BLOG: Information for businesses that trade with the EU

Businesses in the UK should act immediately to prepare for new trading rules which will be in effect from January 2021. If you have not already made substantial preparations, then you need to act now.

22 December 2020

Detailed information on import, export and customs is available on the Government website. 

Below are some of the crucial actions for businesses to take. 

  • Register for both imports and exports.  

Does your UK company have an EORI number that starts with GB?     

From 1 January 2021, you will need an EORI number to move goods between the UK and the EU.     

Get an EORI number. Apply for your EORI number in advance - it can take up to a week to get one.   


  • Make sure the classification of your goods (tariff/commodity code) are correct. 

Use theTrade Tariff  to look up commodity codes, duty and VAT rates.    

Find out how to contact HMRC to get help with a commodity code and what information you will need to send them.    

Ask HMRC for help to classifying your goodsor find out how to get a legally binding decision on the commodity code to classify your goods.     

Apply for a Binding Tariff Information decision.    


  • Be ready for the new customs paperwork.     

Regardless of whether there is a deal or not between the UK & EU, you will need to make import and export customs declarations for the movement of goods with effect from 1 January 2021.     

It is estimating that the number of customs declarations will increase from 50 million to 250 million. We are urging exporters to speak with their customs broker or import-export agent who acts on their behalf to secure the service(s) they need beyond the 31 December or look at setting up your business to make declarations internally.    

Customs declarations for goods you bring or receive into the UK or EU.    

HMRC has made funding of £50 million available to enhance its Customs Grant Scheme. Since 29 July 2020, organisations have been able to apply for funding to reimburse some of the costs associated with increasing their capacity and enhancing their ability to complete customs declarations, ahead of the new rules from January 2021.     

Find more information about the Customs Grant Scheme.    


  • Check the new UK Global Tariff (UKGT) tariff for imported goods.    

From 1 January 2021, the UK will apply a UK-specific tariff to imported goods.     

This UK Global Tariff (UKGT) will replace the EU’s Common External Tariff, which applies until 31 December 2020.    

Check the tariffs that will apply to goods you import when the UK Global Tariff takes effect on the 1 January 2021.   

Check UK trade tariffs from 1 January 2021. 


  • Make sure lines of communication are open. 

All parties need to be ready for the changes from 1 January.  

Before exporting goods, businesses need to check if the recipient (EU clients, agents, and distributor) can make the necessary import customs declarations.  

A licence or certificate may be required to import some types of goods.  

Discuss INCOTERMS – this will ensure both parties understand each other’s responsibilities. For more information, visit  


  • Are you moving goods between GB & Northern Ireland? 

Government is urging businesses to sign up for the Trader Support Service 

The service will: 

Provide a free end-to-end support package to manage import, safety, and security declarations on behalf of traders. 

Educate businesses on what the protocol means for them and the steps they need to take to comply. The process will include online training sessions and webinars, with information being continually updated as we move closer to 1 January 2021. 

Be available to businesses moving goods into Northern Ireland under new processes in the Northern Ireland Protocol that start from 1 January 2021. 

EU Exit: Support for businesses

The UK has left the EU and new rules for businesses start on 1 January 2021. The LEP can help you to understand what the changes will mean for your business.