Prepare for new trading rules
Businesses in the UK should take action now to start preparing for new trading rules which will be in effect from January 2021.
The UK has left the EU, and the transition period comes to an end on the 31 December 2020. Prepare your business by checking the new rules that will apply from the 1 January 2021 and take action now.
Quick online survey
The online Check how to get ready for new rules in 2021 tool will guide you through a series of questions and provide you with a list of results to support you getting ready for the new rules. At the end of the survey, make sure you subscribe to the email updates on the results page to be notified about any new announcements and developments that may affect you.
Crucial steps for importers and exporters to take now
1. Ensure your company is registered for both imports and exports
Does your UK company have an EORI number that starts with GB?
From 1 January 2021 you will need an EORI number to move goods between the UK and the EU.
Apply for an EORI number. You should apply for this number in advance as it can take up to a week to get one.
2. Make sure the classification of your goods (tariff/commodity code) are correct
Use the Trade Tariff to look up commodity codes, duty and VAT rates and find out how to contact HMRC in order to get help with a commodity code and what information you will need to send them.
Ask HMRC for help to classifying your goods, or find out how to get a legally binding decision on the commodity code to use for your goods by applying for a Binding Tariff Information decision.
3. Be ready for the new customs paperwork
Regardless of whether a deal is reached between the UK and EU, import and export customs declarations with be required for the movement of goods as of 1 January 2021.
It is estimated that the number of customs declarations will increase from 50 million to 250 million. Exporters are urged to speak with their customs broker or import-export agent who acts on their behalf. This is to secure the service an exporter needs beyond the 31 December, or to look at setting up your business to make declarations internally.
HMRC has made funding of £50 million available to enhance its Customs Grant Scheme. Since the 29 July 2020, organisations have been able to apply for funding to reimburse a number of costs associated with increasing their capacity and enhancing their ability to complete customs declarations, ahead of the new rules from January 2021.
4. Check the new UK tariff for imported goods
From 1 January 2021, the UK will apply a UK-specific tariff to imported goods.
This UK Global Tariff (UKGT) will replace the EU’s Common External Tariff, which applies until 31 December 2020.
Check UK trade tariffs from 1 January 2021 that will apply to goods you import when the UK Global Tariff takes effect on the 1 January 2021.
As we approach the end of the Transition Period it is important that businesses involved in international trade use this time to prepare for life outside the EU, including new customs arrangements.
Sign up for the Trader Support Service
On 1 January 2021, the Northern Ireland Protocol comes into force. There will be changes to the way goods move between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The Trader Support Service is free to use and guides business through any changes to the way goods move between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
For businesses that trade with Northern Ireland please sign up now.
Transition period webinars for businesses
Business Secretary Alok Sharma is encouraging businesses to sign up for a second phase of webinars targeting key issues, including personal data and regulations on manufactured goods. Please register for the following webinars:
Round up of latest news for businesses
The joint UK-EU Specialised Committee met last week to reaffirm their commitment to implementing part three of the Withdrawal Agreement.
Department for International Trade
The Department for International Trade has published new web pages for:
- The UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement
- Exporting and importing from 1 January 2021
They have also published updated guidance on:
- Trade remedies - the EU imposed an anti-dumping measure on Steel Road Wheels
- Trading with the UK from 1 January 2021 (guidance in Dutch)
Department for Transport
The Department for Transport and DVLA have released guidance on ECMT permits for 2021. These must be applied for by 20 November 2020. Businesses may need ECMT permits for some journeys to or through the EU from 1 January 2021.
Guidance on import licences and export licences for 2021 has been updated, including guidance on how to comply with REACH chemical regulations from 1 January 2021.
DEFRA has uploaded recordings of their recent webinars for exporters of animals and products of animal origin to the EU.
In addition, DEFRA has published updated guidance for:
- Importing animals, animal products and high-risk feed and food not of animal origin (guidance on documents to transport live animals)
- Exporting live animals and animal products to the EU (documents to transport live animals)
- Export groups of products of animal origin to the EU from 1 January 2021
- Importing and exporting plans and plant products from 1 January 2021(advanced notifications for all regulated consignments to the UK)
- Importing and exporting wine from 1 January 2021 (including labelling imported wine)
DEFRA has also released updated guidance on labelling and marketing standards for the following areas:
- Trading and labelling organic food from 1 January 2021 (importing organics)
- Fresh fruit and vegetable marketing (importing and exporting with the UK)
- Beef and veal marketing standards
- Poultry meat marketing standards (importing and exporting with the UK)
- Egg marketing standards (importing and exporting with the UK)
- Hops and hops products marketing standards (moving products between the UK and other countries)
HMRC has published guidance on applying for grants for recruitment, training and IT improvements if businesses complete customs declarations. In addition, the following information has been updated:
- List of customs agents and fast parcel operators
- Draft and final notices to be made under the Customs Regulations
Other relevant guidance
- BEIS has issued guidance on using the UKNI marking from 1 January 2021
- The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has issued guidance on variations to Marketing Authorisations (MAs) from 2021, as well as renewing MAs
- The Veterinary Medicines Directorate has published guidance on veterinary medicinal products placed on the EU and UK markets before 1 January 2021
Please visit the GOV.UK website for the latest updates on webinars for businesses.
Resources for businesses
- For UK businesses visit the UK/transition page
- For EU businesses visit the UK/eubusiness
- Sign up to BEIS’ Transition Business and Employer Bulletin