Cross-border trade

Have you considered the following?

Cross-border trade

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In the event of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit, UK businesses trading with the EU will need to have a UK Economic Operator Registration and Identification number (EORI) number to continue trading. Customers and suppliers based in the EU will need an EU EORI number to import / export goods to/from the UK.

The BCC successfully campaigned for the government to automatically issue VAT registered businesses that currently trade with the EU with an EORI number rather than simply wait for them to apply. However, businesses that are not VAT registered and trade with the EU will still need to register for an EORI number. You should also check that your EU supplier has an EU EORI number to enable them to be able to continue to send the goods to the UK.

Your business should consider

If you are a Non-VAT registered company that trades with the EU, 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.

Traders are strongly encouraged to apply for Transitional Simplified Procedures (TSP) to make it easier to import goods from the EU. To register for TSP click here

Customs/export training

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Your business should consider

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?

Imports from third (non-EU) countries

If your business imports goods such animals and animal products from non-EU countries, these imports will need to be notified through the UK’s new Import of products, animals, food and feed system (IPAFFS). Full guidance from Defra about non-EU imports can be found here:

Imports from EU countries

In order to minimise disruption, the UK has been granted continued access TRACES, the EU’s import notification system. This access is for some EU imports only. The commodities this affects include live animals, germinal products, certain animal products and animal by-products imported to the UK from the EU. The UK will have access to the same or equivalent information on TRACES for these consignments that it does now.

The UK will retain access to TRACES until later this year. This means that you should continue with the current processes for notifying authorities and raising the required certification on TRACES including:

  • UK importer completing the import notification form, IV66, and sending to APHA (other notification processes exist for imports overseen by DAERA (NI imports) and Fish Health Inspectorate)
  • EU exporter or appointed EU OV completing any required documentation on TRACES (e.g. ITAHC or DOCOM).
  • The consignment can travel to the UK without border inspection.


The UK’s listed status application has been agreed by EU Member States after it met the animal health and biosecurity assurances required for a third country to export live animals and animal products.

Full guidance from Defra about exporting animals and animal products can be found here:

To export animals and animal products to the EU your consignment will need to:

Resources and information

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:

Customs facilitations, reliefs etc

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There are a number of duty relief schemes available to UK businesses.

Your business should consider

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?


Will I need a duty deferment account and a Comprehensive Customs Guarantee (CCG) to continue to trade with the EU after exit?

With the exception of CTC movements, HMRC is giving importing businesses until 30 September 2019 to get a guarantee in place to cover any additional duties that they need to defer.

After 30 September, a duty deferment account will be needed to be backed by guarantees but this will not need to be a CCG. Traders could instead go to their bank to guarantee their duty deferment account without the need for a CCG. We will commit to provide 12 months’ notice if the CCG requirement is to be reintroduced.

Furthermore, for at least 12 months after exit, there will be suspension of the mandatory requirement for businesses to provide a guarantee in order to be authorised to declare goods for:

  • the inward processing procedure;
  • outward processing procedure;
  • temporary admission procedure;
  • authorised use procedure; or
  • to operate a customs warehouse.

Resources and information

Do you plan to apply for additional customs relief or trusted trader schemes from HMRC? Read more about them at &

You can now register for simplified import procedures if the UK leaves the EU without a deal:

Driving abroad

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After the UK leaves the EU, commercial drivers operating in the EU may need to take the following actions:

  • Check which type of International Driving Permit (IDP) you need to drive when you visit Europe.
  • Contact your vehicle insurance provider to get a motor insurance green card.
  • Display a GB sticker on your vehicle.
  • Register commercial trailers over 750kg and all trailers over 3,500kg before towing them through some European countries.

The Department for Transport have published guidance on these areas here:

EU trade agreements with third countries

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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.

Current progress in agreeing continuity agreements with third countries:

Your business should consider

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.


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Your business should consider

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.

Potential delays at UK/EU border

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With potential customs checks between the UK and the EU, there may be delays at the border.

Your business should consider

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?

Rules of Origin in UK-EU trade

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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.

Your business should consider

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?

Resources and information

Tariffs on UK-EU trade

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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).

Your business should consider

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?

Have you assessed the potential impact of the proposed temporary tariff regime on imports in the event of a no deal:

Resources and information

HMRC has published an information pack to help businesses plan ahead plan for the contingency of a ‘no deal’ EU Exit:

UK Government technical notice on trade remedies if there's no Brexit withdrawal agreement:

In a no deal scenario your business will need to check the tariffs on exports to the EU before the UK leaves:

UK/EU customs and excise checks

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As a ‘third country’, UK exporters to the EU after Brexit may in future be required to make customs declarations.

Your business should consider

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?

Resources and information

HMRC has published an information pack to help businesses plan ahead plan for the contingency of 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 a no deal Brexit:

See the UK Government's technical notice on exporting controlled goods if there's a no deal Brexit:

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:

If the UK leaves the EU 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:

Article 50 extension: importing animals/animal products

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In April 2019, UK Government and the European Union reached an agreement on a six month extension to Article 50. During this time, the UK will remain as a member of the EU. Therefore the UK will continue to use TRACES and your business should continue to raise import notifications in the way you do currently.

What this means for importers:

Imports of live animals, germinal products, Products of Animal Origin from EU Member States where safeguard measures are in place and animal by products from the EU:

EU exporters and Official Vets will continue to raise the appropriate certification via TRACES (e.g. ITAHCS, DOCOMs). Notification to the competent authorities will still be a requirement. For notifications overseen by APHA, the UK importer will need to notify using the IV66 notification form (please note a Unique Notification Number (UNN) will not be issued). If you have already notified APHA and have received a UNN, there is no requirement for this to be quoted on the ITAHC or DOCOM.

For notification of consignments which are overseen by DAERA and Fish Health Inspectorate please see their websites for further information.

Imports of other types of Products of Animal Origin, High-Risk Food and Feed Not of Animal Origin from the EU do not currently need to be notified on TRACES and this remains the same during the extension period.

Imports from third countries:

Continue to use TRACES as you currently do, including all consignments arriving after 12 April. You should not use IPAFFS for any consignments arriving after 12 April, and if you have already raised a notification for these via IPAFFS, you will need to raise a notification via TRACES.

IPAFFS remains the long term solution and the logins that you are currently using will be required in the future. Please do store these in a safe place until such a time that you need to use them again. You should also ensure that your organisation has sufficient administrator account roles on IPAFFS, in the event that there are any resource or role changes in your organisation.

You can continue to use IPAFFS for testing and training, but the notifications will not be valid. If you have any comments or feedback on IPAFFS, please let the APHA Service Desk know.

If your import originates from third countries but travels via the EU to the UK:

Your consignment will continue to travel as it does today. If checks are required on entry to the EU these will continue and will be documented on TRACES. Once these checks have been completed, the consignment will be free to move to the UK as it does today.

As above, notification to the competent authorities will still be a requirement for live animals, germinal products and animal by products. For notifications overseen by APHA, the UK importer will need to notify using the IV66 notification form (a UNN will not be issued).