Key Steps to Take
Steps to take to prepare for EU trade
- Visit gov.uk/transition for a list of steps to get your business ready.
- Review your staff and hiring needs to ensure you’re ready for the UK’s new immigration system and new requirements for travelling to EEA countries.
- Review your supply chain. If you are a buyer or seller, it is important to understand how logistical and financial changes for businesses across your supply chain will affect you.
- Review your contracts to check for any terms that refer to the EU, rely on EU regulation or might need to be reviewed in light of the UK’s exit from the EU.
- Plan for Customs Declarations and ensure you obtain a Service Level Agreement as demand will be high.
GOV.UK has a country-by-country guide to find out how exporting goods and services to each EU and non-EU country has changed since 1 January 2021.
Certificates of origin may be required for exported goods on rare occasions. Suppliers should consider whether customers need proof of where content is sourced, and businesses buying from suppliers should also review where materials are sourced. For the most part, an invoice declaration on the invoice will suffice for export to the EU in order for your buyer to obtain preferential rates of duty.
Businesses should also check if permission is required to export intellectual property protected products from the UK to the EU.
Since 1st January 2021, all UK businesses have been required to complete a Customs Declaration for all goods imported and exported from/to the UK.
From 1st January 2022
- All businesses are required to lodge a full declaration for imported goods
- An import declaration is required immediately upon entry into the UK. The six months postponement scheme will cease to exist.
- Customs checks will begin on imports into Great Britain (GB) from the European Union (EU).
- Pre-notification and documentary checks are required for import of agri-foods (for live animals and animal by-products; re-notification is through IPAFFS.
- GVMS goes live for EU to GB imports when passing through GB ports that are not inventory linked (this includes Dover, Eurotunnel, and Holyhead).
From 1st July 2022
The final implementation of the UK’s phased Border Operating Model takes place. This means:
- Safety and security declarations are now required for imports into GB from the EU.
- Export Health Certificates are required for agri-foods. This includes Health Certificates for all products of animal origin, live animals, germinal products and composite products. Check GOV.UK for information on getting an export health certificate.
- Import pre-notification and phytosanitary certificates are required for plant, plant products and timber-based products.
- SPS (Sanitary and Phytosanitary) checks on animal and animal products, plant and plant products will take place at Border Control Posts.
- Further information about moving food or drink into GB from July 2022 can be found on GOV.UK
Our ChamberCustoms service ensures your goods will be cleared for onward transportation smoothly, without incurring excess costs.
Contact our international team to get set-up and ready for Custom Declarations
From 1st January 2021, there will be standard rules for bringing goods into the UK from EU and non-EU countries.
In addition to acquiring an EORI number (see below), businesses will need to declare imports to customs and pay VAT and duty as appropriate. An import license or other form of authorisation may be required for goods such as medicines and animal products. Check this Government guidance for more details.
Businesses that import goods regularly may benefit from a duty deferment account. This allows for a single monthly payment to be made through Direct Debit, instead of paying for individual consignments. To find out how more about importing rules and regulations, check this GOV.UK advice page.
As of 1st January 2021, Scottish businesses must now comply with new regulation and procedures when trading with European partners, including new paperwork, costs and formalities.
It's vital that you understand and follow these rules when trading with the EU.
If you do not have a UK EORI number, you should apply for one here. Costs and delays are likely without this, and it is advisable to apply as soon as possible.
The right paperwork will be essential for importing and exporting goods from 1 January 2021. For detailed guidance on the international trade paperwork you will need, including contracts, licences and declarations, check this Government advice page.
Businesses should familiarise themselves with Incoterms (international commercial terms). This is important for ensuring the right contract terms are set between importers and exporters, and to clarify responsibilities, risks and costs. Check British Chambers of Commerce guidance for more information.
Tariffs may impact the costs of trading with EU and non-EU countries.
Check the following guidance to find out whether this will affect your costs:
Note that there is currently a Free Trade Agreement in place for trade with the EU however that tariffs in UK-EU trade may not apply depending on Rules of Origin - i.e. if you import goods from the EU that originate from China, you will pay duty on the import.
If you are a buyer or seller, you should check whether tariffs might impact businesses in your supply chain and therefore affect your own costs.
New border customs checks to be introduced in January 2022 and July 2022 may cause delays.
Businesses should check how prepared their supply chains are for potential delays, the costs that could result from these delays and whether changes to inventory and storage are necessary.
Hauliers should check that drivers have the correct documentation to drive in the EU. An international driving permit (IDP) or an additional licence may be required. Insurance and registration requirements may also apply.
EEA regulations will no longer apply to UK cross-border services trade from 1 January 2021.
As a result, any services sold by UK businesses to parties in the EU will be considered to originate from a ‘third country’ and you may face new regulatory, administrative and legal barriers.
It is important to understand the guidelines of the country in which you are selling services. Check this country-by-country guide for advice.
For further information, including on owning or managing businesses registered in the EU and VAT on digital sales, check the GOV.UK website.
Businesses are advised to start preparing immediately for the impacts of potential changes to rules governing online activity in EEA countries.
The eCommerce Directive, which is the EU’s legal framework for online services, will not apply to the UK after the transition period ends. This step-by-step guidance will help you ensure your business is compliant.
The UK Government also recommends seeking legal advice.
The Import One-Stop Shop (IOSS) is the electronic portal businesses can use since 1 July 2021 to comply with their VAT e-commerce obligations on distance sales of imported goods.
According to the VAT rules applicable up until 1 July 2021, no import VAT has to be paid for commercial goods of a value up to EUR 22.
The new VAT e-commerce rules abolish this provision as of 1 July 2021. Thus, from 1 July 2021, all commercial goods imported into the EU from a third country or third territory is subject to VAT irrespective of their value.