Business Readiness Bulletin      

Business Readiness Bulletin

Issue 43: 11 February 2020


Welcome to the latest in a series of business readiness bulletins, aimed at keeping trade associations, business representative bodies and business intermediaries up to date on the latest guidance for business whilst the UK is in a transition period which will last until the end of the year. This Bulletin aims to provide you and your networks/members with important information from Government, to help prepare for the end of the transition period.  

Controls at the Border

NEW – Yesterday, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster delivered a speech where he confirmed the Government’s plans to introduce full import controls for goods moving  into and out of the EU to Great Britain after the transition period ends on 31 December 2020.

This means that all goods entering the UK from the EU will be subject to the same checks and controls as goods coming from the rest of the world and that there will be new processes that UK exporters and importers of EU goods will have to comply with, whether we reach a new trade agreement or not.

Businesses will need to prepare for life outside the EU and many have already done so. For example, from 1 January 2021 businesses will need to make customs declarations to move goods into and out of the EU. Businesses can prepare for border controls by making sure they have an EORI number if they don’t already have one and also look into how they want to make declarations such as using a customs agent.

It was also announced yesterday that HMRC have extended the deadline for businesses to apply for customs support funding to 31 January 2021. There is still at least £7.5 million available so that more businesses can hire or train experts to deal with customs declarations. Details can be found here.

Freeports Consultation

NEW – Yesterday a public consultation on Freeports policy was launched. It will last for ten weeks.

It is proposed that up to 10 Freeports will be introduced across the UK, which will be national hubs for trade, innovation and commerce. The Government’s aim is for Freeports to attract new businesses, jobs, investment and opportunity.

You can find more information and respond to the consultation by 20 April 2020 here.

UK Global Tariff Consultation

NEW – The UK Government has launched a consultation on the UK’s independent tariff policy to apply from 1 January 2021.

In setting the tariff rates, the Government will uphold the principles set out in the Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Act 2018, and seeks to balance strategic trade objectives, such as the delivery of the UK’s FTA trade agenda, and to maintain the Government’s commitment to developing countries to reduce poverty through trade.

The consultation offers respondents the opportunity to provide:

  • views on changes to the Common External Tariff to create a bespoke UK tariff regime;
  • specific feedback on individual products or commodity codes of importance to them, including on the corresponding tariff rate; and
  • information on their interactions with MFN tariffs and the importance of tariffs to their sectors.

The consultation will close on 5 March 2020 and an announcement on the UK’s new Global Tariff schedule will follow shortly afterwards.  The consultation can be found here.

Business Readiness Forum

Please see the attached PDF of the slides from our Business Readiness Webinar from 6 February 2020. Our next forum will be a webinar on Thursday 20 February 2020. Further details will be sent to relevant organisations under a separate cover. Please share your thoughts, feedback or topics you would find useful with us via  The forum will continue throughout the transition period although the frequency is under review.

New Online Tool ‘Check How to Export Goods’

NEW – The Department for International Trade has launched a digital tool to give businesses the information they need to export goods out of the UK market. The free tool, called ‘Check How to Export Goods’, has launched on GOV.UK.

The tool helps any business, particularly SMEs, to trade with over 160 markets by providing up to date information and guidance on what they need to know and do in order to export goods to an EU country or to the rest of the world.

Businesses input their product commodity code and export destination and can then access product-level and country specific information including duties, regulations, customs procedures and trade agreements between the UK and other markets.

The tool saves time by providing the information that is needed to trade goods in one place.

‘Check How to Export Goods’ includes key information on:

  • Commodity codes
  • Duties, taxes, charges and quotas
  • Rules of origin
  • How to move your goods out of the UK
  • How to move your goods into other countries/destinations

The service is free to use and is available here.

Click here for more information and advice on exporting.

Actions you can take now that do not depend on negotiations

Following its departure from the EU on 31 January 2020 the UK is now in a transition period until the end of 2020, while the UK negotiates a free trade agreement. This link provides a list of actions of what you can do now, all transition period information and the opportunity for you to sign up to email alerts about the transition period.

Recent Announcements

NEW – The Department for International Trade and Export Joint Control Unit have published a notice of the current export licensing arrangements which will continue to apply until the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020. Notice to exporters 2020/03: exporting and trading items subject to strategic controls during the transition period.

Companies House has produced guidance to help you find out whether your business will need to change its company registration from 1 January 2021, and how to do this. Changing your company registration from 1 January 2021.

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