Q: Who can export goods to the EU from the UK?
A: Under the new guidelines post-Brexit, businesses that wish to export goods from the UK to the EU will need to be registered as business exporters or export agents. Companies that don't have the means or desire to become an exporter themselves can choose to hire an export or customs agent to represent them in their freight forwarding solutions.
Q: Can someone else act as an exporter for another business?
A: Yes. In fact, it's often suggested that businesses who are unfamiliar with the export process or that just don't have the time or resources hire a customs agent or partner with a freight company as their freight forwarder to handle all of the logistics and paperwork involved in trade.
Q: What documents/information are needed for exporting items to the EU?
A: Anyone who wants to export items to the EU will now need to have the proper customs paperwork, including an EORI number. They will also need to have a movement reference number, which designates each specific item so that it can be properly tracked and transported through the export or import process. Other documentation may be required for hazardous items or specialty shipments.
Q: Is Northern Ireland included in these regulations?
A: No, there are separate considerations when it comes to the movement of goods into, out of, or through Northern Ireland. For the most part, Northern Ireland is not affected by the guidelines, which do apply to trade with the rest of the EU.
Q: What are the key export requirements for companies that are exploring from the UK to the EU?
A: Several first-time requirements will be involved after the transition is complete. Under the new legislation, companies will have to establish themselves as a business and exporter of record within the UK. They may also have to purchase certain licences for controlled goods and items that require special exceptions. Documentation must also be included with the freight information, including an MRN (movement reference number) that is found on the export declaration.
Q: Will I have to re-apply for business status or licencing related to the Brexit transition?
A: No, according to the guidelines of the current protocols, businesses will maintain their status as an operable, profitable entity. However, they may need to file new documents related to their exporter status or their customs agent that has been hired, as well as documentation of their exports and other records or registration requirements. There will be some extra paperwork but it will not typically be as tedious as people expect. Businesses that are new to exporting or trade will have to apply for new Brexit-friendly business licencing and trade status.
Q: What elements are necessary in a freight forwarder with regard to new compliance guidelines?
A: Early engagement is a great way to get ahead of the game. Choosing a freight forwarder that is ready for the transition and capable of handling your needs is essential to your success. You should consider choosing a single provider to streamline the new processes and ensure that they have the resources to handle the additional customs declarations that you will bring to them. You will also want to make sure that you have documentation and governance in place that helps hold you and the freight company accountable, and that the freight forwarder is properly licenced and permitted based on the post-transition requirements. These are still undergoing negotiations through the FTA and will be updated when available.
Q: What is an EU EORI number?
A: Some businesses will act as both exporters and importers, as mentioned. In this case, those who are importing will need to get an EU EORI number assigned to them that they can tie to their importing activities. This is an Economic Operator Registration and Identification number and it provides ID to export shipments quicker and avoid storage fees due to shipments that can't be properly documented or transported. An EORI is not needed for service-only businesses or those who are moving goods between Northern Ireland and Ireland.
Q: What if I don't do a lot of trade?
A: Those who aren't trading regularly enough to apply for an EORI or partner with a customs agent or freight forwarder do have an alternative option. These people can use a simplified frontier declaration to import goods, which is a much simpler form to fill out and doesn't require all the steps of setting up a proper EORI number and trade account under the new Brexit guidelines.
Q: What about tariffs and quotas?
A: As long as goods are of British or EU origin, they are going to be free from quotas and tariffs as part of the new agreement. If an item's value is comprised of more than 40% that is made outside of the UK, it may be subject to tariffs and charges. The Rules of Origin state that as long as an item's value is at least 61% UK or EU-based, it's free from extra charges.
Q: What is a duty deferment account?
A: Importers are allowed, under the new rules, to apply for a duty deferment account, which allows customs charges to be paid like a monthly bill instead of paying at the time of shipment for every order. These accounts will ensure that high-value items can be cleared faster and the exporting process will be streamlined.
Q: If I want to cherry-pick the items to focus on as part of the new Brexit trade deal, what areas need my attention?
A: Although several changes are coming with the transition, businesses will need to start considering the new export requirements in some areas more than others. Here's what you should look at when setting up your business trade under the new agreement:
- Establishment Requirements (U.K.-based exporter required)
- Export Licences (certain items require special licencing)
- Documentation (MRNs, EORI, and other paperwork required)
- Classification of Goods (For EU)
- Customs Duty (regarding any customs fees related to import/export deals)
- Recordkeeping (HMRC requires 4 years of customs records)