The UK has left the EU. Following the signing of the UK – EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement, new rules for businesses came into force on 1 January 2021 which require immediate action. Your business needs to act now to comply with these new rules to ensure a continued flow of people, data, goods and services between the UK and the EU.
There are 6 key actions that many businesses need to take:
- Goods - if you import or export goods to the EU, you must get an EORI number, make customs declarations or employ an agent to do them for you, check if your goods require extra papers (like plant or animal products) and speak to the EU business you’re trading with to make sure they’re completing the right EU paperwork. There are also special rules that apply to Northern Ireland. Hauliers must obtain a Kent Access Permit and have a negative COVID test before they head to port in Kent.
- Services - if you deliver services to the EU, you must check whether your professional qualification is recognised by the appropriate EU regulator
- People - if you need to hire skilled staff from the EU, you must apply to become a licensed sponsor
- Travel - if you need to travel to the EU for business, you must check whether you need a visa or work permit
- Data - if your goods are protected by Intellectual Property (IP), you will need to check the new rules for parallel exporting IP protected goods from the UK to the EU, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. You risk infringing on IP rights if you do not follow the new rules
- Accounting and reporting - if your business has a presence in the EU you may need to change how you undertake accounting and reporting to ensure compliance with the relevant requirements
These 6 key actions should act as a guide for every business affected by the new rules, with more detailed, personalised advice available through the checker tool on gov.uk/transition.
HM Government has issued documents listing the actions businesses must take to ensure they are compliant with the new rules.
Part A gives an overview of key actions for businesses as well as supporting guidance, helpline numbers and FAQs.
Part B lists the top five actions for businesses in each of the following sectors: Aerospace, automotive, chemicals, construction, consumer goods, electronics and machinery, life sciences, metals and materials, professional business services and retail.
Government advice and guidance
How businesses can take action to prepare for changed rules from 1 January 2021
You can use the straightforward transition checker tool to identify the specific steps that must be taken now it is after 1 January 2021. You can also sign up to receive a regular Business Readiness Transition Bulletin providing information on major announcements and recently published guidance.
The Government has launched a series of webinars and videos about trading with the EU. Topics include importing and exporting goods, moving goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland and details of the government’s cross-border trade forum, designed to help businesses and traders find answers to questions regarding the transition period.
HMRC have posted a series of videos online that explain what businesses need to know about exports and imports, customs, commodity codes and controlled goods.
Advice is also available in a number of specific areas including: food and drink, creative, cultural and sports, fisheries, veterinary services, exporting of horses and ponies, food standards, data protection, health and safety, intellectual property and meeting climate change requirements.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has also published advice on several key areas affecting businesses. Follow these links for support on: food labelling, exporting animals, animal products, fish and fishery products, importing animals, animal products, high-risk food and feed to the UK, exporting and importing fish, transporting endangered species, pesticides, importing and exporting plants and trading timber.
If you receive personal data from the EU/EEA, act now to ensure you can continue to lawfully receive data from your clients in the EU now it is after 1 January 2021.
Advice and support available from other agencies
The Federation of Small Businesses' (FSB) Brexit Hub provides information and advice on how small businesses can prepare for Brexit.
The Institute of Directors’ (IoD) Navigating Brexit hub has news, fact sheets and blogs providing updates and expert analysis.
Make UK’s Leaving the EU Hub has information for manufacturing businesses including details of the Brexit courses that they are running across the UK.
You can go to the ICAEW’s Brexit Hub, to view their Brexit checklist as well as a range of information and advice.
The NFU have a Brexit Toolbox and Newsletter for members as well as a range of news and information for non-members.
The Agriculture and Development Food Board (ADHB) also has information and advice for farmers including a Brexit impact calculator, a resilience checklist and a Brexit toolkit.
CIPD has a Brexit HR Hub which provides news and updated resources to support employers to plan for Brexit.
The EU Settlement Scheme
- The EU Settlement Scheme allows your employees and their close family members to continue to live and work in the UK after Brexit. Any EU, EEA or Swiss citizen must apply for settled status by 30 June 2021
- The EU Settlement Resolution Centre offers help and information online or by phone on 0300 123 7379
- Home Office guidance for EU, EEA and Swiss frontier workers who want to continue working in the UK.
You can use the Employer Toolkit to explain the scheme to your employees. It contains a range of ready to use leaflets and posters.
The NHS Employers have provided a helpful guide for employers explaining the relevant rules and practice with regard to the EU Settlement Scheme. This resource provides guidance on supporting individuals to remain in the UK.
After 1 January 2021, you need to register as a licensed sponsor to hire eligible people from outside the UK. The Government has updated guidance, including a podcast, to explain how the way you hire employees from the EU is changing.
Exporting and importing goods and services
Rules of Origin
Rules of Origin concerns where a product was manufactured and determines the ‘economic nationality’ of goods for international trade. Businesses need to know about them because the Trade and Cooperation Agreement means they can trade with the EU without paying tariffs if their product meets the relevant Rules of Origin.
To export tariff-free into the EU traders must check their goods meet the Rules of Origin requirements set out in the Trade and Cooperation Agreement and have the right documentation. To confirm the requirements for your goods and to find out more about the support available:
- Check for details on how to claim preferential (zero) tariffs, and see the documentation you’ll need to complete.
- Read the full guidance on meeting Rules of Origin when trading with the EU.
- Check the TCA legal text to see which rules apply to your goods (Chapter 2 as well as Annexes ORIG-1 to ORIG-4 will be most useful).
Rules of Origin is one of the topics explained in the new on demand videos which focus on priority topics for businesses. You will need to register to watch.
Brexit support events
The Department for International Trade (DIT) has a range of webinars where businesses can:
- receive help and advice to sell overseas with confidence
- gain new skills and knowledge
- discover solutions to specific challenges to exporting
- get your exporting questions answered by the experts
You can also find out about DIT opportunities to attend 121 advice sessions, trade missions, training and workshops.
Sources of help and information
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