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Importing and Exporting

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The TNs published so far have covered areas including medical supplies, financial services, nuclear safeguards, farming and organic food production.  We have identified and summarised just those TNs which are most relevant to our industry.

Tariff checker for imported goods

It may be helpful to get an early idea of what the World Trade Organisation's tariffs are, if these are to be applied to EK-EU trade. InterIreland, an Irish trade body, have trawled through the possible World Trade Organisation (WTO) tariffs that may apply to the movement of goods that your business may use or produce. Their tariff checker is available to view and search here.

Quick guide to Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) status - could you benefit?

The AEO is a quality mark that shows your role in the supply chain is secure and that your customs controls and procedures are efficient and meet EU standards.

You don't have to have it, but it gives you quicker access to some simplified customs procedures and - in some cases - the right to fast track your shipments through some customs, safety and security procedures.

Around 600 traders are registered for AEO in the UK. 

No-deal Brexit - Day One

The Government has published a new document Preparing for Changes at the UK Border after a 'No Deal' EU Exit. It includes fact sheets covering what to expect at the border on Day 1 of a no-deal Brexit. For businesses importing from the EU, trade will broadly follow the customs controls that apply for the rest of the world - you'll need to adapt to comply with these new systems, processes and controls. This means that you will need to make an import declaration for goods entering the UK from the EU.

You'll need to:

  • have a UK Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number (find out how to register)
  • ensure your contracts and International Terms and Conditions of Service (INCOTERMS) show that you are now an importer.
  • consider how you will submit import declarations. It's up to you whether you choose to make declarations yourself or do it through a third party such as a customs broker, freight forwarder or logistics provider. If you choose to do it yourself, you'll need the right software and the necessary authorisations from HMRC. Check how to complete a customs declaration. There's also some funding available for training in this area - see below.
  • check if you need a licence to import or export your goods - you may also need to apply for an import licence or provide supporting documents to import specific types of goods into the UK, or to meet the conditions of the relevant customs import procedure.
  • find out the commodity code of your goods to ensure you're paying the right amount of customs duty, excise duty and/or VAT.

Important no-deal news for importers

a.  Entry Summary Declarations

This month the Government has made some announcements designed to give businesses more time to make changes, if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. If this happens, HMRC plans to phase in Entry Summary Declarations (pre-arrival forms for UK imports). So, from 29 March, if Brexit takes place without a deal, the status quo will be temporarily maintained as hauliers will not need to submit Entry Summary Declarations on imports for a period of six months.

Importers will still be required to submit import declarations for customs purposes (these are not the same as Entry Summary Declarations, see below).

b. Customs/Import Declarations

Plans have also been made that, in the event of a no-deal, Transitional Simplified Procedures (TSP) can be used for at least 15 months for customs declarations. The TSPs are intended to make importing easier for an initial period of one year. Once businesses are registered for TSP, they will be able to:

  • transport goods from theEU into the UK without having to make a full customs declaration at the border (full declaration can be made after the goods have crossed the border)
  • postpone paying any import duties until the month after the import.

VAT registered businesses which trade with the EU should have received a letter from HMRC with more details about TSPs. If you've not been contacted, you can read the letter on the HMRC website and you can sign up to TSP online too. You'll need your EORI number.

If you still need to apply for your EORI number, it can take three days to be processed, so we recommend doing this as soon as possible. 

Commodity codes checker

Here's a link to an easy-to-use tariffs/commodity code database, If you're still not sure of a commodity code for an item, you can contact HMRC and they will check it for you. Some of our members have already done this and received responses within a day or two. Email [email protected] with the following information:

  • company name
  • contact name
  • contact details
  • the option which best describes your item:
  • agricultural, chemical, textiles or ceramics (including food, drink, plastics, cosmetics, sports equipment, games, toys, clothing, shoes)
  • electrical, mechanical or miscellaneous (including vehicles, optical and measuring devices, machinery, musical instruments, metal, furniture, lighting, paper, printed matter, straw, glass, wood, jewellery)
  • what the goods are made of (if more than one material, provide a breakdown of materials)
  • what the goods are used for
  • how the goods work or function
  • how the goods are presented or packaged
  • the code you consider to be appropriate for your goods

It can help to include photographs if the item is unusual or difficult to describe.  

Do you have your EORI number?

