Export

As things stand, the EU will treat the UK as a third (non-Member) country from day one. This means that UK exports to the EU will be subject to the same documentary, certification and other requirements as goods from the rest of the world, including in respect of issues such as permits for road haulage.

Companies which already export to non-EU countries will be familiar with these requirements and will simply have to scale up their internal procedures accordingly. But companies which have only ever traded with the EU will need to put new processes in place and factor in the extra time required prior to shipment, particularly in order to obtain an export health certificate. Many may find it easier to employ customs agents to help with this, though there will be significant demand for such services.

If the UK succeeds in negotiating a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the EU, it is unlikely that any tariffs or duties will need to be paid though other border formalities (like customs declarations) will apply. But, in the absence of such a deal, most goods are likely to face the full EU external tariff from day one. The exact rates depend on the tariff codes for each product – and can vary significantly even within similar groups. Special rules also apply for composite products and where products contain raw materials that have originated outside the UK.

A summary of the main requirements and an initial check list can be found at Prepare to Export from Great Britain. Different arrangements will apply in respect of goods exported to the EU from Northern Ireland, which will continue to be subject to Customs Union and Single Market rules, details of which are not yet available.

General Guidance

  1. Check that you have an EORI number. If not; please contact HMRC
  2. Check your commodity/tariff codes
  3. Know what health certificates your products need
  4. Check your product labelling
  5. Decide if you want to make customs declarations yourself, or appoint a Customs Intermediary.
  6. Ensure your Incoterms (International Commercial Terms) outlining the delivery and shipping responsibilities are correct and up to date.

EORI (Economic Operators Registration and Identification) is a unique ID code used to track and register customs information in the EU.

In order to trade with the EU at the end of the transition period you may need two types of EORI numbers.

UK EORI

A UK EORI number will allow you to trade goods between the UK and the EU and non –EU countries. It will allow you or your agent to submit the necessary customs declarations and to apply for customs simplification procedures. Your UK EORI number will start with ‘GB’ and be followed by 12 digits which will include your VAT number. You may already have a UK EORI number if you trade with non-EU countries.

A UK EORI number is not required if you only move goods between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

If you are a VAT registered UK business, HMRC may have automatically allocated you a UK EORI number. If you are not a VAT registered business or have not received your UK EORI number click here to contact HMRC or to apply.

UK businesses should refer to government guidance on UK EORI numbers for the latest information.

EU EORI

A UK business will need an EU EORI number only if it is dealing directly with EU customs authorities. You can get this from the customs authority in the EU country where you submit your first declaration or request your first decision.

One EU country number will not suffice for every EU state that you export to. A separate EORI number is required for every national customs authority that you deal with. However, this only applies to your points of entry into the EU. You don’t need one for every country that your products might be sold in.

If in doubt, obtain more EORI numbers because this is a relatively simple process.

If your importer or customer in the EU deals with the EU customs authorities on your behalf, they will need to have an EU EORI number.

From 1 January 2021, you will need an EORI number to move goods between the UK and the EU. You must apply for your EORI number in advance. You can apply for your EORI no. here.

It can arrive immediately or may take some time to process. Contact HMRC if in doubt. If you already have an EORI number that starts with GB, you can continue to use it. It will be 12 digits long. If you’re registered for VAT it will include your VAT registration number.

You need to establish the basis on which you are currently selling to your customer.

If you are selling on an ex-factory basis where the customer/importer takes ownership of the goods from factory gate then they are responsible for the cost of Freight, insurance and customs procedures including paying tariffs VAT and duties. Under these circumstances you will not require an EU EORI number. 

However in most cases, if you are selling the goods on a delivered basis where you are the owner of the total consignment up until they arrive at your customer(s)  gate(s) you are the exporter AND THE IMPORTER.  You will therefore be responsible for all Border Control Post (BCP) procedures including the paying of duty.  This will be almost certainly the case for groupage consignments.

As with imports, it is advisable for companies for to appoint a Customs or Clearing agent in the country at point of entry.  Potentially most of your customers will be as inexperienced at doing this as you may be. Most of them will probably expect you to be delivering your goods duty paid.

