‘Wrong paperwork’ warning for firms which could cause problems from January 1
Businesses are getting ready to leave the single market and customs union when the UK transition period ends on December 31.
If you trade with the EU, now is the time to prepare for the UK’s new start, so get processes, contracts and agreements in place so you’re ready to take advantage of new opportunities from January 1, 2021.
One of the most urgent jobs on the list is to prepare for changes in import and export declarations to move goods between Great Britain and Europe. From July 1, 2021 all traders moving goods in and out of Europe will have to make declarations and pay the relevant tariffs.
Richard Selby, director of Pro Steel Engineering, based in Pontypool, Wales, has decided to use a freight forwarder for customs declarations.
“Using a freight forwarder means our responsibility ends when the products leave our building,” says Richard, whose company has projects in France and Sweden.
“If you’ve got 50 people on a construction site in the middle of Paris, you don’t want to be late delivering to them because you’ve got your paperwork wrong.”
Preparations for the end of the UK transition period started two years ago at Pro Steel. “We got our GB EORI number a while ago. It was very straightforward on the gov.uk website; we had the number within a couple of days.
“We also focused on winning work and getting our plans in place so we could maximise what we’re doing,” adds Richard. “I just went through the checker at gov.uk and it was a good reminder. I think we’ve been quite focused on the changes – it’s all coming together and we’re hopeful that the change will bring more opportunities.”
Prepared and positive
Jill Henry, founder of Scottish outdoor clothing brand Meander Apparel says preparation for the end of the UK transition period is key.
“For us, it’s getting all the paperwork in place so we’re prepared for different situations,” she explains.
“We’ve had to ensure we comply with new garment labelling rules, such as adding the country of origin and CE markings – which show that they meet EU health and safety standards.”
In spite of the changes, Jill is confident about the future. Her sustainable garments lend themselves well to the outdoors and since the start of the pandemic, sales have soared. “We feel positive and we’re going to keep doing what we’re doing,” she says.
‘We’re not holding back – things will move forward’
Bernie de Le Cuona, founder of luxury textiles business de Le Cuona, has taken advice to make sure she’s ready for the end of the transition period.
“We have to be on our toes and, while daunting, it’s quite exciting,” she says. All de Le Cuona’s products are made in Europe, so Bernie was keen to make sure the transition goes smoothly for the company.
“I got the support of some of our suppliers, who pointed me in the right direction,” she says.
“So we’ve done an awful lot of looking into this to understand what our options are.
“We’re not holding back at all, and we feel quite strongly that things will move forward, regardless.”
Make sure you’re ready to trade with the EU from January 1, 2021. For more information, go to gov.uk/hmrc/customs-on-your-behalf
If you decide to do declarations yourself, go to gov.uk/import-customs-declaration.
This article is part of a paid-for partnership with the UK Government.
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