In the event of a no deal Brexit, UK businesses trading with the EU will need to register for an Economic Operator Registration and Identification number (EORI) number to continue trading.
Has your business registered for an EORI number to continue trading with the EU in the event of a no deal? UK Government guidance on EORI numbers: Get a UK EORI number to trade within the EU.
As a ‘third country’, UK exporters to the EU after Brexit may in future be required to make customs declarations.
What customs procedures do you comply with for trade with non-EU markets?
Are you ready, if the need arises, to apply these to imports from or exports to the EU?
HMRC has published an information pack to help businesses plan ahead plan for the contingency of a ‘no deal’ EU Exit. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/partnership-pack-preparing-for-a-no-deal-eu-exit
To register for the HMRC’s EU Exit update service for future guidance and updates: on GOV.UK, search for ‘HMRC videos, webinars and email alerts’, click to register to get business help and education emails, enter your email and select ‘EU Exit’.
See the UK Government's technical notice on trading with the EU if there's no Brexit withdrawal agreement: http://www.gov.uk/government/publications/trading-with-the-eu-if-theres-no-brexit-deal
See the UK Government's technical notice on exporting controlled goods if there's no Brexit withdrawal agreement: http://www.gov.uk/government/publications/exporting-controlled-goods-if-theres-no-brexit-deal
Arrangements for importers or exporters, using roll on roll off ports or the Channel Tunnel to transport goods between the EU and the UK in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/moving-goods-to-and-from-the-eu-through-roll-on-roll-off-locations-including-eurotunnel
If the UK leaves the EU on 29 March 2019 without a deal there'll be changes to how businesses trading in excise goods (alcohol, tobacco and certain oils) move and declare these goods. Businesses would no longer be able to use the Excise Movement Control System (EMCS) to move excise duty-suspended goods to the UK from the EU: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/moving-and-declaring-excise-goods-in-the-event-the-uk-leaves-the-eu-with-no-deal
With potential customs checks between the UK and the EU, there may be delays at the border.
The potential of customs checks to cause delays at the border will depend on how new policies are implemented in practice: customs checks are typically risk-based rather than universal. As yet there no details on how enforcement might be executed in practice.
How resilient is your supply chain to potential border delays?
Do any contracts you have include penalties for late delivery? You may want to discuss with your logistics provider whether you would require new arrangements.
Do you need to increase your inventory and/or buy additional storage space?
HMRC have released a short video on what to consider in a no deal EU Exit regarding changes at the UK Border.
HMRC have also provided some industry specific information:
The British Chambers of Commerce has been advocating for zero tariffs on trade between the UK and the EU after Brexit.
However, businesses should consider the potential impact of a situation where there are tariffs between the UK and the EU – based on the EU Most Favoured Nation (MFN) tariff (which applies to countries that do not have a special agreement with the EU).
Do you know the HS codes (international classification system) for your products? Do you know the EU MFN tariff that is applicable for your product?
If the UK and the EU do not reach an agreement that removes all tariffs, what would the impact of the MFN tariff be on your cost base?
HMRC has published an information pack to help businesses plan ahead plan for the contingency of a ‘no deal’ EU Exit: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/partnership-pack-preparing-for-a-no-deal-eu-exit
UK Government technical notice on trading with the EU if there's no Brexit withdrawal agreement: http://www.gov.uk/government/publications/trading-with-the-eu-if-theres-no-brexit-deal
UK Government technical notice on classifying your goods in the UK Trade Tariff if there's no Brexit withdrawal agreement: http://www.gov.uk/government/publications/classifying-your-goods-in-the-uk-trade-tariff-if-theres-no-brexit-deal
UK Government technical notice on trade remedies if there's no Brexit withdrawal agreement: http://www.gov.uk/government/publications/trade-remedies-if-theres-no-brexit-deal
Even if the UK has a zero-tariff trade agreement with the EU, companies will need to prove that their product is of UK origin to benefit from this (usually, this means that 50-55% of the product has to be locally sourced). The exact terms of these rules between the UK and the EU are yet to be negotiated.
If you are a supplier, has your customer asked you to provide proof of where you source your content? Would you be able to provide it if asked?
If you buy your components from local suppliers, have you thought about conducting an audit of where they source their materials?
UK Government technical notices on EU FTAs if there’s no Brexit withdrawal agreement: http://www.gov.uk/government/publications/existing-free-trade-agreements-if-theres-no-brexit-deal
The UK Government has indicated its intention to secure the benefits of existing EU trade agreements with other countries. However, businesses may need to consider a scenario where the terms were to change and preferential trade terms are no longer available.
Do you import or export using lower duty rates (‘preferences’) provided by the EU’s existing trade agreements?
How might changes to, or the ending of, these preferential rates impact you?
If you are supplying to a partner in the EU who is exporting to a third country with which there is an agreement, please be aware that EU firms have been encouraged to look for EU-only (not UK) content to be able to benefit from lower tariff rates. Consider if there is any way for you to mitigate this.
There are a number of duty relief schemes available to UK businesses.
It may be worthwhile for your business to consider applying for these.
There is also a trusted trader scheme – Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) – that may be relevant to you if your supply chain also takes part in it. Please speak to your local Chamber to learn more about these.
Will your business handle new Customs and Safety and Security Declarations in-house or with a third-party?
If your business is exporting live animals or animal products, do you have the right documentation (e.g. Export Health Certificate, Catch Certificates, equine/plant IDs)? And are your drivers aware of the required documents?
If you are importing certain types of food and feed of non-animal origin, you may be subject to increased import controls. Have you considered the requirements for certain types of goods to enter through Border Inspection Posts and/or Designated Points of Entry?
You can now register for simplified import procedures if the UK leaves the EU without a deal: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/register-for-simplified-import-procedures-if-the-uk-leaves-the-eu-without-a-deal
Do you plan to apply for additional customs relief or trusted trader schemes from HMRC? Read more about them at www.gov.uk/duty-relief-for-imports-and-exports & http://www.gov.uk/guidance/authorised-economic-operator-certification
Do you have a member of staff knowledgeable in customs and export?
Would it be valuable to train a member of staff in this area?
Chambers of Commerce are able to provide both ongoing support and relevant training. Find your local Chamber here.
HMRC have announced a programme of training and IT support for customs intermediaries in December. The purpose of the training is to give traders an understanding of how to compile the information needed for simple import and export customs declaration entries.HM Treasury and HMRC announced a one-off investment to support broker training and increased automation. As part of this investment, funding has been set aside for grants to help meet the upfront costs of employee training and IT improvements: https://www.customsintermediarygrant.co.uk/
Are you familiar with INCOTERMS?
Knowing the International Terms and Conditions of Service will help you set the right contract terms to reflect potential changes of status (becoming an exporter/importer) once the UK leaves the EU.