EU Trade Hub

It is important for businesses to start taking action to prepare for new rules that will come into effect from 1 January 2021, even if you do not trade with or do business in the EU. To help you get ready, check the information below on employing staff, business travel, exporting, importing, international trade paperwork, costs, logistics, data protection, e-commerce, accounting and auditing, public procurement, intellectual property and taxation.

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Key Steps to Take Now

Key Steps to Take Now

  1. Visit for a list of steps to get your business ready.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Plan for Customs Declarations and ensure you obtain a Service Level Agreement as demand will be high.


Check this country-by-country guide to find out how exporting goods and services to each EU and non-EU country is expected to change from 1 January 2021.

Certificates of origin may be required for exported goods. Suppliers should consider whether customers need proof of where content is sourced, and businesses buying from suppliers should also review where materials are sourced.

Businesses should also check if permission is required to export intellectual property protected products from the UK to the EU after the transition period ends.

Country-by-Country Guide

Customs Declarations

Since 1st January 2021, all UK businesses are required to complete a Customs Declaration for all goods imported and exported from/to the 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

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From 1 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 to set up a duty deferment account, check this Government advice.

International Trade

International Trade

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.

Data Protection

While rules governing data protection from 1 January 2021 are not yet set, it is critical for businesses that process the personal data of stakeholders, customers, and any other contacts, to be prepared for changes.

To understand how you can best prepare, please check the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) guidance below:



Employers with UK-based staff who regularly travel to EU nations for work, and vice versa, should consider whether visas are needed or whether the trip qualifies for a visa-exempt business visit. 

As well as business travel, businesses now need to consider work visas when employing EU nationals.

Accounting and Auditing

It is important to be aware of changes to the UK’s reporting regime from 1 January 2021.

Businesses should check whether it will be necessary to make changes to how accounting and reporting is undertaken to avoid potential breaches of reporting requirements in EEA countries.

The following Government guidance sets out how you might be affected:



Payments of interest, royalties and dividends between UK and EU businesses could change. Check this Government advice to find out how you might be affected.

If you will be earning money while carrying out any work in the EU, you might need to inform HMRC. Find out more information here

The VAT treatment of goods arriving from outside of the UK will change from 1 January 2021. Check this Government guidance for full details.

Businesses that wish to hold trading stock in an EU country must register for VAT in that country. You may also be required to appoint a Fiscal Representative who is jointly liable for any VAT owed.