What impact does the Brexit deal have on my business?

If you trade goods or services with the UK, doing business will change for you, even under the new Brexit deal. From 1 January 2021, you will have to deal differently with customs, liability, currency, insurance and other matters. This article will be updated according to the latest information as soon as possible.

10 matters to take into account

1. Do I apply for an EORI number?

An EORI number is a European customs identification number. All businesses that have dealing with Customs have to have one. You need one for trade with non-EU countries, such as the UK. You apply to Customs for your free-of-charge EORI number. The application process normally takes about a week, but may take longer if you wait until after 31 December 2020.

2. Will I have to pay import duties?

The UK and the EU may levy import duties on each others’ products. Use the Market Access Database for an overview of import duties, documents, procedures and formalities. To get an idea of the import duty rates you can expect, choose any third country (the UK may not be included in this list yet).
To find out what the import duties on a product are, you need the correct product code. Globally, goods are categorised using the Harmonised System or HS codes. These codes consist of 10 digits; the first 6 are the same all over the world. The last 4 digits can vary.

3. Do I charge more for my products?

Import duties, extra customs charges, inventory, market access requirements and delays at the border; these are all factors that may increase your costs. Do you charge your customer more for your products? Or do you try to even out the extra costs between your supplier and customer?
Check the terms and conditions you have agreed in the ICC Incoterms®. It specifies international delivery conditions, that you can negotiate with your customers and suppliers. You agree on matters like transport, insurance and place of delivery.

4. Am I paid in pounds or euros?

Be aware of currency risks. The value of the euro compared to the British pound has increased, and may continue to do so. This may make it less attractive for UK buyers to buy your products, if you charge them in euros. Your products will be too expensive. If you import goods and pay in pounds, this will be to your advantage: you will get more pounds for your euros.

5. Who will make sure my documents are in order?

You will need more documents for trade with the UK. For instance export documents, VAT returns and transport documents. If the products are plant- or animal-based, there will be even more documents. Employ the services of an expedition company. They have the experience and already use the systems. This will save time and prevent mistakes and delays at the border crossing.

6. Do I need to notify with Portbase?

Customs documents have to be notified in advance in the Portbase Port Community System. This is required by all ferry terminals and most shortsea terminals. Make sure you notify your Customs document in the Portbase system ahead of your products’ arrival at the terminal, or your transport will not be granted access. Check with your transporter that the terminal possesses all the required information.

7. Watch out for parallel import

Do you import products from the UK into the Netherlands, in order to sell them? In that case, you will need to ask for (and receive) the producer’s permission to do so. This is the parallel import rule: products from non-EU countries cannot be imported and sold inside the EU without the producer’s permission. If you don’t have the producer’s permission, you are engaging in parallel imports, and those are illegal.

8. What about product liability?

Do you import goods from the UK to the Netherlands? With the UK outside the EU, product liability transfers from the producer to the importer. It is your responsibility to ensure that an imported product meets all EU and Dutch regulations and requirements. UK regulations and quality requirements may be different from those of the EU.

9. Is my ID still valid?

EU citizens need a valid passport to enter the UK. An identity card will no longer be enough.
If you travel from the UK to an EU country, your passport must be valid for at least another 3 months. When you leave the EU, Customs will check that you haven’t exceeded the maximum short-stay period of 90 days. If you want to move to or from the UK for more than 90 days, you will need a residence permit in the country you are going to.

10. Do I have insurance cover outside the EU?

Insurances usually cover damages inside the EU. The UK is no longer an EU country. Do your transports suffer from long delays due to stricter Customs checks and procedures? Your travel and transport insurance most likely won’t cover the extra costs. Contact your insurance company for more information.

More information

The following links can help your business deal with Brexit.