The UK left the EU at the beginning of this year, and entered in to a 12 month transition period, during which, trade with the EU followed the “status-quo”, or in other words, nothing changed.
The transition period is due to end on 31st December 2020, so from 1st of January 2021, there will be significant and noticeable changes to how UK businesses trade with the EU, including the Republic of Ireland. There will also be changes to how companies in Northern Ireland trade with Great Britain.
The negotiations between the UK government and the EU are ongoing, with some details yet to be finalised, but businesses MUST start preparing NOW.
Here is a list of some key areas to help get your business ready;
- Get an EORI Number: An Economic Operators Registration and Identification number (EORI) will be needed from 1st January 2021 to move goods between the UK and the EU. If you do not have an EORI number, click on relevant link below to register your business.
It’s also worth checking that your suppliers/customers have an EORI number, and encourage them to obtain one from their relevant authority if necessary.
- Confirm your Commodity Codes: All products are classified under a commodity or tariff code using the Harmonized System developed by the World Customs Organization (WCO). Commodity codes provide information on duty rates, import and export formalities, trade statistics and other applicable protective measures. If you’re moving goods to or from the EU market, it is important that you have the correct commodity codes for each of your products. Relevant links below to find out more;
- Review Incoterms: The Incoterms rules are basically the world’s terms of trade for the sale of goods. Incoterms will help guide companies participating in the import and export of trade, and are important for clarifying what the seller is responsible for and what the buyer is responsible for. This can cover transport, insurance and customs clearance.
- For more information – click here.
- Update Commercial Invoices: These will play a very important role from January 2021, so it’s worth reviewing your current Commercial Invoice design/layout with the necessary personnel and considering if some more key information could be added to the invoice, to help with new requirements. The following information should be included on all commercial invoices where possible;
- Consignor (Sender) name, address and EORI number + VAT number
- Consignee (Receiver) name, address and EORI number + VAT number
- Date of shipping
- Product Description
- Commodity Codes (for each product listed)
- Gross & Net Weight
- Value & Currency of goods
- Country of origin
- No. and type of packages
- Consider a Duty Deferment Account: If you already trade with countries outside the EU then you may already have a customs VAT/Duty deferment account. Depending on the outcome of the negotiations, and the volume of imports you have, you might want to consider applying for a duty deferment account. This will allow you to delay paying customs charges such as import VAT, customs duty and excise duty. See links below for further information.
- Prepare for Customs Clearance: Customs clearance will be new to very many businesses, and without experience or training, it can be complicated and difficult to understand. We can assist you with any customs requirements you may have, so please get in touch with us to discuss. If you’re a Northern Ireland based company, or if you are a UK company and trade with Northern Ireland, you could also avail of the Trader Support Service (TSS) for processing import customs clearance in to Northern Ireland.
- Ask for Support / Guidance: The changes that will take effect due to Brexit will be new for everyone. If you’re feeling anxious or worried about what you need to do, speak to someone about it. Speak to us about it. There will be very many other business people with the same concerns, so it’s important to speak with someone and understand that you are not alone.