Brexit guides - B2B supplies of goods to the EU

10th September 2020

From 1 January 2021 goods sent to the EU from the UK will be treated in the same way as goods arriving in the EU from the rest of the world. 

Key issues for businesses to consider are as follows:

  • Export documentation will always required, plus potential advance clearance for road traffic to use a port particularly in Kent where a specific access permit is likely to be required. The documentation requirements may lead to delays at the key channel ports, so alternative routes and methods of transport other than roll on roll off may need to be considered, especially for perishable goods and JIT supply chains – more information is at this link:
  • Customs documentation will be required in order to import the goods into the EU. Whether the buyer or the seller will be responsible for this will depend on the Incoterms relating to the transaction. For example if the goods have been sold on conventional CFR terms or ex works then the buyer will be responsible for the importation into the EU, but if the incoterm is DDP then the seller is responsible for the importation and the documentation.
  • More complex transactions than a third party sale (eg movement of own goods) means import procedures into EU as well as UK export need to be considered, and an EU VAT registration may be required.
  • The information required for customs documentation includes an EORI for UK business, commodity code for the goods and origin certification.
  • In certain sectors EU non tariff barriers may need to be considered eg food SPS etc
  • In the absence of a comprehensive free trade agreement there may be customs duties payable on the goods when they arrive in the EU – although the customer may be responsible for paying them, they may impact on the price which has been agreed for the goods and contractual agreements may need to be revisited. The current EU tariff can be found at this link:
  • Special rules will apply for the movement of goods from GB (ie England, Scotland and Wales) to Northern Ireland as Northern Ireland will continue to be treated as an EU member state for some purposes. The detail of the these arrangements is subject to review, but current guidance can be found at this link:


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