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What do I need to do to get my business ready for EU trade?

Posted: Thursday 30th July

Fresh challenges brought about by the current Coronavirus pandemic means you might not have had time to plan your import and export strategy from 2021 onwards. 

But now the UK has left the European Union and with the transition period soon coming to an end, it’s essential to get to grips with what changes lie ahead. 

The UK is leaving the EU single market and customs union which means from January 1, 2021, the process for importing and exporting goods will change. 

Importing from the EU 

If your business relies on goods being imported from European countries and you want to continue to do this, then you will need to make customs declarations. You can either do this yourself or hire someone such as a trusted freight forwarder, like us to help. 

From January 1, the rules around importing certain types of goods will also change so it’s important to check the licences and certificates you might need as well as the labelling and marketing standards for goods. 

You will need an EORI number that starts with GB to be able to import anything from January so make sure you have applied for yours in preparation for the change. 

Finally, customs duties and VAT will apply to all imports so make sure you’re aware of the additional costs so that you can factor these into any import budgeting. 

Exporting to the EU 

The process of exporting products to the EU will also change from January 1 and in line with above, you will have to make customs declarations when sending items to countries located within the European Union. At the moment these rules apply only to exporting goods to the rest of the world. 

Again, there will be different rules around the licensing and labelling of goods which are being exported to the EU so make sure you do your homework on items which apply to your business. 

An EORI is also crucial for exporting and you must make sure you have a new number which starts with GB to ensure your export strategy can smoothly transition into 2021. 

Lastly, there will be some changes to the VAT charged on goods exported to the EU. Most goods will be eligible for ‘zero rate’ VAT but make sure you check in advance what applies to your business. 

If you’re not sure where to start on preparing your business for post transition, our team of experts can assist and guide you through the process. Send an email to or call 01952 270699. 

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