Traders who import goods regularly may benefit from having a duty deferment account (DDA). This enables customs charges including customs duty, excise duty, and import VAT to be paid once a month through Direct Debit instead of being paid on individual consignments.

An EHC is an official document that confirms your export meets the health requirements of the destination country.

For further information: Guidance – Get an export health certificate

Simply go to Find an export health certificate for your product or animal. This will explain how to apply.

For further information: Guidance – Get an export health certificate

Yes- You must include a completed export health certificate (EHC) for each type of animal or animal product you export from the UK to a non-EU country.

For further information: Guidance – Get an export health certificate

YES- If you are exporting a consignment, which includes a mix of products, you will need an EHC for each product type.

You may also need an EHC for each country that you transit through (as well as an EHC for your final destination country).

For further information: Guidance – Get an export health certificate

From 1 January 2021, competent authorities and food businesses in the UK will not be able to apply the current ‘EC’ health and identification marks to certain POAO, which have been produced in a UK-approved establishment.

This means a revised form of the health and identification marks will need to be used from 1 January 2021 onwards for certain POAO produced in the UK and placed on the UK, EU, and non- EU country markets.

Further Information: Guidance on health and identification marks that applies from 1 January 2021

Exporting all animal products and live animals will require Export Health Certificates (EHC) and will need to pass through Border Inspection Posts (BIP) to be signed by an official vet.

The UK will use different health and identification marks on Products of Animal Origin (POAO). The UK will be listed as having third country status with the EU. UK transporters will need to apply for new licences in order to transport live animals in the EU.

More information here: Exporting animals and animal products to the EU from 1 January 2021

Guidance for what constitutes a composite product and how to export these, to the EU can be found here.

YES- You must get your animals and animal products checked at an EU BCP, from 1 January 2021.

Your goods may be refused entry, seized, destroyed, or returned to the UK if they arrive at:

  • an EU port without a BCP
  • A BCP that can’t check your type of product

For further information please see: Guidance Exporting animals and animal products to the EU from 1 January 2021

YES – You must find a BCP that can accept your type of goods – as not all BCPs accept all goods.

There are more than 400 BCPs in the EU and they are usually at EU ports and airports. Check the main list of BCPs on the EU site.

8 extra BCPs were added in early October 2019.

For further information please see: Guidance Exporting animals and animal products to the EU from 1 January 2021

All EU BCPs require advance notice of goods arriving. Check with the BCP you are planning to use for how much notice is needed.

Contact your import agent in the EU to make sure they notify the BCP through TRACES of the arrival of the consignment. They must do this within the time limits set out by the BCP.

For further information please see: Guidance Exporting animals and animal products to the EU from 1 January 2021

Missing or inaccurate paperwork is one of the most common causes of delay at the border. It is important to liaise with your overseas counterpart so the exporter understands what paperwork is required. Ensuring that documentation is legible, complete, thorough and correct can help to mitigate the risk of hold ups during border checks. The timely arrival of documentation contributes to a timely clearance, for example arranging for your documentation to arrive prior to the goods.

Use of a reputable customs broker with a good relationship with the customs authorities in the importing country can also help to ensure your goods are cleared efficiently.

Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) status gives quicker access to some simplified customs procedures and, in some cases, the right to ‘fast-track’ your shipments through some customs and safety and security procedures. Application preparation and submission for AEO status typically takes 3 to 12 months, followed by 120 days for customs to assess your submission, and conduct site visits. If you are interested in achieving AEO status, you are advised to read the relevant guidance published by HMRC here.

If you import from the EU you can also make use of the Customs Freight Simplified Procedures (CFSP). These will allow deferments on the submission of customs declarations, the payment of customs duty and other requirements as announced by the UK government on 12 June 2020.

Queuing is difficult to predict with any accuracy. The most optimistic scenario is for only minor delays. At the other end of the scale, tailbacks lasting several hours are conceivable.  

It may vary considerably from day to day and is likely to differ for imports versus exports.   

Delays will depend, in part, on the practices of companies, hauliers and the travelling public. For example, how many will cancel, postpone or re-route journeys? What proportion will travel with the right documentation to clear customs?  

