Has Brexit stopped your business exporting?

David Rae

Has customs, duties, paperwork, bureaucracy, and disruption at borders contributed to your business trading less with Europe?

British businesses are still struggling to come to terms with the negative effects of Brexit over two years after the event. According to the British Chambers of Commerce SME’s across the UK have experienced decline in export trade and ONS data highlights some of the key concerns for export and import trade.

If you’re a business who has traded previously with Europe what are the challenges you are facing now?

Most of the conversations we have with our customers are around the challenges of customs which impact costs, time and requiring more expert knowledge.  With the arrival of new customs systems, codes and restrictions on product types, along with the increased risk of making mistakes that may leave goods stuck at borders, it’s clear why some businesses have made the decision to cease exporting into the EU.

How to export with ease

Our very own in-house customs specialists are here to guide you through the process and identify the areas that often cause delays.

They bring over 75 years of collective experience so you know that you will be in safe hands.


Customs declarations at the border

Since Brexit, customs now must be declared at the border. 

This means needing:

  • Commercial Invoice
  • Sourcing a customs agent to administer the clearance

Commercial invoices need to include:

  • Country of origin, 
  • Clear incoterms, 
  • Consignee details
  • Packing details such as value and weight. 
  • An accurate description of the product.

If customs deem these to be incorrect then you risk fines.


Commodity codes, VAT & Duty

Every product shipped needs to have a 10-digit commodity code on the invoice which is based on the classification of the product and the material that it’s made from.

There is frequently an amount of ambiguity around which code to use for certain products which makes selecting the right one difficult. The wrong one can lead to hold-ups on borders and impact delivery timelines or even worse fines if the wrong ones are declared.

Commodity codes are important because they determine whether there is any duty or VAT to pay on the delivery, or in the best case if there is any duty relief.

Every European country has its own rules so routing is everything! What each consignment is liable for will change depending on which country it travels through. Remember to ask yourself:

  • How does the country that you are importing charge VAT?
  • Can you defer paying the VAT to the customer?
  • Are you importing to the same country that you are selling into?
  • Do you have fiscal representation?

New CDS systems

There’s a new UK import & export system replacing CHIEF, which is being phased in by HMRC and should be in full use by the end of November 2023.

CDS is designed to meet the new EU customs requirements which have been set out in the Union Customs Code. It will ensure that traders using the system are in compliance with current regulations when exporting or importing.

Restricted products and inspections

There has always been product restrictions when it comes to exporting, there are now extra rules and inspections required for certain classifications.

For instance, phytosanitary certificates and inspections are needed for any goods from plant or animal origin, and veterinary inspections are required for animal by-products. Without these, or if performed incorrectly, then loads could be impounded.

Check here to see if your goods fit with those restrictions


Help is at hand!

You are not alone! Our highly skilled Account Managers are supported by an expert in-house customs team who are more than happy to talk you through the process and get your business ready to export again!

Already exporting but still not sure if you have got it right? Customs cleanse is our market leading support solution that has already helped companies, like Whisper Bikes, to navigate their way through the customs maze as well as saving them thousands of pounds. Baxter Freight has partnered with Gerlach, leading professional customs clearances provider, to bring this solution to market.

Customs Cleanse has benefitted British businesses, by reviewing the customs-related documentation over the past 3 years, to find inaccuracies or incorrect commodity codes which has led to all the businesses we have worked with so far to be eligible for a tax rebate.

If you are looking for a safe pair of hands to get you back to selling into Europe after Brexit then we would love to hear from you.

Contact us

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