UK-EU transition period is ending - are you ready?

16th November 2020

From 1 January 2021 there will be changes for businesses that import and export with the EU.

From 1 January 2021 there will be changes for businesses that import and export with the EU. Melanie Rippon, International Trade Facilitator at Sheffield International Trade Centre, answers some of the frequently asked questions businesses are having.

How will our relationship change with our EU customers and suppliers?

Essentially, you will have more responsibilities. You will have to re-consider your incoterms to suit both the needs of you and your customer. Incoterm selection is critical in stating who is responsible for customs procedures and who pays what and when.

Customs declarations will also be needed when both importing and exporting, so you will also need to use an import/export clearing agent or freight forwarder who will do declarations for EU trade. How much more will our goods cost our EU customer because of import duty? This will be subject to the types of goods you will be importing. Businesses can check duty costs via

I trade with Europe – What are the steps we need to take to prepare?

There are a range of steps you need to take, including obtaining an EORI number that starts with GB, acquire a Customs Broker, understand and management of duty and VAT etc. Ultimately, your business needs to be organised and be 100% sure of your responsibilities and consequences of non-compliance.

You will need to gain approvals for certain types of imports, develop a duty management regime and have detailed records on transaction spreadsheets, called Entry In Declarants Records (EIDR), which will be assessed by HMRC. You will require a deferment account if you want to delay payments of duty, unless your customs broker has facilities you can use.

Who can carry out our export and import declarations with Europe?

We can.

We are an AEO registered authorised Customs Broker and able to complete all your declarations. With direct links to the HMRC Customs handling system and all inventory linked ports, we can ensure that your goods, no matter where they enter or leave the UK, will be cleared for onward transportation smoothly. We do have deferment account facilities which importers, that are using our services, can utilise on a short-term basis.

I am unsure if our current operations are fully compliant with HMRC?

Speak to us. We can carry out a ‘Brexit Readiness Audit’ risk assessment of your import and export operations in line with HMRC requirements. We can also advise on effective measures to safeguard full compliance, ensure you understand your responsibilities and how your EU customers and suppliers will be affected.

Navigating the upcoming changes can be difficult, however Sheffield International Trade Centre are committed to supporting your business. Prepare your business now. Contact the Sheffield International Trade team on 0114 201 8888 or email

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