Posted on: 11 February 2021
What you need to know when trading with EU countries
Following the UK’s final transition away from the European Union in January 2021, many businesses who traded with the EU found new obstacles in the way when trading with EU countries.
To help you avoid some of these pitfalls, we’ve looked at some of the key problems facing businesses who trade with the EU to help you mitigate some of these problems.
UK businesses importing goods from the EU
When bringing goods into the UK that will stay in the UK and not be moved on elsewhere, you will need to make sure that you have followed the steps below to avoid hold-ups, delays, seizures and even fines.
Get an EORI number
To be able to move goods into England, Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales from the EU, you will need to get an EORI number. For England, Scotland and Wales, this number will start with GB. For Northern Ireland, this number will start with XI.
Can your supplier send goods?
Following Brexit, businesses based in the EU are required to make declarations or have licences or registrations to be able to send goods to the UK.
You will need to get in touch with any EU business that you import from to make sure that they are able to continue to send the products that you need to minimise disruption.
Who makes the declarations
When importing from the EU, someone will need to deal with customs or make declarations. This can be done by yourself or you could hire someone to do this work for you.
Getting the customs part of any importing that you do is vital to get right the first time, so hiring an agent to work on your behalf should help to keep disruptions to a minimum.
Find your commodity code
A commodity code will determine how much you need to pay in fees and whether or not you will need an import licence for the products you import.
You will need to include the commodity code with your import declaration. If you use an agent they will be able to help you with your commodity code. Otherwise, you can find out about commodity codes on the government web site.
Work out your import value
You will need to pay VAT and duty on all goods that you import, which is based on the value of your imports.
Calculating the value of your goods needs to be done in a certain way, which your agent can help with, or you can use this link to find out how to do it yourself.
Get the right certification
Some goods will need specific certification or licences to be eligible for transport into the UK following Brexit, some examples include:
- Animals or animal products
- Plants and plant products
- High risk foods
- Veterinary medicines
- Human medicines
Check labelling, marking and marketing rules
There are certain rules on labelling and markings for the items that you import from the EU. Having the wrong marking or labelling can cause a disruption to your imports at customs.
Check these rules on labelling.
UK businesses exporting goods to the EU
If you are exporting goods to their final destination in an EU country, you will need to make sure that you have considered and resolved these common issues when exporting.
Check the rules for your products
Now that we have left the European Union, there are new rules for the types of products that can and cannot be exported, not onto into the European Union as a whole, but in some cases, specific countries within the European Union.
Check the export goods from the UK list to find the rules on what you can and can’t export to EU countries following Brexit.
Get the right licensing
To be able to export certain items into EU countries, you will have to check the rules to stop them being rejected from entering the country.
- animals and animal products
- plants and plant products
- drugs and medicines
- medical devices
- ozone-depleting substances and F-gases
- radioactive substances
- art works, antiques and culturally significant goods
- goods that could be used for torture or capital punishment
- firearms, ammunition and related equipment
- military goods, services and technology
- items that can have both civil and military uses
Similar to importing, you will need to obtain an EORI number to be able to export to the EU.
Exporting from England, Scotland or Wales, your number will start with GB. Export from Northern Ireland and your number will start with XI.
Check if your receiver is allowed to accept goods
Similar to importing, you will need to ensure that the person or business that you are exporting to is able to accept goods from the UK.
They will need to declare items on arrival in their country or have certain certification or licensing to accept your exports.
This is also similar to importing, where you need to declare exports at customs or hire someone to do this for you.
Many businesses choose to use an agent to navigate customs to ensure that exports aren’t held up.
UK businesses providing services to countries in the EU
The Brexit trade deal is known as the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement. It outlines how businesses in the UK can still access the single market of the European Union. Here are some of the things you need to know to make sure that trade with your customers from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein can continue.
As we mentioned earlier, now that we are no longer a part of the EU, our trading relationship is different with each country that makes up the European Union and the European Economic Area.
Visit the government website to find out more about providing services to EU and EEA countries.
Digital Services sales VAT
Businesses currently use Mini One Stop Shop (MOSS) to declare digital sales in the UK, but will now have to register for MOSS in the EU member state that you are providing services for.
Find out more about paying tax on digital services.
Data Protection and GDPR
Once the UK left the EU, we introduced our own Data Protection Act (2018) which was similar to GDPR for UK citizens. As part of the previously mentioned UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement, the free flow of data between the UK and the EU, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland can continue for 6 months from 1st January 2021.
During this 6 month window, it would be prudent to work with the businesses that you transfer data with to put safeguards in place to prevent the disruption of data transfer. Read this information from the government for more information on how to use data for your business.
Business Insurance with Premierline
No matter how prepared you are, your business can always face some form of risk. At Premierline, we have many years’ experience arranging business insurance, and we can arrange cover to protect your livelihood no matter how complex your risk is. From insurance for tradesmen to shops, property owners and offices through to commercial and industrial businesses that require bespoke commercial combined packages.
Brexit may have some insurance implications for your business, so speak to one of the brokers at Premierline to find out what the UK leaving the European Union means for your insurance policy.
Whatever your speciality, you can compare quotes online from some of the UK’s leading insurers or call us for expert recommendations and insurance advice.
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Business Guidance17 November 2020
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