Brexit FAQ

The trade agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom has consequences for trade in and with the UK. For example, EU products of preferential origin can be imported into the UK duty-free. VAT rules have changed as well. This article tries to answer the 10 most pressing questions entrepreneurs have.


  1. What does the trade agreement mean for my exports?
  2. What does the trade agreement mean for my import business?
  3. What is an EORI number and how do I get one?
  4. How do I deal with VAT on goods?
  5. I do maintenance and repair jobs in the UK. Will I need an ATA carnet?
  6. My British clients are asking for a DDP delivery. Do I adjust the Incoterms®?
  7. I work in the UK. How does the agreement affect me?
  8. What is an invoice declaration?
  9. How do I put the trade agreement to use?
  10. Am I liable for product quality after Brexit?

1. What does the trade agreement mean for my exports?

This is not yet fully known. What is certain, is that the United Kingdom is now a non-EU or third country. The export of goods, as well as the export of services, changes accordingly. You must file an export declaration at Customs. Your customer may have to pay import duties. The European Commission Market Access Database gives an overview of the import duties (and other import taxes) tariffs per product, plus the required documents for most countries. Use the 0% VAT rate, and find out which export export documents you need. Always check if your products meet the UK product requirements, before marketing them in the UK.

Tools

  • Think about exploring different markets. The KVK Export New Markets tool (in Dutch) can assist you. It allows you to determine the criteria that are most important to you in finding an export market, depending on your product or service.
  • The European Commission gives an overview of all the areas in which changes will take place at the end of the transition period, regardless of the agreement between the EU and the UK. Customs formalities for instance, and extra checks.
  • Want to know if Brexit affects you, and how? Take the (Dutch) Brexit Impact Scan at Brexitloket.nl.

2. What does the trade agreement mean for my import business?

The United Kingdom is no longer part of the European Union. This changes the rules for importing goods and services from the UK. You must file an import declaration with the Dutch Customs, and you may have to pay import duties, excise duties and consumption taxes. You will also have to pay VAT. Always check the product requirements for your product before marketing it in the Netherlands or in another EU country; your product will no longer be admitted to the EU market by mutual recognition.

Tools

  • New to the import business? Use this checklist to get started.
  • The European Commission gives an overview of all the areas in which changes will take place at the end of the transition period, regardless of any agreement between the EU and the UK. Customs formalities for instance, and extra checks.
  • Want to know if Brexit affects you, and how? Take the (Dutch) Brexit Impact Scan.

3. What is an EORI number and how do I get one?

You need an EORI number (Economic Operators Registration and Identification) for all your dealings with customs when you trade internationally. It allows for a quick international exchange of your data. You require your EORI number for all customs contacts, for instance your export declaration.

The Netherlands

If you only file customs declarations in the Netherlands, and you do this yourself, you can assemble your own EORI number, or you can apply for one to Dutch Customs. If you use the services of a customs expedition company or file declarations in other countries besides the Netherlands, you have to apply for the EORI number. If your headquarters are located outside the European Union, you will need to apply in that country. See the article on the Customs website.

United Kingdom

If your import from or export to the UK is done using the Delivery Duty Paid Incoterms, you will need an EORI number that starts with the letters GB to move goods to and from the UK. You can apply for this British EORI number via gov.uk/eori.

4. How do I deal with VAT on goods after Brexit?

A delivery to the UK is now an export delivery. It will be taxed with the 0% VAT tariff. Upon entry in the UK, the payment of VAT, import duties and any other costs will take place locally. When you import goods from the UK, you will pay VAT to Dutch Customs. You calculate the amount of VAT by adding the customs value to the import duties. How high the import duties for your product are, depends on the commodity code or Taric code. Use the Dutch Tax Administration ArcticTariff system to find your Taric code and the corresponding amount (you can switch the language to English).

5. I do maintenance and repair jobs in the UK. Will I need an ATA carnet?

An ATA carnet comes in handy when you need to import or export materials temporarily. For instance, musical instruments, tools, samples, marketing materials and other materials you will be using during your stay in the UK. An ATA carnet is a kind of passport for objects. With it, you won’t need to pay VAT, import duties or a deposit. And it simplifies your dealings with customs, as you’ll only need the one document for your entire journey. You can apply (in Dutch) for an ATA carnet to the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce KVK. You’ll have to create an account.

6. My British clients are asking for a DDP delivery. Do I adjust the Incoterms®?

Incoterms® are an agreement between you and your customer: you decide who is responsible for transport, insurance and costs, and who is liable in case of damaged goods or loss. There is no standard delivery agreement for shipments to or from the UK after 1 January 2021. You British clients are probably asking you to agree to an Incoterms® DDP (Delivery Duty Paid) because they themselves have little customs experience, and want to avoid fuss at the border. When you agree to a DDP, you make a local delivery in the UK, and you clear the goods at British Customs. This has fiscal consequences for you in the UK; in other words, you’ll have to pay all taxes and duties. Don’t forget to factor these costs into the price, if you choose this option.

7. I work in the UK. How does the agreement affect me?

Entrepreneurs who work in the UK temporarily no longer have free access to the market. The trade agreement offers no solutions for entrepreneurs who provide services in the UK. If you aim to work in the UK as a self-employed professional without staff, you need to follow the UK rules.

8. What is an invoice declaration?

An invoice declaration is a statement of preferential origin, which the exporter provides with the sales invoice. An statement on origin (Attest van oorsprong, in Dutch) or importer's knowledge counts as valid evidence of preferential origin. If the shipment value exceeds €6,000, you need to state your registered exporter number on the invoice declaration, as well as providing an origin statement. To get your registered exporter number, you need to register with the Tax Administration's REX registration system (in Dutch).

9. How do I put the trade agreement to use?

If you trade with the UK, you'd rather not pay import duties. Make use of the agreed-upon terms concerning the exemption of import duties. If you import goods from the UK, you prove that these goods have a preferential UK origin. Tp rove this, your UK supplier has to place a statement on origin on the sales invoice, plus their British EORI number.

If you export goods into the UK, you need to draw up an invoice declaration in which you state that the products are of preferential EU origin. Your UK customer will then be exempt from paying import duties when importing the goods into the UK.

10. Am I liable for product quality after Brexit?

After 1 January 2021, the UK is considered a third country. The law states that the responsibilities and liability of an importer are those of the producer. So yes, you are liable. You need to make sure that the product meets the EU quality and safety requirements, as well as any additional Dutch rules and regulations.

Are you an exporter? Then check British law. Products may have to meet different standards in the UK than they do in the EU.

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