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What small businesses need to know about UK-EU importing and exporting

September 8, 2021

Trading between the UK and the EU is a lot different this year. Since the Brexit trade deal was implemented, there have been new rules businesses have had to contend with. Most notably, new rules around customs declarations have caused pain and confusion for many. For some this has led to stock shortages, and delays in being able to get goods to customers.
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The Government’s trade statistics revealed a 37% drop in export and import trade. Additional regulations will come into force on 1 October regarding documentation and border checks on animal and plant products entering the UK.

To help small businesses get to grips with this changing regulatory landscape in the wake of Brexit, we’ve teamed up with Deloitte to create a comprehensive guide to importing and exporting between the UK and EU. Here are a few highlights and a link to download a useful guide here.

Tips for post-Brexit customs declarations

We are currently in a transitional period as regulations continue to change. For all of 2021 – from 1 January to 31 December – businesses importing non-controlled goods will generally have three options for submitting customs declarations:

  1. With a few exceptions, businesses can use delayed declarations while they get everything in order. This involves keeping an internal record and submitting it to HMRC within 175 days.
  2. Businesses can make a simplified declaration at the point of entry to the UK if they meet the necessary requirements.
  3. Businesses importing non-controlled goods can make a full declaration at the point of import and then supplement it within six months.

Businesses that import controlled goods and excise goods, such as alcohol and tobacco products, still need to make a full customs declaration at the point of import into the UK.

From 1 October, additional restrictions on animals, animal products, plants and plant products – a category known as sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) goods – will come into force. Businesses will need to provide pre-notification for a range of goods, including:

  • Products of Animal Origin (POAO)
  • Certain Animal By-Products (ABP)
  • High-Risk Food Not of Animal Origin (HRFNAO)

Businesses will also need to provide Export Health Certificates for POAO and certain ABP.

Here’s everything you need to know

Now that the EU’s shared policies no longer cover Britain, many everyday importing and exporting tasks have changed significantly. Trying to understand all of it may be overwhelming for many small business owners, so we have worked with experts at Deloitte to create our complete guide to importing and exporting.

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