International Trade

Latest information and support for businesses trading internationally.

Document Processing and Trade Services

Individual service updates:

  • Export Documentation - service operating via post, therefore please expect a slight delay
  • Arab Certificates of Origin - service operating via post, however please be aware the the Saudi Arabia and Iraq embassies are now closed
  • Letter of Credit - service operating as normal
  • Import and Export Declarations - service operating as normal
  • Export Office Hub - service operating as normal

For more information call 0114 201 8888 or email

‘Bounce back’ plan for agriculture, food and drink industry launched

A ‘bounce back’ plan of trade measures for the agriculture, food and drink industry was announced on 22 June to help support businesses that have been impacted by Coronavirus.

Trade Credit Insurance backed by £10 billion guarantee

  • On 4 June, the UK government announced guarantees of up to £10 billion to Trade Credit Insurance schemes for business-to-business transactions.
  • The measures will support thousands of businesses by protecting against customer defaults or payment delays
  • The scheme is available on a temporary basis for nine months, backdated to 1 April 2020, and available insurers operating in the UK market.

Force Majeure Certificates

These are certificates attesting the existence of force majeure circumstances i.e. circumstances beyond the control of the applicant such as fire, flood, industrial disputes, or in present circumstances, a pandemic. Please note that we can only certify factual details that can be evidenced. We cannot comment as to whether or not Force Majeure applies or argue such claims on behalf of the applicant. It is the responsibility of the applicant to claim Force Majeure and the issuing body’s role is to provide a certificate in support of such claim.

Notifications Regarding Certificates of Origin and Preferential Trade Certificates

  • Notice from the Arab British Chamber of Commerce on the status of Arab embassies, dated 12th May 2020 
  • Saudi Arabia now accepts electronic Certificates of Origin as of the 13th May 2020. The BCC in conjunction with DIT have negotiated with the Saudi customs authorities for electronic Certificate of Origins to be accepted with immediate effect.
  • Electronic AT.R’s now accepted with email address added as of the 5th May 2020. The BCC in conjunction with HMRC have negotiated with the Turkish customs authorities for electronic AT.R’s to be accepted with immediate effect. The Turkish authorities have agreed that the electronic documents will be accepted as long as they can be verified by the Turkish authorities.
  • Mexico – Electronic EUR1’s now accepted as of the 6th April 2020. The BCC in conjunction with HMRC have negotiated with the Mexican customs authorities for electronic EUR1’s to be accepted with immediate effect.
  • Electronic Stamps now accepted by Switzerland and Chile as of the 1st April 2020. We have now been notified by HMRC that both Switzerland and Chile will on a temporary basis now accept documents issued using our online platforms.

Delaying import duty payments as a result of Coronavirus

HMRC has released guidance on how to request an extension to the payment period for import duty/import VAT payments. Deferment is not automatic and requires immediate action.

Duty deferment account holders - Duty deferment account holders who are experiencing severe financial difficulty as a result of Coronavirus and who are unable to make payment of deferred customs duties and import VAT due on 15 April 2020 can contact HMRC for approval to enter into an extended period to make full or partial payment, without having their guarantee called upon or their deferment account suspended. The account holder should contact the Duty Deferment Office 03000 594243 or by email or the Coronavirus helpline on 0800 024 1222. Account holders will be asked to provide an explanation of how Coronavirus has impacted their business finances and cash flow.

Duty Deferment account holders will be able to use their accounts during the extended payment period agreed unless they default on a subsequent payment in that period, in which case HMRC may consider suspending their account. The outstanding payment will not affect their duty deferment limit so they will not need to increase their guarantee to cover the outstanding payment. Where HMRC agree to an extended payment period, interest will not be charged on the outstanding payments provided they are paid in full by the agreed date.

Duty/import VAT payments not covered by a duty deferment account - Registered Importers who pay cash or an equivalent and are facing severe financial difficulties as a direct result of Coronavirus can contact HMRC to request an extension to the payment deadline at the time the payment is due. They will be asked to provide an explanation of how Coronavirus has impacted on their business finances. HMRC will consider this request and decide whether or not to agree an additional time to pay. The decision will be taken on a case-by-case basis and could be refused.

If the request is approved the conditions, including the length of time offered, will depend upon the importer’s individual circumstances and may require the holding of a guarantee for the period of the time extension. We cannot offer this facility to non-registered importers. For further information, please contact the Customs Debt Policy inbox.

Coronavirus: Export Controls and Licences

In this 1-hour webinar, representatives from the Institute of Export & International Trade’s Export Control Profession and the Department for International Trade’s Export Control Joint Unit cover:

  • Continuation of UK export licensing during the pandemic;
  • EU controls relating to PPE and medical supplies and how they apply to UK;
  • Worldwide controls on PPE and medical supplies;
  • Importance for Export Control staff to communicate with their companies and supply chains;
  • The response of the IOE&IT and the Export Control Profession to the crisis.

Official Government Guidance for UK Businesses Trading Internationally

Click Here for more information.