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Northern Powerhouse European Union

What businesses need to do

Check what guidance you need to follow

Find out more about the key changes you need to make

Business need to review logistics plans, consider stock holdings and cash flow, as well as update systems and processes to ensure the new rules around customs are followed. Early planning will help minimise disruption to your supply chain and customers.  

Businesses in Great Britain need to complete the following actions to continue importing goods from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein from 1 January 2021: 

Step 1: Check what guidance you need to follow 

You should follow different guidance if you're: 

  1. Receiving goods by post 
  2. Importing goods from countries outside the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein 

Step 2: Find out how to declare goods from 1 January 2021 

From 1 January 2021, you'll need to make customs declarations when you import goods from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. These are the same rules that currently apply for importing goods from the rest of the world. You can make the declarations yourself or hire someone else such as a courier, freight forwarder or customs agent. 

  1. Get someone to deal with customs for you 
  2. Find out how to make customs declarations yourself 

If you do not use a customs intermediary, there will be additional steps in completing the declarations, such as: 

  • Getting training in how to complete declarations 
  • Acquiring specialist software to submit declarations 
  • Applying for a CHIEF badge
  • Attaining your commodity code 
  • Attaining your customs procedure code 

There are grants available for recruitment, training and IT to support you if you are completing yourself. Find out more here. 

Check the new rules for your type of goods. From 1 January 2021, the rules for importing some types of goods will change. 

  1. Check what import licences or certificates you need 
  2. Check the labelling and marketing standards for food, plant seeds and manufactured goods 
  3. Check the rules for importing alcohol, tobacco and certain oils 
  4. List of goods imported into Great Britain from the EU that are controlled 

Step 3: Make sure you have an EORI number starting with GB 

You need an EORI number that starts with GB to import goods from 1 January 2021. 

  1. Get an EORI number 

Step 4: Check the rate of tax and duty you’ll need to pay 

You need to pay customs duties and VAT on all imports. 

  1. Check the rate of customs duty on imports from 1 January 2021 
  2. Check the rate of VAT 

Step 5: Check if you can make the importing process quicker 

In some situations, you can delay making a declaration for up to 6 months after you imported the goods. 

  1. Check if you can declare your goods later to make the importing process quicker 

For importers who wish to defer declarations (for instance, from January to July) you will need to make an Entry into Declarants Records (EIDR) and ensure that records are maintained, including all trade and transport documentation, Commodity codes, CPC codes, UCR and written description of the goods.   

A supplementary full declaration is required up to a maximum of six months from the date of importation. Traders or their agents will require to be authorised for Customs Freight Simplified Procedures (CFSP). Agents will not be financially liable under CFSP for UK traders, but they will be liable for EU exporters. 

Traders (unless they are a high-risk trader), can apply for CFSP without the requirement for a financial guarantee.  

Step 6: Update commercial contracts with suppliers 

Ensure the EU exporter has all the information they need (their EORI number, export declaration in their country’s system and any additional licences and certification) to ensure effective border crossing. This will depend on the Incoterms used.  

Review existing contracts and ensure these are updated to reflect latest guidance – check this with your commercial solicitor. 

Submit or ensure your intermediary has submitted INTRASTAT declarations if applicable. 

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