The UK Government has indicated that it intends to treat imports from the EU on the same basis as imports from the rest of the world, subject to an initial phasing in of new requirements over the first six months for all except certain designated ‘high risk’ products, as set out below:
- From January 2021, only basic record keeping will be required, with formal customs declarations and any tariff payments able to be deferred for six months
- From April 2021, All products of animal origin (POAO) – for example meat, honey, milk or egg products – and all regulated plants and plant products will also require pre-notification and the relevant health documentation. Any physical checks will continue to be conducted at the point of destination until July 2021
- From July 2021, full standard procedures will apply, including checks on all food products at designated border control posts (BCPs).
A summary of the main requirements and an initial check list can be found at Prepare to Import into Great Britain. Imports into Northern Ireland from the EU will remain unchanged, though imports into Northern Ireland from the rest of the world will be subject to the main UK procedures.
It is not yet clear if tariffs will be applied on trade with the EU from 1 January 2021, but in any case trade with the rest of the world will be subject to the UK’s move from the EU common external tariff to a global MFN tariff (the UK Global Tariff) and you will need to be familiar with your product tariff codes.