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Download a new guide for SMEs which trade with the EU or Northern Ireland


The transition period has ended and new rules are here. Act now to keep your business moving.

The transition period has ended and the UK has left the EU customs union and single market and now enjoys a zero tariffs, zero quotas relationship with the EU as an independent trading nation.

Following the signing of the UK – EU Free Trade Agreement, there are new rules for businesses which came into force on 1 January 2021 which require immediate action. Your business needs to act now to comply with these new rules. If you do not take action, there is a risk your business operations will be interrupted.

These documents cover actions that businesses must take to ensure they are compliant with the new rules which have come into force.  Part A provides an overview of key actions for businesses as well as supporting guidance, helpline numbers and FAQs. Part B lists the top five actions for businesses in each of the following sectors: Aerospace, automotive, chemicals, construction, consumer goods, electronics and machinery, life sciences, metals and materials, professional business services and retail.

You should visit where you can use the checker tool to quickly identify the actions that your business needs to take. The checker tool will ask you questions about your business and provide all the information you need to be aware of such as new rules on:

                                                     Grants to help SMEs new to importing or exporting

The SME Brexit Support Fund could give you up to £2,000 to help with training or professional advice, if your business has up to 500 employees and no more than £100 million annual turnover.

What you’ll be able to use the grant for

You can use the grant for training on:

  • how to complete customs declarations
  • how to manage customs processes and use customs software and systems
  • specific import and export related aspects including VAT, excise and rules of origin

It can be used to help you get professional advice so your business can meet its customs, excise, import VAT or safety and security declaration requirements.

Who will be able to apply

Your business must:

  • be established in the UK
  • have been established in the UK for at least 12 months before submitting the application, or currently hold Authorised Economic Operator status
  • not have previously failed to meet its tax or customs obligations
  • have no more than 500 employees
  • have no more than £100 million turnover
  • import or export goods between Great Britain and the EU, or moves goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Your business must also either:

  • complete (or intend to complete) import or export declarations internally for its own goods
  • use someone else to complete import or export declarations but requires additional capability internally to effectively import or export (such as advice on rules of origin or advice on dealing with a supply chain)

New information on Importing and Exporting 

Trade with the UK tool: This tool provides information for international businesses exporting goods into the UK, covering taxes, tariffs, commodity codes and regulations. It also provides information for goods going into Northern Ireland.  

The Check How to Export Goods tool, provides information for UK exporters about duties, rules of origin and customs procedures for over 160 markets around the world. It also provides detailed information about the UK border. 

                   A Step-by-Step guide to importing goods into the UK is now available online here 
                   A Step-by-Step guide to exporting goods, including into the EU, is now available online here

VIDEOS : Help and support if you export to the EU or import from the EU

New videos have been produced to explain what you need to do if you export to the EU or import from the EU.

 Sign up for trader support service

If you move goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the Trader Support Service will guide you through any changes due to the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol. It can help if you are moving goods yourself, act on behalf of someone else or send parcels between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, or bring parcels into Northern Ireland from outside the UK.

Placing manufactured goods on the EU and GB market from 1 January 2021

·       EU market : New guidance on what you need to do to comply with regulations on manufactured goods you place on the EU market from 1 January 2021 has been published

·       GB market : New guidance on what you need to do to comply with regulations on manufactured goods you place on the GB market from 1 January 2021 has been published.

Using the UKCA mark from 1 January 2021

New guidance explains how to use the UKCA (UK Conformity Assessed) marking. The UKCA marking is a new UK product marking that will be used for goods being place on the market in Great Britain. It covers most goods which previously required the CE marking. The UKCA marking can be used from 1 January 2021. However, to allow businesses time to adjust to the new requirements, you will still be able to use the CE marking until January 2022 in most cases.

Existing UK trade agreements with non-EU countries

Find out about the trade agreements the UK has already signed and our our discussions with countries the EU has a trade agreement with.