New Government Guidance on Trading with the UK from January 2021
Updated: Feb 9
Tips on Preparing your Business for the Changes This article provides a brief overview of the new government regulations on trading from 1st January 2021 to prepare for the changes. In the coming weeks, we will be providing more in-depth briefing sheets on the impact of the regulation for
· Importing into the UK
· Exporting from the UK
· Data Protection and Copyright
If any of these topics are of interest and you require advice on the regulatory changes in the UK for your business, contact a member of our commercial team by calling 08000197773 or email us by clicking here.
On 31 December 2020, the UK left the EU single market and customs union, as an EU business, trading in the UK, you were previously governed by the EU laws on trading. This provided you with the guidance on how to deal with imports, exports and taxation matters in the UK, amongst other trading aspects. Now that the UK has left the EU, you will need to familiarise yourself with the new independent rules and guidance published by the UK to ensure that you and/or your business are complying with the new regulations starting from 1 January 2021.
The UK government’s guidance, published on 2 December 2020 by the Department for International Trade, has been divided into 6 sections depending on your nature of business with the UK:
⦁ Import into the UK ⦁ Export from the UK ⦁ Taxes and tariffs ⦁ Provide services to the UK ⦁ Work in the UK ⦁ Data Protection and Copyright 1. Import from the UK
a. Buying and selling in the UK
As the UK is no longer part of the EU, it will be operating its border as a sovereign country independent from the EU. Therefore, starting from 1 January 2020, the free movement of goods between the EU and UK (save for Northern Ireland and Ireland) border will be non-existent. You will now be required to comply with the new border requirements placed on the movement of goods between the EU and UK. To afford the industry sufficient time to make necessary arrangements, the UK Government will introduce the new border controls in three stages up until 1 July 2021.
Please contact your trading partners in the UK to agree on responsibilities and have the relevant paperwork for the type of goods you are trading with counterparts in the UK. b. Transporting Goods from the UK to the EU
Hauliers and haulier managers will need to use the ‘check an HGV’ service, follow new traffic management processes at ports to avoid delays, carry the correct documents for your load and complete new online procedures to cross the border. Ensure that you check with your country’s customs authority for the correct procedures and import duties, if any, required of you to bring goods from the UK to the EU.
c. Importing of Animals, Animal Products, Plants, Fruit and Vegetables
Importers of animals, animal products, plants, fruit and vegetables from Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) to the EU must comply with the new Sanitary and Phytosanitary requirements including checks at an EU Border Control Post on entry were necessary. As an EU importer, you must inform the Border Control Post when your consignment is arriving. If you are importing plants, fruit and vegetables from Great Britain, you should:
⦁ contact the plant health authority in Great Britain or plant health inspector in your country to find out whether a phytosanitary certificate (PC) is required ⦁ apply for a PC via your exporter from the relevant Great Britain plant health authority before export ⦁ find out whether your plants require laboratory testing of samples or inspections during the growing season. This is to ensure that your plants are free from pests and diseases. d. Importing of Fish
As a fish importer from Great Britain, you will have to ensure that you adhere with your own country's rules and guidelines. You must ensure that the UK exporter provides you with a catch certificate, direct landing documents, storage documents if the product has been stored and a processing statement if the product has been processed. e. Fluorinated Gas and Ozone Depleting Substances Regulation
All importers and exporters of fluorinated gas (F gas) from Great Britain will have to comply with the new export and import requirements under the F gas and ozone depleting substances (ODS) regulations. These regulations will however not apply to Northern Ireland. Businesses based in Northern Ireland can continue trading with the EU/EEA under the already existing EU regulations for F gas and ODS. f. Trading Timber and Chemicals
From 1 January 2021, timber importers and exporters will be required to carry out due diligence. Chemical traders must review their role in the EU and UK REACH systems and comply with the new regulations in order to continue trading on the UK market. Northern Ireland based business will not be affected by the new regulations and can therefore continue trading as they do at the moment under EU REACH.
2. Export to the UK a. Exporting food and drink
You will be required to get a GB EORI number and ensure that your products comply with the new rules on UK food labelling, get the right documentation to accompany your goods if you are exporting animals or animal products, comply with the new phytosanitary requirements if you are exporting plant products and send your goods through a designated Border Control Post.
