Do you import products from the UK? Or do you have customers in the United Kingdom? Since 1 January 2021 you have to deal with customs formalities and longer waiting times at the border. Prepare your shipments well to avoid delays.
On this page
The information on Brexitloket.nl is based on the agreement between the EU and the UK. The government is currently analysing the agreement. That is why these texts may change in the near future. Do you have questions? Contact Brexitloket.
Preferential origin: avoid paying import dutiesDo you trade with the UK and would you rather not pay import duties on your products? Then it is important for you to see how you can make use of the agreements between the EU and the UK. Read more on Brexitloket (in Dutch).
To do list
Apply for an EORI number
To transport goods to and from the United Kingdom, you must apply for an EORI (Economic Operator Registration and Identification) number. You need that number to submit customs declarations for the export of goods outside the EU. You can apply for an EORI number in the Netherlands via the website of the Tax and Customs Administration. You must register your products with both Dutch and British customs. Do you have a representative in the UK who takes care of this for you? Then check whether they have a British EORI number. Does your representative not have an EORI number or do you handle the import into the UK yourself? Then make sure you have a British EORI number yourself. Check the British government website to apply for an EORI number in the UK.
For import: turnover VAT
If you import from the UK, you have to file an import declaration, and pay VAT. You can delay paying the VAT with an Article 23 permit. With an Article 23 permit, you can declare the VAT on your VAT return instead of having to pay directly. If you import from the UK regularly, an Article 23 permit can save you time and work. Apply for an Article 23 permit (in Dutch).
Commodity codes, import duties; permits
Find out what the commodity or HS codes are for the products you are importing or exporting. Check how high the import duties are for those products and which documents you will need.
- Determine the HS code.
- View the import duties in the Taric Database. You can switch to English in the top right hand corner.
- Or check the EU Access2Markets portal (enter your HS code first).
Arrange the pre-notification via Portbase
If you trade via ferry and / or shortsea terminals, you must pre-notify the customs documents digitally via the Portbase website. Make arrangements who will do this: the importer, exporter, freight forwarder, customs agent, or in some cases the carrier. Without pre-notification, the transporter will not be able to access the terminal. Digital pre-notification and real-time tracking of your cargo is done via Portbase. To do so, you need to subscribe to the following services:
Read up on the export rules
Check whether you comply with all export rules. View the information on the Access2Markets portal (enter your HS number first). Not yet familiar with Access2Markets? First read the step-by-step plan (in Dutch) on the RVO website. Do you want to know more about the changed export rules? Read on the RVO website about export regulations in the United Kingdom from 1 January 2021 (in Dutch).
Five things to do: ferry and shortsea terminals
All ferry terminals and most shortsea terminals in the Netherlands work together within the Portbase platform. You must pre-notify your business with the United Kingdom digitally via this platform. If you fail to do so, you will not have access to the terminal. Portbase helps you on your way in five steps, outlined on the Get Ready for Brexit.eu website.
Dutch Customs declaration
You must inform Dutch Customs that you are exporting or importing goods from a country outside the EU. Visit the Customs website for a 3-step plan (in Dutch).
Do you often export to or import from the UK?Then it is useful to apply for Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) status (in Dutch). This offers you various advantages in the field of international trade, such as fewer physical checks and priority checks.
Do you have little experience with international trade?Then consider outsourcing your customs declaration to a forwarder or carrier (in Dutch).
British Customs DeclarationAs you can see in the to-do list above, you must register your products with both Dutch and British customs. You need a UK representative to file the declaration in the UK. He or she needs a British EORI number (customs number) for this. The representative bears the risks. So make agreements about the risks and how to cover them. Are you unable to make agreements? Then you can do the import declaration on the British side yourself. Then open a branch in the UK (in Dutch) and apply for a UK EORI number. Do you handle customs formalities in the UK yourself? And do you want to make use of the preferential tariffs resulting from the trade agreement? Then you must comply with the applicable rules of origin. Read more about UK Customs in the article "New Rules: UK Customs" (in Dutch).
Freight Forwarder Selection Tool
The sector organizations ACN, TLN / FENEX and evofenedex have developed a free Brexit tool for entrepreneurs who want to outsource customs and logistics. The tool is available on the evofenedex website.
If your organisation delivers goods or services to contracting authorities, such as governments from the UK, Brexit will have consequences for your access to tenders. View the agreement (pdf) on ANNEX PPROC-1 for an exhaustive list of which provisions apply, based on the Government Procurement Agreement of the WTO, and for which activities access has been agreed. Keep an eye on the UK government website for an overview of future tenders. Note: Although you can finalise current tenders and contracts, you may be faced with new obligations, such as border formalities, and work permits.
Are you exporting indirectly via, for example, an agent or distributor? Then think of the following:
- Check the contracts with your (foreign) intermediary. Be extra vigilant about long-term contracts.