Step 1 has been to encourage companies to prepare for the new procedures. This is to minimise the number of vehicles failing border checks and causing congestion.  It is also important that UK companies encourage their suppliers in the EU to prepare, so that goods entering the UK will turn up at the port with the correct documentation.

Step 2 is a light touch and efficient process at the borders

Step 3 is to encourage some routing away from Dover/Calais and Eurotunnel (expected to be the main bottlenecks) if this proves necessary. Government has urged companies to consider converting from roll on roll off freight to alternatives such as container transport (which flows through different ports such as Thames Gateway), where possible.  

Step 4 would be to respond quickly and pragmatically to any problems that arise on the ground.

There are in development for transport of fresh/live fish and day old chicks only.

The following will be either useful or essential:

This will need to include a breakdown between ex-works goods price, freight and insurance. It will also need to include the HS code(s) for the goods concerned.

Documents issued by the UK will only be valid in the UK and not in EU countries.

Read the Department for Transport guidance for more information.

As well as needing an EHC for the country you are exporting to, you may also need an EHC for any country that you are traveling through. This is known as a transit EHC.

Check whether you need a transit EHC by contacting the competent authority in the transit country. Competent authority means the equivalent of Defra in that country.

If you do need a transit certificate, you will need to apply for an EHC for that country in the usual way.

You will need to apply for a transit intra trade animal health certificate (ITAHC) or commercial documents in TRACES (Trade Control and Expert System).

If you need help with transit certificates, contact APHA or DAERA.

For further information: Guidance – Get an export health certificate

The European Commission will vote on whether to list the UK as a ‘third country’ (non-EU-country) and allow exports of:

  • live animals
  • germplasm
  • POAO
  • ABPs

If the vote is passed, the UK will be listed as an approved third country to allow these exports to continue to the EU.

Further guidance: Exporting animals and animal products to the EU from 1 January 2021

The UK left the EU in January 2020 and entered into a transition period, which will end on 31 December 2020. In preparation for 1 January 2021, your UK approved food businesses will need to be listed with the EU:

  • to export POAO to the EU or NI
  • supply others that use your POAO in commodities that are exported to the EU or NI

This is a requirement of the Northern Ireland Protocol, whereby UK authorities will apply EU customs rules to goods entering NI from 1 January 202

Further information: Listing of establishments to export products of animal origin to the EU or Northern Ireland

Tariffs & Customs

If the UK and EU reach a free trade agreement as part of the future relationship, no tariffs will apply.

Should the UK and EU not agree a future trading relationship beyond the Withdrawal Agreement, UK-EU trade will be conducted on non-preferential WTO terms.

The applicable tariffs are recorded in the EU’s Common Customs Tariff, where they are listed as ‘erga omnes’ (which translates as ‘towards all’). The EU may change these rates before the close of the transition period, but the current tariff rates can be used as an indication.

The UK will remain in the Common Transit Convention (CTC) after the end of the transition period, designed for moving goods between the EU and EFTA countries (Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland) plus Turkey, Macedonia and Serbia.

Goods in transit between France and Ireland will not be subjected to tariffs or other inspections applied to ‘third country’ imports. There will be a ‘green lane’ at the border for vehicles carrying only goods in transit.

The system governing this is called the New Computerised Transit System (NCTS) and various rules apply. Companies who intend to use NCTS for the first time after Brexit are advised to speak to HMRC or their freight companies to ensure they know how this will work.

Prior to the end of the transition period, the UK Trade Tariff Tool can help you to find the correct commodity code for your exports. The tool however should be used with caution as identifying the wrong code risks paying the wrong tariff, costly delays at the border or even goods being blocked from entering the EU. 

If you are unsure which commodity code best fits your product, HMRC are best placed to offer the necessary advice. Contact details are provided in this government guidance.

Once the correct commodity code has been identified, the UK Trade Tariff Tool lists the VAT and tariff applicable to that commodity code. During the transition period, the UK Trade Tariff Tool will show the tariffs that currently apply for imports into the EU (including the UK).

More information on how to use the UK Trade Tariff Tool can be found here.

Following the close of the transition period the UK Trade Tariff Tool will show the tariffs applicable for imports into the UK and not imports into the EU as is currently shown.

