Trade: Exports and Imports Post-Brexit

In this section: preferential trade, Rules of Origin, customs declarations, tariffs, haulage, export documentation 

The UK-EU Free Trade Agreement confirms that the UK and the EU have agreed that there should be no tariffs or quotas on any goods that qualify (see below). However, the agreement also includes several mechanisms to switch off zero tariffs (see section on Regulations & Standards).

Details on how to claim preferential rates of duty on goods covered in the UK's deal with the EU (via CHIEF and CDS) and how to declare goods imported into the UK on your import declaration can be found here.

To qualify for tariff-free access, goods from Great Britain will need to meet rule of origin requirements. This means meeting rules on the amount of local content, sufficient transformation or specific processing required, which are set out in annexes of the agreement. A detailed guide to Rules of origin for goods moving between the UK and EU (including examples of what will not qualify for free trade under UK-EU FTA) can be found here.

There will be various transitional rules and special arrangements for different types of products included in the annexes of the agreement. For example, there will be a six-year phase-in period for rules-of-origin requirements covering electric cars. The agreement confirms that manufacturers will benefit from full bilateral cumulation of both materials and processing included, encouraging trade between both markets, including those businesses with complex supply chains.

However, it also introduces serious restrictions as seen by the fact that EU goods imported into the UK that only undergo minimal processing are subject to full tariffs when sent back to the EU. The agreement does not include diagonal accumulation, which would have allowed parts from countries such as Japan, with whom the UK and the EU have a trade agreement, to be counted as British input.

For goods imported from the EU to the UK (but currently not UK to EU) from 1 January 2021 traders will have up to six months to submit a full customs declaration, including declaring any proof of origin. Until 31 December 2021, for goods imported EU to the UK and vice versa, traders do not need supplier’s declarations from business suppliers in place at the time the goods are exported. However, traders must be sure that they will be that the goods they are exporting do meet the rules of origin requirements as they could be required provide a supplier’s declaration retrospectively.

The Chamber can offer a customs declarations service. Find out more here.

Following the end of the Brexit transition period, EU trade agreements with other counere.tries no longer apply to the UK. However, agreeing a trade deal with the EU has meant that the UK was then also able to agree a continuity trade agreement with Turkey. The UK continues to seek to reproduce the effects of existing EU agreements for when they no longer apply to the UK to help ensure continuity of trading arrangements for UK businesses. A list of signed continuity trade agreements that came into effect since 1 January 2021 can be found here.

Aviation and haulage will continue as before with passenger and cargo planes still able to fly and land in the EU including stopover flights from Heathrow and elsewhere in the UK that originated from outside the UK. While hauliers will be allowed to continue to drive without special permits, the agreement limits the number of journeys. The UK have also secured an agreement with all EU Member States to recognise UK licences without the need for an International Drivers Permit.

There are also several changes to what Export Documentation will be available for UK businesses to use. Export Documentation plays a key part in ensuring businesses can access the benefits of preferential trade agreements, the temporary movement of goods and much more.

Check what Documents the Chamber can provide and the changes to our services here.