Get Your Business Brexit-Ready: Part 1

Siobhan O'Shea   20 January, 2020
Workplace Featured

Brexit For Exporters to the EU

I'm sure you are aware by now that a no-deal Brexit will impact your business. We'll all have to get used to new rules on living, working, travelling and doing business in the UK and EU.

A no-deal Brexit means that your business will no longer be treated as if it were a local EU company. Services provided by our UK businesses and professionals will be done on world trade terms, with the UK treated as a 'third country'. 

Tariffs as a 'third country' average roughly 3%, with a few notable exceptions such as cars at 10% and wine at 32%. Tariffs for agriculture are particularly steep.

Under a no-deal Brexit, some 40 existing trade agreements between the EU and dozens of countries would no longer apply to the UK.

If you export goods to the EU or plan to in the future, here's a quick guide on how to prepare your business for a no-deal Brexit.


What to Do If You Export Goods to the EU?


Make sure your business has an EORI number that starts with GB

You’ll need an EORI number that starts with GB to move goods in or out of the UK if there’s no Brexit deal. Without one, you may face increased costs and delays. For example, if HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) cannot clear your goods, you may be liable for storage fees. If you already have an EORI number that starts with GB, you can continue to use it. It takes less than 10 minutes to apply here for an EORI number.

Check your importer has an EU EORI number

Similarly, your importer will need an EU EORI number. If you plan to export to your own business within the EU, you'll need your own EU EORI number. You can get one from the customs authority in any EU country.

Decide who will make the export declarations

You can hire someone to deal with customs for you, or you can do it yourself. Completing a customs declaration is complicated and you may need to invest in specialised software. So, unless you're already familiar with this process, you may want to get someone to deal with customs for you.

Determine if you want to export your goods using transit

If you can use the Common Transit Convention (CTC), it would simplify how your goods pass through customs and when your importer pays customs duties. Find out if you qualify here.



Check the rate of tax and duty for your goods

Your importer will need to pay tax and duty on your goods after Brexit. This will depend on the classification of the goods. 

Learn what you need to do for the type of goods you export

There might be other things you need to do, depending on what you're exporting. Check if the rules about licences and certificates for your type of goods will change.

Find out how changes to VAT will affect you

The process for claiming a VAT refund from EU states will change after Brexit. Each EU member state has its own process for refunding VAT to businesses based outside the EU. Luckily, you can easily find the process is for each country on the European Commission website.

Decide who will transport your goods outside the UK

You can hire someone to transport your goods, or you can do it yourself. If you decide to do it yourself, keep in mind that countries will have specific rules about licenses, permits, vehicle documents, and transporting certain types of goods. Start by checking if you need a vehicle operator license here.

Many British SMEs are on track to grow exports to the EU. While challenging, the situation isn't all negative - Japan and South Korea became exporting giants without any special trade deals. The UK runs a trade deficit with the EU despite single market membership, but has a surplus with the US with no deal in place!

No matter what happens, many exporters will be familiar with the likely post-Brexit rules for trading with the EU. They’ve already handled issues such as warehousing, export licences, tariffs and all of the other bureaucracy of export.

If you have any questions about importing and exporting goods after Brexit, don't worry, there's a Brexit hotline. Call the UK helpline at 0300 3301 331 to find out about:

  • Customs declarations and procedures
  • Duties and tariffs
  • Importing and exporting different goods
  • Transporting goods to and from the EU
  • Product safety regulations

Not an exporter to the EU? Our next instalment in this 'Get your business Brexit-ready' series will look at how to get Brexit-ready if you export goods from the EU, or sell services to the EU.

Siobhan O'Shea

Writer. Content Creator. Fancy Dancer. Irreverant copywriter, on a mission to stamp out gobbledygook and make business blogs sparkle.

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