Businesses must now follow new rules after the end of the Brexit transition period
The UK has agreed a deal with the EU, meaning there are new rules for doing business with Europe. UK businesses which have not already done so must adapt to these changes now to avoid disruption and keep their business moving.
Here are the six boxes you need to tick to ensure that your company is trading in line with the new regulations.
TRADING WITH THE EU
You must now make customs declarations when exporting goods to the EU. You can make the declarations yourself, but most businesses use an intermediary like a courier, freight forwarder or customs agent.
Make sure you have an EORI number starting with GB. If exporting, you’ll need to check that the EU business you’re exporting to is also ready.
The Government has taken measures to allow traders time to adjust to new processes. It has introduced new border controls in three stages until 1 July 2021, and agreed with the EU to temporarily simplify Rules of Origin procedures for 12 months to the end of December 2021, by implementing a 12 month waiver on supplier declarations.
TRADING WITH NORTHERN IRELAND
If you move goods into, out of, or through Northern Ireland, make sure you also check the latest Northern Ireland Protocol guidance. If you’re moving goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the free-to-use Trader Support Service will guide you through the changes.
For trade with countries outside the EU, check for any changes to tariffs.
If you’re due to travel to the EU for work, you may need a visa or work permit.
If you want to hire from outside the UK, including from the EU, you must be a Home Office licensed sponsor under the UK’s new points-based immigration system. The new system doesn’t apply when hiring Irish citizens, or EU citizens already living in the UK.
You may need to have UK professional qualifications officially recognised to work in a regulated profession in the EEA or in Switzerland.
Business as usual
We spoke to two British companies about how they successfully made the transition.
Sanjay Aggarwal, Spice Kitchen
Founder and Chief Spice Officer at Spice Kitchen Sanjay Aggarwal says he took great care getting ready for the changes – and so far, things have been working well.
Spice Kitchen's Sanjay Aggarwal feels confident after making changes in line with new rules
“We’ve taken all the advice on board,” says Sanjay, whose firm is based in Widnes, Cheshire. “Well before the end of the transition period, we looked into the changes we should be making, like getting our EORI number and registering for the Trader Support Service which will assist us in our all-important sales to Northern Ireland.
“We’ve also sought out specialist consultants to help with the customs side of things so I’m feeling pretty confident we’ll make it work.
“We’re happy with the admin side of things because we prepared; everything has been straightforward. I know some businesses that haven't made those changes are having to catch up quite quickly, but once it’s done the situation seems very manageable and we’re confident everything will carry on smoothly.
“Growing the business in the EU and globally is key to Spice Kitchen’s success so getting the boxes ticked and preparing for 2021 has been a huge priority for us.”
Thea Paraskevaides, Beaumont Music
Thea Paraskevaides runs instrument accessories firm Beaumont Music with her husband Tim Walker.
With around 60% of the company’s export sales going to the EU, putting steps in place for the new rules from 1 January was crucial.
“We’ve been thinking about all of this for months and months,” says Thea, from Brighton. “Our accessories are made in Asia and, so far, have come to us here in the UK to be shipped across the world – mainly to the EU. For this to work now that we've left the EU, we applied for our EORI number.”
Small business owner Thea Paraskevaides says preparing for changes is key
“We’re relieved we took the steps we. Any businesses that haven’t started making changes should start now.”
The new rules are here. If your business hasn’t yet prepared for the changes, it’s time to act. Whether you’re a freelancer who travels to the EU for work, or run a company that exports to the EU, your business could be at risk if you’re not ready.
Use the Brexit Checker Tool to get a personalised list of actions you need to take to keep your business moving.