New rules for doing business with the EU, what businesses need to know

Businesses moving goods from the EU to Great Britain need to prepare for import control changes which will take effect from 1 January 2022. We have created this blog post so you can get ahead of the new rules for doing business with the EU in the new year. We will cover the new requirements for customs declarations, the rules of origin and import controls.

Customs Declarations

From 1 January 2022, you must complete customs declarations on imports from the EU to GB at the time you or your courier/freight forwarder bring them into Great Britain. This means you will no longer be able to delay making import customs declarations.

Since 1 January 2021, you have been able to delay import declarations for a maximum of 175 days from when the goods arrived in the country. However, from 1 January 2022, full declarations must be made at the time of importing and cannot be delayed.

The Government has created an import goods into the UK: step by step to help you prepare for new customs declaration rules. The guide provides information on how to bring goods into the UK from any country, including how much tax and duty you’ll need to pay and whether you need to get a licence or certificate.

You can also apply for  an authorisation to use simplified declarations for imports, which allows you to move goods into a customs procedure without having to provide a full customs declaration. On the Government’s website, you can apply for a simplified declaration for imports.

Alternatively, you may have chosen someone to deal with import and export declarations on your behalf, such as a customs agent, courier or a freight forwarder. You can find, on the Government’s website, information on how you can hire a person or business to deal with customs for you.

Rules of Origin

The rules of origin requirements are some of the most important provisions that your business needs to understand and meet, under the UK’s deal with the EU.

From 1 January 2022, if you sell goods to the EU, or buy goods from the EU and bring them into the UK, you will need to be able to prove that they meet the rules of origin in order to use preferential tariffs.

To benefit from the preferential tariffs, you must have proof that:

  • Goods you import into the UK from the EU originate there
  • Goods you export to the EU originate in the UK

If you cannot prove the origin of your product, you or your EU customer will be liable to pay the full rate of customs duty and could face penalties. If you cannot prove your product’s origin, you cannot take advantage of the zero-tariff trade agreement with the EU.

You can find on the Government’s website detailed guides to prepare for the changes to Rules of Origin. 

For practical support with exporting your products you can also use the dedicated hotline and online service launched for UK exporters.

Import Controls

From 1 January 2022, there are new requirements for importing some Sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) goods, such as meat or plants, to GB from the EU.

You will be required to pre-notify when importing most Products of Animal Origin, Animal By- Products, High Risk Food not of Animal Origin and regulated plants and plant products from the EU to GB.

You (or a representative acting on your behalf) importing these goods from the EU may need to pre-notify authorities that their consignment will be entering Great Britain. You can do this on the relevant IT system.

There is dedicated guidance available on the Government’s website:

You should register for the relevant IT systems for animal and plant products now to ensure your business is prepared for prenotification requirements from 1 January 2022.

Register for the relevant IT systems:

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko Samkov, published on Pexels

Valentine Hutchings

Valentine Hutchings

Head of Community and small business enthusiast

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