Should the UK and EU not agree a future trading relationship beyond the Withdrawal Agreement, UK-EU trade will be conducted on non-preferential WTO terms. This means that full, ‘Most Favoured Nation’ (MFN), tariffs and non-preferential rules of origin would apply to consignments of UK seafood at the EU destination country.

Should the UK and EU agree a future trading relationship beyond the Withdrawal Agreement; tariffs will instead be set at the preferential rates agreed.

To access commodity code and tariff information for your exports to the EU after 1 January 2021, UK businesses are advised to use the EU’s TARIC tool.

If you are a member of a trade association, they may also be able to offer guidance.

To calculate the tariff for your product, whether in relation to exports to the EU or imports to the UK, you first need to know the product code. The EU (and the UK) use the Combined Nomenclature (CN) system, which classifies products on the basis of 8 digits, to give an 8 digit CN code.

The first two digits refer to a chapter
e.g. 10 for grains

the 3rd and 4th digits refer to a more detailed heading
e.g. 1006 for rice

the 5th and 6th digits comprise a subheading
e.g. 1006 20 for brown rice

while the 7th and 8th digits provide even more detail
e.g. 1006 2017 for long grain brown rice which has been parboiled

For some products additional digits may be used if extra specificity is required for tariff purposes
e.g. 1006 2017 13 for brown, parboiled, long grain basmati rice

Detailed information and guidance on EU tariff codes, duty and VAT rates can be found here: trade-tariff.service.gov.uk/sections

In addition to the correct CN code, knowing the composition of the product is crucial in obtaining the correct tariff. In some cases, identifying the correct CN code will be relatively straightforward, e.g. butter (04 05 10 00). However, in others, knowing the exact composition of the product is crucial to obtaining the correct tariff.

For example, calculation of EU tariffs for food products made with multiple ingredients, such as those found in chapter 19 (preparations of cereals, flour, starch or milk; pastrycooks’ products) is complicated.  Frequently, they consist of a fixed ‘agricultural’ component plus a variable ‘added-value’ element.  The fixed agricultural element will depend on the balance of ingredients such as grains, dairy, oils and sugar. This means that tariffs for similar products can vary depending on the precise recipe.

If this is unfamiliar territory, it would be sensible to contact a specialist adviser or the relevant trade organisation, using the links below.

Questions you will need to consider when classifying meat are whether the product is raw/cooked/seasoned? Bone-in/boneless? Which cut is it and what do the explanatory notes say on this?

The introduction to the chapters of the EU combined nomenclature provides some helpful guidance on classifying products as do the explanatory notes.

Chapter 02 Meat and edible offal

Some of the key chapter headings are as follows:

0201 Chilled beef
0202 Frozen beef
0203 Pork
0204 Sheepmeat
0206 Offal (red meat)
0207 poultry meat and offal
0210 codes (salted)

  1. For the purposes of subheadings 0210 11 to 0210 93, the term ‘meat and edible meat offal, salted or in brine’ means meat and edible meat offal deeply and homogeneously impregnated with salt in all parts and having a total salt content by weight of 1,2 % or more, provided that it is the salting which ensures the long-term preservation. For the purposes of subheading 0210 99, the term ‘meat and edible meat offal, salted or in brine’ means meat and edible meat offal deeply and homogeneously impregnated with salt in all parts and having a total salt content by weight of 1,2 % or more. (Chapter notes for chapter 2)

Chapter 16 includes Meat Preparations

  1. (a) Uncooked seasoned meats fall in Chapter 16. ‘Seasoned meat’ is uncooked meat that has been seasoned, either in depth or over the whole surface of the product, with seasoning either visible to the naked eye or clearly distinguishable by taste. (b) Products falling in heading 0210 to which seasoning has been added during the process of preparation remain classified therein, provided that the addition of seasoning has not changed their character. (Chapter notes for chapter 2)

Other products

Other chapters may be relevant for meat that is not fit for human consumption or by products.

You could consider sending a sample or details of the product to the customs authority in the market of entry (HMRC for the UK) to get an official classification.