b. Exporting agri-food products
If your business deals with the sale of agri-food products in the UK, you may need to check that you comply with the requirements for exporting these products to the UK, have the right documentation, licences and certificates for the goods and have the right knowledge on how to apply for them and pre-inform the UK authorities about the goods. c. Exporting animals and animal products
In addition to complying with the new sanitary and phytosanitary requirements, your business may need new export health certificates. d. Exporting plants and plant products
Just like the importation of plants and plant products, you will be required to acquire a phytosanitary certificate from the relevant National Plant Protection Organisation before export and to ensure that you have undertaken the necessary laboratory testing for your plants. e. Exporting Fish to Great Britain
Traders will be required to comply with illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) regulations and provide catch certificates and other relevant documents which can be acquired from your local country authorities. You will also be required to land into a North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC) designated UK port where you will have to submit a NEAC Port State Control form (PSC1 and PSC2), IUU documentation, a UK transhipment form and provide prior notification before landing. f. Exporting CITES listed items (endangered animals)
New regulations affecting the exportation of endangered animals into Great Britain will include:
⦁ ensuring the use of a designated point of entry ⦁ obtaining permits to export endangered animals for example applying for an Animal Plant and Health Agency (APHA) permit at least 30 days prior to exportation g. Energy related goods
With effect from 1 January 2021, energy- related products placed on the Great Britain market must comply with the new UK legislation. However, compliant products containing EU flags which are already on the market prior to this day (1 January 2020) may stay on the market even after the end of the transition period, being 31 December 2021. Goods placed on the Northern Ireland market must continue to comply with the relevant EU legislation including the use of the EU flag and QR codes that link to the required product information on the European Product Database for Energy Labelling (EPREL). You may also need to check climate change requirements. h. Manufactured goods
The UK government has published new rules to govern the placement of manufactured goods on the Great Britain market, you can find further details by reading our article on the new rules by clicking here.
Depending on what goods you seek to place on the market, these rules cover the use of CE and UK markings, conformity assessments, legal responsibilities and the registration of UK Authorised Representatives.
i. Cosmetic goods
Following the Brexit transition period, the UK will have its own database for the notification of cosmetic products ie the Submit Cosmetic Products Notification (SCPN) service and you will be required to provide notification of the cosmetic products you place on the UK market. If the European Commission has already been notified via their CPNP database of your cosmetic products placed on the EEA or UK market before 31 December 2020, you will have 90 days from 1 January 2021 to add the information to the UK SCPN service. You can provide the UK SCPN with the same information provided to the EU CPNP notification database.
3. Taxes and Tariffs Import tariffs will be changing post 31 December 2020. The UK Global Tariff will replace the EU's Common External Tariff. With a few exceptions for example where a trade agreement exists with the UK, the UK Global Tariff will apply to all goods imported into the UK from 1 January 2021. You need to ensure compliance with the new rules applying to the payment of import Value Added Tax (VAT) on parcels sent to the UK buyers. You will be expected to pay import VAT on parcels sold to UK buyers if you are based outside the UK and sell goods sent in parcels worth £135 or less. If parcels sold to UK buyers exceed the value of £135, the import VAT, Customs Duty (and Excise Duty where applicable) should be paid by the UK buyer and collected by the parcel operator. You will still be able to claim VAT refunds charged on goods and services before 1 January 2021 through the EU VAT refund system until 11pm on 31 March 2021. For VAT charged after 1 January 2021, you must follow the manual processes for businesses outside the UK. These claims can be made on or after 1 April 2021. 4. Provide Services to the UK If you have branches or subsidiaries in the UK, your business is part of a service sector within the UK. If you are planning a merger with a UK company, or your employees travel to the UK for business or you or your employees provide services in a UK regulated profession, you will be affected by the new UK regulations including visa requirements.
5. Working in the UK as an EU citizen from 1st January 2021, there will no longer be free movement of people between the EU and UK as previously provided by EU regulation. Therefore, whilst entering the UK for work purposes, EU, EEA and Swiss citizens may need to apply for a visa through the UK's point- based immigration system. However, EU, EEA and Swiss citizens entering the UK for less than 6 months for visiting purposes, will be permitted to do so without a visa. During this time you will be permitted to attend business related meetings, events and conferences. Due to the Common Travel Area arrangement, Irish citizens will not be required to comply with the new immigration rules. Drivers in the UK from the EU will be required to carry a Green Card or any other valid proof of insurance. Teachers with EU, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway or Switzerland qualifications will be able to continue applying for Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) in England post 1 January 2021, subject to future changes. A letter of professional standing from the organisation responsible for regulating teachers in the respective countries of qualification will however be required of the teachers applying for the QTS. 6. Data protection and copyright As an EU business trading with the UK, you should check the guidance offered by your local data protection regulator to ensure that you are ready to legally continue sharing personal data with businesses or other UK organisations post 1 January 2021. There will be changes to the EU cross-border copyright mechanisms and this may impact your business. You should consider acquiring the appropriate permissions post Brexit. As a result of the new changes, you may no longer have protection for unregistered designs in case you do not disclose these correctly. You may also need to acquire permission from the intellectual property right holder to get permission to continue exporting Intellectual Property protected goods after 1 January 2021. The new rules for registered address requirements for intellectual property rights in the UK may also affect your business.
After 1 January 2021, the UK will be operating its border as a sovereign country. As such, the EU legislation providing for free movement of goods and people between the EU and UK will cease to apply. The UK government has published new regulations and guidance to enable businesses transition through this period with ease including the introduction of the new border controls in three stages up until 1 July 2021. We appreciate that the new regulations and changes may be overwhelming to adhere to at the moment as there are many of them. This is also not the end, new changes will continue to unveil in due time.
We have a team of experienced commercial lawyers that have dedicated their time to continue studying the new changes happening in the industry and regulatory changes. Our lawyers can advise you on how these new changes continue to affect you and/or your business post the Brexit transition. Regardless of the nature of business you carry out or intend to carry out with the UK, our team of specialist lawyers is here to support you. You can contact a member of our team by calling 08000197773 or book a 15 complimentary consultation by clicking here