures?

Elise Elan, Market Development Director – Future Borders at Capita discusses how the use of artificial intelligence (AI) can help to simplify border procedures.

The Border Target Operating Model released in August outlines innovative controls for establishing a world-class border through enhanced data and technology utilisation. With the suspension of controls coming to an end, new policies are being rolled out, notably impacting food, plant and animal product imports.

In order to ensure both commercial and government compliance, essential documents such as waybills, invoices, bills of lading, and health certificates must be submitted, along with specific data in relevant IT systems to notify enforcement authorities about imports to Great Britain.

When dealing with exports, duties and customs procedures for exporting goods must be checked to ensure that rules and restrictions, taxes and duty rates, and the required documents are all in order.

This plethora of information, advice, forms, and IT systems demand a systematic approach and dedicated resource.

Enter AI – a tool adept at accessing, querying, and learning to streamline decision processes, resulting in enhanced efficiency, accuracy, and compliance.

Here are two examples developed with partners to eliminate trader barriers:

Conversational AI for streamlined information access

When importing goods into the UK, goods fall into high, medium, or low-risk categories, each requiring notifications, certificates, and potentially inspections, as detailed in the government’s step by step guide to importing goods into the UK.

In collaboration with AMI, we have designed a customised journey using conversational AI Models to simplify traders’ navigation through the government website. This involves extracting pertinent information through straightforward questions, reducing the complexity of the process and making it a lot less daunting. AMI can also help identify gaps in website content, so customers can easily find out want they want to know versus what's available.


This screenshot illustrates how this could be deployed as a DEFRA AI chatbot.

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Conversational models can also help provide concise answers in plain language, as illustrated in this example of HMRC content:

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Empowering the future

Customs and border procedures are complex and specific, making AI and Conversational AI invaluable. The presented solutions are tried and tested across a range of sectors, and their scalability is apparent.

Furthermore, there is a huge potential for automation, which can be applied to documentary checks, resource management, and compliance checks. In anticipation of the upcoming new policies for SPS imports and Safety and Security Declarations, LLM and conversational AI will be integral to solutions for proactive compliance tools as well as operational solutions that will benefit traders and competent authorities alike. The envisioned gains in efficiency, accuracy, and data integration capabilities hold the potential to strengthen stakeholders’ ability to meet policies and enhance compliance standards.

To delve deeper into the government’s approach to streamlining customs and border procedures through AI, Conversational AI chatbot and automation, contact Elise Elan, [email protected].

For more on AI, including upcoming events, please visit our AI Safety Summit Hub.
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Elise Elan

Elise Elan

Market Development Director , Capita