We've said it before but it's worth saying again! You need to register for an EORI number if you trade with the EU and wish to continue doing so. If you currently trade with non-EU countries, you should already have one and you don't need to re-register. If you're not sure if you have one, or can't find it, call HMRC on 0300 322 7067.

If you need one, it's important to register now, before we leave the EU. You can apply online and it'll take about 10 minutes, with your EORI number being sent to you by email three days later.

HMRC are currently saying they anticipate a high number of registrations over the next few weeks, so apply as soon as possible. 

What's my SIC code?

We've covered the importance of getting an EORI number for trading with the EU. To apply for your EORI number, you'll need to know your SIC code. You SIC code is your Standard Industrial Classification Code, it defines the nature of your business activity. You can find it on your company's entry on the Companies House Register. 

Manufacturing exports and stockpiling slows

Research from IHS Markit and the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply shows that fears of the threat of a disorderly Brexit lost UK manufacturing companies new orders from international clients last month. The rush in stockpiling also began to reduce. 

Exports country-by-country

If you export - whether to countries inside or outside the EU - existing trade agreements won't apply if we leave the EU without a deal. As you know, trade will take place on WTO terms while the UK works to secure replacement agreements with each country. The Government's published information on a country-by-country basis, updating the status of those replacement agreements. Most update that engagement is ongoing, but in regard to some countries - Japan, Algeria - the Government makes clear that deals won't be made by exit day on October 31st.

There is also a helpful list of countries which have already signed trade agreements with the UK. 

Tariff News

We've previously published information about the Temporary Tariff Regime on imports that will come into force if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. Under this regime, 87% of imports will be eligible for tariff free access for at least a year following a no-deal Brexit.

Boris Johnson claimed this month that a provision under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade - known as Gatt 24 - could be used to avoid tariffs on both imports and exports under World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules for up to 10 years. International Trade Secretary Liam Fox argues that such an arrangement would require the agreement of the EU, which has not been given. Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, has also previously stated that a no-deal Brexit would mean that there are tariffs "automatically, because the Europeans have to apply the same rules to us as they apply to everyone else."

Automatic EORI registration

We've been keen to highlight the importance of registering for your EORI number if you trade with the EU, or plan to do so in future. Last week HMRC announced it is stepping up efforts to ensure businesses are ready to trade post-Brexit by automatically registering companies with EORI. 

Over the next two weeks, 88,000 companies will be allocated an EORI number, joining the 71,000 companies already registered.

Business who currently do not have an EORI number will receive a letter from HMRC over the next two weeks.

Traders also need to consider how they will make customs declarations and whether to apply for Transitional Simplified Procedures.

Trade checklist

We've put together a handy checklist for those who intend to trade with the EU following Brexit.

Government Steering Committee for Trade Continuity

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI), of which BOSS through the British Printing Industries Federatoin is represented, have secured a seat on the Department for International Trade's new Expert Trade Advisory Group for Trade Agreement Continuity. The Group will advise Ministers and officials on continuity of trade for UK firms around the world post-Brexit. 

Firms accelerated onto simplified import procedures

Following its decision to automatically register businesses for EORI, has now automatically registered 95,000 businesses for Transitional Simplified Procedures (TSPs) on importing. This will allow  most traders up to six months to pay import duties and submit customs declarations if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

Businesses being registered for TSP are UK-based traders who HMRC has a record of having imported goods from the EU in 2018.  HMRC is in the process of sending letters to these traders with further details of their TSP registration.

Importers do not have to use TSP: they still also have the option to use full import processes instead. However, HMRC strongly advises traders new to dealing with customs to take advantage of the benefits of TSP.

You might also be interested in:
  • Brexit Bulletins Catch up with all our Brexit Bulletins so far.
  • Northern Ireland Based in Northern Ireland, find more information here.
  • No-deal scenario Leaving the EU without a deal is unlikely, but - just in case - here’s what will happen in print-relevant areas.
  • Employment Do you have staff from the EU? Here’s what you - and they - need to know.
  • Running your business Your customers may be checking their supply chains and some of you report back that you're also putting in the ground work to ensure continuity of service.
  • Funding The Welsh Government has launched a £1m Brexit Resilience Fund, available to Welsh businesses, to help them adapt to the changes in a post-Brexit Welsh economy.
  • Other resources Everyone’s talking about Brexit. We’ve pulled together some of the more interesting publications out there.
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