EU Exit Transition: new rules are here

The UK left the EU, including the single market and customs union, on 31st December 2020.

St Helens Chamber is here to support local businesses with Brexit support and advice for the future.

New rules and procedures can be complex and often seem overwhelming, but it is important that businesses take steps to make the necessary preparations where they can to put themselves in the best possible place to react and respond to whatever does come next.

Rules of Origin

Rules of Origin have been in the news a lot recently. Businesses up and down the country have been struggling to make sense of the new arrangements for exporting inside and outside of the EU.

With new processes and new paperwork, shipments are being held up and there are increasing concerns about the impact on the economy.

The problems centre around new rules which describe which goods can be counted as being made in the UK, meaning they benefit financially from these new agreements.

However, UK exporters from a variety of sectors are actually finding that goods which they thought were classified as being made in the UK, which they could export tariff- and quota- free, don’t actually meet these new origin rules, putting their goods at a disadvantage compared to their EU competitors.

The rules vary but in general, if at least 50% of the price of the product is considered as being made in the UK, then the entire product would be considered to be of UK origin. However with modern supply chains, parts come from all over the world, leaving UK exporters struggling to understand what tariffs are payable, and to even complete the relevant paperwork.

Click here for more information on Rules of Origin and what actions you need to take


Register your business for Exporting

You will need an EORI number to export and import and this should begin with the letters GB.  If you are exporting to Northern Ireland you will need a second EORI number with the letters XI.  To get advice on moving goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland sign up for the Trader Support Service.

Decide who will make customs declarations and transport your goods

You can hire someone to deal with customs and transport for your goods, or you can do it yourself.   Most businesses that export and import goods use a freight forwarder, transporter or customs agent to raise the declaration.

ChamberCustoms – Helping traders keep on trading with export and import declarations.

Apply for grants to help your business with customs declarations – Find out what you can apply for to get funding for recruitment, employee training, IT and training projects.

Check duties and customs procedures for exporting goods.

Find information about how to move goods from the UK to the rest of the world

  • Rules and restrictions
  • Tax and duty rates
  • What exporting documents you need

Trade Agreements

The rules for trading with some countries outside the EU might change from 1st January 2021.

Check if the UK has negotiated a trade agreement with the country you will be exporting to.

Prepare the invoice and other documentation for your goods

The completed invoice and any licences or certificates must travel with the goods. When filling in the value of your goods on the invoice, use the price you are selling them for. List separately any freight or export insurance you included in the price. For free samples, use the market value of the goods.

You might be able to zero rate the goods for VAT. This means you can charge your customers VAT at 0%.   Check if you can zero rate the goods for VAT


Apply to make importing easier 

You can apply to use ‘transitional simplified procedures’ to reduce the amount of information you need to give at the border.

Register for transitional simplified procedures
Decide what other customs procedures you could use

You may also be able to use the Common Transit Convention (CTC) to simplify how your goods pass through customs and when you pay customs duties.

Set up a duty deferment account if you import regularly

Set up a duty deferment account if you want to be able to make one payment of customs duties a month instead of paying for individual shipments.  You must set one up if you plan to use transitional simplified procedures.

Check the rate of tax and the duty you’ll need to pay

You will need to pay customs duties and VAT on all imports.

Check when you’ll need to account for and pay VAT

You will also need to pay excise duties if you are importing alcohol, tobacco or biofuels.

Find out the rate of excise duty on imports

Check if you need a licence or certificate for the type of goods you import

Check if you’ll need to apply for an import licence or certificate

Other important information

Transferring personal data into the UK

There may be changes to how you send or receive personal data from international partners, including in the EEA.

Using personal data after Brexit
Follow the Information Commissioner’s Office’s ‘6 steps to take’

Providing services or operating in the EU

There may be new rules you need to comply with if you operate in EU/ EEA countries. This could affect your business if:
– you have a branch(es) in the EU
– you operate in a service sector within the EU
– you’re planning a merger with an EU company
– you or your employees travel to EU/EEA countries for business

Check the regulations for the EU/EEA countries you operate in, including visa requirements, to understand how changes could affect your business

Regulatory Requirement If you sell manufactured goods

Check regulatory requirements for UK and EU markets, including labelling, approvals and testing

Employing EU citizens now and in the future

You will still be able to employ EU citizens as you do now and be required to continue to conduct the same right to work checks. You will not need to take any immediate action.

Read the Employer Toolkit for further details on employing EU citizens – register with the EU Settlement Scheme before 30th June 2021.

Intellectual property

There may be changes that affect copyright, patents, designs and trademarks.

IP and Brexit: The Facts

E-Guides from the British Chambers of Commerce

British Chambers of Commerce End of Transition Checklist sets out many of the areas you should look at and plan for, including links to helpful guidance. The key areas to think about are:

  • Workforce
  • Cross-border trade
  • Supply chain disruption
  • Trade between GB and NI
  • Taxation and insurance
  • Data
  • Currency, intellectual property and contractual issues

Useful webinars

Click here to find upcoming Chamber webinars, designed to count down to the end of the EU Transition period.

The Department for International Trade (DIT) helps businesses export and grow into global markets and overseas companies locate and grow in the UK.  Click here to find all upcoming events and webinars

Recordings of previous webinars

Rules of Origin – the practicalities – 19th January 2021

Keep your business moving: New video explainers on doing business with Europe

To support firms, the Business Department has launched a series of new, on demand videos to help businesses familiarise themselves with the new rules and the actions they should take. Businesses can find out more about 18 topics, including importing and exporting, trade, data, and audit and accounting.

Register now to immediately access the video content.

Export Academy

The Export Academy from the Department for International Trade will help you grow your business by showing you how to sell to new customers around the world.

The course is free, and you’ll learn directly from experts in international trade who are on hand to provide support across a range of sectors and businesses, from selling children’s clothes to Spain, to providing PR services for clients in the US.

The programme is designed for owners and senior managers of businesses with a turnover of up to £500,000.

You will graduate from the programme with a completed export action plan, enabling you to take your business direct to international customers. This plan will be the culmination of everything you have learnt on the programme, from online events including:

  • Webinars
  • Round tables
  • Mentoring sessions

To register, please click here

Other useful resources

An overview of key actions businesses need to take including sector specific guidance

Check if you can get a guarantee waiver for a duty deferment account in Great Britain Find out what you need to do to get a guarantee waiver for a duty deferment account in Great Britain.

Sign up for the Trader Support Service If you move goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland the Trader Support Service will guide you through any changes due to the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol.

General UK GOV transition advice Answer a few questions to get a personalised list of actions for you, your family, and your business. Then sign up for emails to get updates when things change.

Import goods from the EU into GB from January 2021 Information for traders on importing goods between Great Britain and the EU after 1 January 2021.

Export goods from the EU into GB from January 2021 Information for traders on exporting goods between Great Britain and the EU after 1 January 2021.

Grants for customs declarations Find out what grants you can apply for to get funding for recruitment, training and IT improvements if your business completes customs declarations.

Transport goods out of the UK by road How to transport goods commercially if you’re driving from the UK to any international destination.

Export guides by country from 1st January 2021 Changes to exporting goods and services from the UK from 1 January 2021, for each country.

Selling services to the EU Guidance for UK businesses offering services from 1 January 2021.

Not found what you’re looking for or would like more specific advice? Get in touch on 01744 742015 or email

Looking for support on another business issue? Find out how our services can help here.

You can also read the latest news and comments here.

    Find out more about how St Helens Chamber can help your business