Trading goods with the EU
New rules are now in place
The UK has now left the single market and customs union and there are steps that your business needs to take to meet the new rules.
If you're confused by the new rules, we're here to help.
The process for importing and exporting goods has changed and your business needs to be ready.
What you need to do
From 1 October 2021, if you're importing goods into the UK you'll need to:
- understand your responsibilities around importing – you must only place goods that are safe on the market. You can check your legal responsibilities on the GOV.UK website.
- ensure the goods are labelled correctly, including:
- your company name
- contact address
- the country of origin.
- ensure the correct conformity assessment procedures have been carried out and that goods have the correct conformity markings, CE or UKCA marking. You can check if you need to change your conformity assessment or marking on the GOV.UK website.
- be able to produce the correct safety documentation for any goods you are importing, these include:
- product risk and safety assessments
- test reports
- information regarding the labelling of the product
- an invoice and packing list.
- keep records of your supply chain such as, who you buy from and who you supply.
- register products if required such as, cosmetics.
- register for an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number.
- appoint an authorised EU representative - Manufacturers in non-EU countries who wish to sell their products in the EU must appoint an authorised representative established in the EU to act on their behalf. Find out how to appoint an EU-recognised notified body on the GOV.UK website.
- label your goods correctly - Most goods that are exported to the EU need specific labelling in the right language. Find out more about the EU labelling and packaging requirements on the European Commission website.
- meet EU product safety requirements (if you need a Certificate of Conformity) - As an exporter, you are responsible for designing and manufacturing products that meet all applicable safety requirements, including carrying out the required conformity assessment procedure. Any testing required by EU legislation must use EU notified bodies. UK test houses will not meet these requirements after 31 December 2020. Certificates will also need to be in the language of the member state where they will be placed on the market. Find out more about conformity assessments on the European Commission website.
- register for an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number. You need an EORI number that starts with GB to export goods from 1 January 2021.
- decide how you want to make customs declarations and whether you need to get someone to deal with customs for you.
Guidance for exporting certain products
For more information about how the new rules affect how certain goods are exported to the EU, read our guidance documents below:
- cosmetics guidance document (PDF, 167.9 KB)
- food guidance document (PDF, 205.9 KB)
- product safety guidance document (PDF, 134.2 KB).
If you need more personalised advice for your business, get in touch with Trading Standards.
If you don't follow the new rules
- your goods may be refused entry
- you will be responsible for paying the costs of examination
- you will need to pay for storage
- you will need to pay to rectify the problems
- and the issues cannot be rectified, you will need to pay for the goods to be destroyed.
More business advice
For more advice relating to the new rules visit one of the following websites:
- Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce
- Department for International Trade
- Federation of Small Businesses (FSB)
- Business Companion
- GOV.UK - Haulier advice site locations
- Food Standards Agency
- HMRC - general enquiries about imports and exports
- European Commission Trade Helpdesk
- New EU VAT e-commerce rules explained by the FSB for online sellers
- Free webinars from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
- Free webinars for importers of food and drink products from the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
This document also explains the phased approach to the new requirements for trading with the EU (PDF, 171.6 KB).
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