brexit containers

7 top tips for exporting to Europe post-Brexit

1. Get an Economic Operator Registration and Identification number (EORI)

Any businesses who wish to be exporting to Europe, would need to apply for a EORI number. An EORI is needed for any goods that are being moved from the UK and any other country (including Europe). An EORI number is also needed for any transportation of goods between England and Northern Ireland. In order to get an EORI number, you usually need to have a business with premises that have a registered office, central headquarters, or a permanent location for business establishment. It should be noted that an EORI number is not necessary if goods are being moved for personal use. You’ll need an EORI number if you have someone doing customs for you, make customs declarations, use customs systems, or apply for a customs decision.

2. Understand commodity codes

When exporting to Europe, you will also need a commodity code. This can also be known as a tariff code, or a Harmonized System (HS). This code can be 6 digits, 8 digits or 10 digits. The commodity code can determine the customs duties and other levies, and the restrictions and prohibitions that may apply to your goods. The 6-digit commodity code is what can be known as a HS (Harmonized System) code. These HS codes are used worldwide and monitor trade levels and apply international trade rules to goods. 8- or 10-digit commodity codes are used for importing or exporting goods. You can use the tariff tool to ensure that get the correct commodity code.

3. Know the value of your goods

In order to ensure that you have the correct level of customs duty applied to your goods when exporting to Europe, make sure that you understand the value of your goods. Customs duties are calculated as a percentage of the value of your goods. Therefore, it is important to know the value of goods in order to make sure that you are not overcharged or undercharged on customs duty.

4. Are your goods prohibited or restricted?

It is incredibly important to check that your goods are not prohibited or restricted, as countries have different rules and regulations. Some of these goods require special licensing in order to be exported to Europe. For example, military goods, plants, animals and chemicals all need special licenses due to the natures of the products.

5. Know the origin of your goods

You need to be able to recognise the origins of the goods that you are exporting to Europe, as this can help to identify which goods qualify for little or no customs duty. The origin can refer to where the goods have been manufactured, grown or produced.

6. Consider getting subsidiary status in the EU

Getting subsidiary status is worth considering when a large portion of your business comes from the EU. Getting subsidiary status in the EU when you’re exporting to Europe can allow you to act as a distributor and importer for your EU supplies and customers. Getting a subsidiary can show commitment to your EU market.

7. Plan your resource

It is no secret that the UK is struggling after Brexit due to the lorry driver shortage, and this has had a huge impact on the times that goods are arriving at their destinations. Therefore, it would be wise to plan your resource wisely and try to ensure that you book freight transport at least 2 weeks in advance to ensure your goods arrive on time.


If you have any questions about exporting to Europe, then please do not hesitate to contact us.



5 top tips for importing to the UK from the USA

1. Get the tariff codes right

A tariff code is used in the UK and can also be known as a commodity code, or a Harmonized System (HS) code and is usually 6 digits long. This code is used to classify goods. It is worth noting that this code is different from the one that is used in the US, which uses the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) code. The HTS code is a variation of the UK’s HS code but is more specific.

It is the business’ legal responsibility to ensure that the correct tariff codes are used. The correct codes must be used for all exports and imports coming to the UK from anywhere abroad. All imports and exports must also be declared to HM revenue and customs (HMRC). The codes are essential in ensuring that you are paying the correct duty and for knowing whether you need an export/import license.

2. Book your shipment at least 2 weeks in advance

Currently, the UK (and the US) are experiencing major lorry driver shortages, and this has had a huge impact on the times that goods are arriving at their destinations. The US trucking industry is beginning to return to normalcy, as the country continues to adapt to the ELD mandate. However, the UK is still struggling massively, especially after Brexit. The trucking industry relies very heavily on drivers from Eastern Europe, and Brexit has caused many of these drivers to go home, cutting off the UK’s access. This has meant that arrival times of goods, and the freight industry in general in the UK, has slowed, and costs have also increased. Therefore, if you are considering importing to the UK, it would be wise to book any shipments at least 2 weeks in advance, in order to prepare for any delays.

Obtain proper legal advice before signing any contracts

It is important to make sure that you understand all laws regarding importing and exporting. This is important to understand whether you are importing/exporting from the UK or another country. There could be bureaucratic hurdles or any number of administrative issues within particular countries. Always make sure to have a lawyer that is familiar with US and UK laws check out any contractual documents before signing anything.

Know and understand shipping terms

There are many words and abbreviations within the shipping industry, and these can seem overwhelming if you’ve never heard of them before. It’s incredibly important that you understand these when importing from the USA to the UK though. A tip for this is to try and buy goods on Ex Works or FOB terms. These are the best ways of controlling your cost.

The VAT in America

Typically, importing from the USA is relatively easy. You just need to be careful that American companies do not charge you American VAT if the goods are bought in the USA for export to the UK. VAT from state to state in America can be between 5.5% and 12%. If you are importing items from the US into the UK, then the VAT will be paid in the UK.


If you have any questions regarding importing goods to the UK from the USA, please do not hesitate to contact us.