Specific help

To transport these products from the UK to the EU from 1 January 2021, you will need:

For further information please read: Exporting animals and animal products to the EU from 1 January 2021

Groupage rules between Defra and the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) have been agreed and this will make the process for getting your Export Health Certificates (EHCs) approved easier, should the UK leave the EU without a deal. To take advantage of this, exporters will need to become a member of the Trusted Supplier Scheme, which will allow you to use support attestations to facilitate the provision of information from upstream suppliers to the Certifying Officers.

In order to apply for TSS, please see annex 111 in the guidance on the following link. Full groupage guidance for suppliers, exporters and certifying officers can be found  here.

Note: This scheme is limited to exports of specific categories of products which have been processed in approved food establishments to the EU.

Groupage Export Facilitation Scheme (GEFS) is a scheme designed to support Official Veterinarians (OVs) in obtaining the information needed to certify the EU Export Health Certificate for certain types of product exports following the end of the Transition Period.

It enables the use of 30-day support attestations for certain commodities, where exporters are GEFS members and where supply chains are sufficiently stable. The scheme is not operational until 1 January 2021 and will apply in Great Britain.

Applications for exporters to become GEFS members will open later in the year. Detailed guidance is available in the Groupage Export Facilitation Scheme (GEFS) Notice (ET193). For any enquires about the scheme please contact GEFS@defra.gov.uk.

 

WTO tariffs will apply if no FTA is reached with the EU. All depends on what the product is called or categorised as. Refer to www.WTO.org

At the moment the UK will be a third country so the export health certificates for 3rd countries must be used. For ruminant PAP this requires manufacture using method 1 – pressure sterilisation. See certificate at annex XV, Chapter 1 of EU142/2011 and the Border Protocol Delivery Group Border Operating Model

 

Yes but the export health certificates for 3rd countries must be used. This requires GTH marker to be added to Category 3 tallow before export. See certificate at annex XV, Chapter 10B of EU142/2011 and the Border Protocol Delivery Group Border Operating Model

Outbound livestock and products of animal origin (POAO) from the UK into EU 27 will have to pass through a designated Border Control Post (BCP) at the point of entry. You can’t just turn up at a BCP; every consignment has to be booked in advance. For cross-Channel shipments, there are BCPs at Dunquerque, le Havre and Caen, but current throughput at the Dunquerque BCP is already at two thirds total capacity.

Ports such as Rotterdam and Calais have made significant preparations for the transition period closing without a UK-EU trade deal. Importantly, Calais is launching a ‘smart border’ scheme that will prevent delays using a combination of pre-clearance of goods, number plate recognition and away-from-the-border checks.

UK government guidance on transporting goods out of the UK by road is available here.

Yes, this was in doubt for a while because the port of Calais didn’t originally have a Border Inspection Post required for inspecting these products. However, that is now constructed and is ready to operate, when necessary.

The guidance for what constitutes a composite product may be found here.

In a no-deal scenario, the UK will become a third country and will need to meet EU third country import requirements to export regulated plants and plant products to the EU. This means that all regulated plants which are currently managed under the EU plant passport system will be subject to import controls, including phytosanitary certificates, as with current exports to the rest of the world. There are 5 plants exempt from controls: coconut, pineapple, durian, bananas and dates.

In order to export you must check with the plant health authority/inspector in the destination country whether a phytosanitary certificate is required, then apply for a phytosanitary certificate from the relevant UK plant health authority prior to export. You should check with your plant health inspector whether your plants require any sample testing.

The export health certificate online (EHCO) system will be live in 2021. You must submit your applications on EHCO.

Regulated plant and plant products exports to the EU from the UK may be subject to checks at the EU border.

UK Government has made guidance available to businesses exporting plants here: gov.uk/guidance/importing-and-exporting-plants-and-plant-products-if-theres-no-withdrawal-deal

The island of Ireland, including Northern Ireland, will be treated a single sanitary and phytosanitary zone, and therefore plants and plant products moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland will require a phytosanitary certificate, prenotification and to enter via and authorised point of entry.

Goods moving from Northern Ireland to Great Britain will have unfettered access and therefore not require phytosanitary certificates.

More information on moving goods from GB to NI can be found here and on moving goods from NI to GB here.

