The UK has left the EU
From 1st January 2021, post-Brexit transition will end and trade with the European Union will become more complex. It will be necessary to comply with customs controls for all trade to and from the EU. The express industry can help customers meet these requirements but there are some basic measures that importers and exporters not familiar with international trade will need to understand, including some rather different rules for trade to and from Northern Ireland (still to be published).
Importing from the EU
Your EU supplier will have to treat their supply to you as an export which means that they will have to complete export formalities and provide documentation (hard copy or electronically) normally as a minimum a copy invoice to establish value and in some cases commodity related compliance evidence.
All UK importers need an EORI number, a unique identifier issued by the Government (if you do not already have one, it starts with GB. It takes five to ten minutes to apply on GOV.UK.) If goods are being moved to/from Northern Ireland it is also necessary to have an XI EORI number https://www.gov.uk/eori.
There are then a number of options that are available for submitting declarations, details of which are available on the GOV.UK web site (links below). However, it will be easier and quicker to use the services and expertise of an AICES member to take care of this and ensure that all obligations are met. You may want to create your own duty deferment account for the payment of import duty, and provided you are registered for VAT, you will be able to use the newly introduced postponed accounting procedure for taking care of your VAT liability (on your VAT return).
Exporting To the EU
Export procedures as previously applied for exports to the rest of the world will apply to all movements to the EU. These procedures would normally be handled by your AICES Member. You as the exporter will have to provide details of the consignment to be shipped and documentation (hard copy or electronic), normally as a minimum a copy of the sales invoice to indicate value, ideally including details of origin and commodity code. It is also the exporter’s responsibility to ensure that any export controls, licensing requirements are met.
Your AICES member will handle the rest for you. Please see for further advice for UK traders: Preparing for the end of transition how express companies can help UK importers and exporters
For AICES members please also see AICES guidance on preparing for the end of transition for you and your customers: AICES Guidance: Brexit End of Transition Readiness
To help navigate through the maze of detailed information the following links may be of assistance:
AICES Members who can help
HMG Border Operating Manual
HMRC Guidance importing goods from the EU
HMRC Guidance Exporting goods to the EU