Brexit, what about UK-EU Trade?
How does trade work now and how will from January 2021
The Brexit transition period is about to come to an end and the industry is getting ready for changes, or at least trying to do so.
Long after the EU Commission communication on readiness at the end of the transition period between the European Union and the United Kingdom, the UK tax authority HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue Services) sent to VAT-registered businesses in Great Britain a letter explaining what businesses need to do to prepare for new processes for moving goods between the UK and the EU from 1st January, 2021.
Before addressing the letter per se, we recall the aforementioned Commission communication, stating:
Until 1st January, 2021, the United Kingdom takes part in the Single Market, including the Single Market for goods. As such, goods can be freely traded between the EU and the UK without being subject to checks thanks to the existence of a single, Union regulatory framework for the placing on the market of goods, including harmonised technical rules, safety and environmental standards, and mutual recognition.
From 1st January, 2021, the EU and the UK will be two separate regulatory and legal spaces, and this means burdens and hurdles. Checks and controls.
For instance, as regards the authorisation and certification of products, on the Union side:
- Certificates or authorisations issued by UK authorities or by bodies based in the United Kingdom will no longer be valid for placing products on the Union market. For some medical devices, machinery, personal protective equipment or construction products – products certified by UK-based bodies will no longer be allowed to be placed on the Union market;
- A change/relocation of the Authorised Representative/responsible person from the United Kingdom to the Union will be necessary and vice versa;
- Labelling of goods will have to refer to bodies or persons established within the Union or the UK respectively, in order to meet labeling requirements.
Letters to businesses about new trade arrangements with the EU from 1st January, 2021
Trying to tackle uncertainty about future UK-EU trade talks and raise awareness of the upcoming changes, the UK government has recently sent letters to VAT-registered businesses in Great Britain trading with the EU or worldwide.
These letters explain what businesses need to do to prepare for new processes for moving goods between the UK and the EU from 1st January, 2021. The below shall remain firm and will not vary. Counting:
- UK Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number requirement;
- Custom declarations instructions;
- Checking if their imported goods are eligible for staged import controls.
In conclusion, manufacturers wishing to place devices on both the UK and EU markets will need to satisfy different sets of requirements as of 1st January, 2021. Therefore, in what concerns authorisation and certification processes, manufacturers should double-check compliance ahead of 1st January, 2021.
The charter below present stages on how the UK import processes will be introduced in 2021:
Source of the image: HM Revenue & Customs: Get your business ready to trade with the EU from 1 January 2021.
Carlos Francisco Marin Barrios
Regulatory Affairs Department
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 COM(2020) 324 final. Retrieved on 05/10/20 from https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/brexit_files/info_site/com_2020_324_2_communication_from_commission_to_inst_en_0.pdf
 Letters to businesses about new trade arrangements with the EU from 1 January 2021. Retrieved on 05/10/20 from https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/letters-to-businesses-about-new-trade-arrangements-with-the-eu-from-1-january-2021?utm_source=59324bea-5bc7-439a-b71a-3325d4a096d6&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=immediate