Post- Brexit: how will the import and export of goods change?

Truck driver holding tablet and checking route for new destination. In background parked truck vehicles. Transportation service.

The Trade and Cooperation Agreement sets out the rules for trading between the EU and UK. Adopting this deal means the UK has avoided having to trade under World Trade Organisation (WTO) terms with the EU following the Transition Period that took place after Brexit. 

This blog will explain the new rules for the import and export of goods with the EU and how this may affect you and your business. 


Will there still be a free trade of goods?

Under the Agreement, the trade in goods between the UK and EU will remain tariff and quota free. However, this only applies to goods that originate in the UK or EU or are ‘substantially transformed’ in these jurisdictions. For example, a product made using materials sourced outside these jurisdictions and then assembled and produced within the UK or the EU will be tariff and quota free. Any goods that are produced outside the UK and EU and then pass through them will be subject to tariffs and quotas.   

Therefore, if you own a business that transports goods across the border with the EU it is important you familiarise yourself with the rules of origin for goods moving between the UK and EU. Information can be found on the provisions businesses need to comply with to ensure zero tariffs are paid on goods on the Government website.


What do I need to do before transporting goods across the border?

The UK government has announced that border checks with the EU will be enforced gradually over the next six months after recognising the impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on businesses making preparations. However, from July 2021 all goods will have to be declared. It might be beneficial to create a Business continuity plan to prepare your business in the event of any disruption.

The Government has also introduced some changes businesses will have to implement when transporting goods across the border. These include:

  • you should obtain an identification number known as an EORI number. Find out how to get an EORI number
  • check what customs declarations businesses have to make before transporting goods
  • all Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) should obtain a Kent Access Permit before they depart for Dover 
  • drivers transporting goods must have their passports with them as national identity cards are no longer a valid form of identification 


What is the UK Conformity Assessed (UKCA) marking and do I need to use it?

Certain goods require a conformity mark to prove they comply with product standards. Before Brexit, goods were sold under the CE mark, which highlighted that they complied with EU standards. Now, for goods to be sold in the UK, they must have the new conformity mark known as the UKCA mark.  

To give businesses the time to adjust to the new conformity marking the Government has said they can continue to sell goods under the CE marking until December 2021 if:

  • the goods were fully manufactured and ready for market by the end of 2020 
  • the business currently uses the CE marking on their goods through self-declaration
  • any mandatory third-party conformity assessment has already been carried out by an EU-recognised notified body
  • the certificate of conformity previously held by a UK approved body has been transferred to an EU-recognised notified body

You can find out if you need to use the UKCA marking on the government website.


For further information on the changes facing businesses as a result of The Trade and Cooperation Agreement, read our Brexit guide


Sara Domi