- Make clear transport arrangements. Use the ICC Incoterms® to make clear agreements about the delivery conditions and the transport of your goods. Are you already using Incoterms? Then assess whether they still comply or adjust your agreements.
Form of payment
- Choose the payment form that matches the import transaction or export transaction.
- Limit the risks. Think of possible changes to the exchange rate (in Dutch).
- Contact your bank about the settlement of the payments.
- Check whether your bank can process the payments.
Working capitalEnsure adequate cash flow. You may be faced with negative consequences from Brexit. For example due to changes in the handling of VAT. The moment of payment of the VAT and the possibility of reclaiming the VAT could take longer.
ContractsIdentify the consequences of Brexit for your business operations and encourage contracting parties to do the same. Read more about the consequences for contracts.
Transport arrangementsMake clear transport arrangements. Who arranges the transport, who pays for it, who is responsible for damage, the payment of any import duties, who takes out which insurance and who reports to Customs? If you transport goods via the Dutch ports, you have to deal with border formalities. Pre-notification of customs documents via the Portbase port system is mandatory for transport via the ferry terminals. This also applies to other terminals. GetReadyforBrexit.eu tells you which steps you need to take to prepare the transport of your cargo. Read more about Transport & logistics (in Dutch).
For trade outside the EU, adjustments to your product or product packaging may be necessary. Check that your products are covered by UK goods regulation and that you meet the requirements. If your products, labels or packaging do not meet the requirements, they are not allowed in or out of the UK (in the case of return products). Check RVO.nl to see which requirements will apply (in Dutch) in the UK for your products, labels and packaging. Read more about the UKCA marking on the UK government website Gov.uk. The NVWA (the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority) describes the requirements (in Dutch) for various products for import from and export to the UK, including foodstuff, non-food items, animals and plants and packaging wood (in Dutch).
When you import goods, the responsibility for the safety and quality of a product rests with the importer, as you are legally considered the producer. You are responsible for ensuring that an imported product from the UK complies with all EU and Dutch legislation. The EU Product Liability Directive (in Dutch) has been changed into the Consumer Protection Act in the UK. Check UK legislation. A product in the UK may have to comply with different regulations than in the EU and not all UK products may be sold in the EU.
Specific rules apply to the import of certain goods. You will find this in the Customs Handbook, chapter Handboek VGEM (in Dutch).
VATThe UK is a non-EU country for tax purposes. Different VAT rules apply to trade with non-EU countries. Please be aware that the UK is no longer part of the various EU digital VAT systems, such as RES and VIES. The UK government has published information about value added tax (VAT) in the UK. The Trade Tariff database of the UK gives the amount of VAT per product. You can find more information about VAT and doing business outside the EU at belastingdienst.nl/brexit (in Dutch).
When exporting to the UK, you will now have to deal with VAT, import duties and additional administrative matters such as proving the origin of the goods. The trade agreement stipulates that trade in goods of preferential origin between the EU and the UK will in principle take place without tariffs. To be eligible for this tariff exemption, you must demonstrate that your products meet the conditions. Check the Trade Tariff database for the most up-to-date trade rates, VAT rates and exceptions per product. The UK has indicated that it will establish its own Trade Remedies Authority to deal with anti-dumping and subsidy complaints. The UK government has published more information on Trade Remedies.
Export documents are mandatory. You must show documents to Customs when exporting goods. Make sure you have the documents in order in time. Here you can find more information about those export documents. The documents you need for the UK can be found in the Access2Markets portal of the European Commission. Are you not yet familiar with how Access2Markets works? Then first view the step-by-step plan (in Dutch) on the RVO website.
Do you want to import and sell products from outside the European Economic Area (EEA)? This is only allowed if you have permission from the producer. Import without permission is called parallel import, and it is illegal. If you import products from outside the EU, you are legally considered the producer. Product liability then applies to importers.
Do you export cultural goods (such as art and antiques)? And are those goods then returned? There is a practical solution for you. For the most up-to-date information, visit the website of the Government Information and Heritage.
Special rules apply to the import and export of vegetables, fruit, plants, animals and animal products. The Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) supervises compliance with these rules. Visit the NVWA website for more information (in Dutch).
You sell your products through a platform such as Etsy, Amazon or E-Bay to consumers in EU countries. And you also sell them through your own online store. Brexit has consequences for this trade to the United Kingdom (UK). Consider, for example, delays in deliveries or the payment of VAT. Read more about selling through online shops (in Dutch).
Dual use goods
Do you import or export dual use goods? As of 1 January 2021, the UK has been added to the list of countries for which a Union General Export Permit (the EU001) applies. Keep in mind that dual use goods are subject to inspection. Apply for the necessary export permits (in Dutch). Do you want to export a more sensitive strategic good (categories listed in Annex IV of the Regulation)? Then ask the Central Office for Import and Export of Customs for advice.