From 1 January 2021 UK Plant Passports cannot be attached in the EU and EU Plant Passports cannot be attached in GB. An operator in the EU will not be able to issue a UK Plant Passport because they will not be authorised to do so under the GB Plant Health Regime. Regulated plants and plant products moving within Great Britain will need a UK Plant Passport: Northern Ireland will continue to use the EU Plant Passport system. Read more about the changes to the plant passporting system here.

These are not subject to any special inspections, certification or controls. You will however need to adopt the procedures required for all food exports: fdf.org.uk/publicgeneral/five-essential-step-exporting-to-the-EU.pdf

The UK regulator, the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA), says that phytosanitary certificates are not required for the export of grain or grain products to the EU, and that it will not issue them.  Should your EU customer insist on a phytosanitary certificate for these products, please contact the APHA.

The French customs authority’s advice to companies preparing for Brexit is available here: douane.gouv.fr/articles/a15053-faq-brexit-english-

This confirms that the French government will introduce the full set of inspections currently required for non-EU imports entering the EU.

However, it has developed a ‘smart border system’ to support the flow of trade.

Drivers will need to carry a barcode linking the number plate of the vehicle with the customs declaration. Based on this information, vehicles will be directed into lanes, depending on the type of inspection required.

No.  The UK will not have third-country equivalence from exit day. The UK will need to reapply to the EU for ‘third-country equivalence’ on plant reproductive material certification and DUS testing if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

However, the UK has transposed the list from the EU and will allow all EU varieties to be imported.

The UK government can only apply to the EU for the British catalogue to be recognised once it has left the EU.

More guidance can be found at gov.uk/guidance/plant-variety-rights-and-marketing-plant-reproductive-material-if-the-uk-leaves-the-eu-without-a-deal

Ireland

The UK will remain in the Common Transit Convention (CTC) after the end of the transition period, designed for moving goods between the EU and EFTA countries (Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland) plus Turkey, Macedonia and Serbia.

Goods in transit between France and Ireland will not be subjected to tariffs or other inspections applied to ‘third country’ imports. There will be a ‘green lane’ at the border for vehicles carrying only goods in transit.

The system governing this is called the New Computerised Transit System (NCTS) and various rules apply. Companies who intend to use NCTS for the first time after Brexit are advised to speak to HMRC or their freight companies to ensure they know how this will work.

Currently there has been little published about cross border shipping. For more information monitor the updates on the UK Government’s Transition Period website here and here.

Trade WITH THE REST OF THE WORLD

Leaving the EU will affect the UK’s trade with the rest of the world in a variety of ways.

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal beyond the Withdrawal Agreement, it will introduce a new tariff schedule. These tariffs would apply to imports from all countries, except for those where a trade deal is in place.

The UK currently participates in around 40 trade agreements negotiated by the EU with more than 70 countries, representing c11% of the UK’s total trade. All of these will legally cease to apply at 23:00 on 31 December 2020.  

However, the UK is seeking to reproduce the effects of existing EU agreements for when they no longer apply. This will ensure continuity of trading arrangements for UK businesses. A list of agreements expected to take effect from 1 January 2021 can be found here. The agreements may contain minor changes to the original agreement, particularly in the area of rules of origin and may contain minor changes to duty rates.

Some agreements however will not be in place before the end of the transition period. In this case, trade with these countries would take place on World Trade Organization (WTO) terms using ‘Most Favoured Nation’ (MFN) tariffs. This may result in changes to duty rates.

Information on preferential and MFN rates can be accessed at the European Commission’s Market Access database.

The UK Trade Tariff Tool can help you to find the correct commodity code for your imports or exports. The tool however should be used with caution as identifying the wrong code risks paying the wrong tariff, costly delays at the border or even goods being blocked from entering the EU. 

If you are unsure which commodity code best fits your product, HMRC are best placed to offer the necessary advice. Contact details are provided in this government guidance.

To help continuity of trading arrangements for UK businesses, the UK is seeking to reproduce the effects of existing EU agreements with third countries for when they no longer apply to the UK.  A list of continuity agreements expected to take effect from 1 January 2021 can be found here. The agreements may contain minor changes to the original agreement, particularly in the area of rules of origin and may contain minor changes to duty rates.

A list of trade agreements that the UK is currently negotiating may be found here.