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The Border with the European Union: Importing and Exporting Goods

On 14 July 2020 the Government issued its long-awaited Border Operating Model.


This document gives an overview of the main import and export requirements and processes needed to move goods between the UK and the EU from 1 January 2020. 

This document should be read in conjunction with other documents, such as the new UK Tariff, which gives more detailed information regarding the practicalities of completing customs declarations required for sending goods between the UK and the EU.

The Border with the European Union document highlights:

  • The important role of the Customs Intermediary in ensuring accurate customs entries are completed and accompanied where appropriate by supporting documentation
  • The staged approach to implementing border controls for trade with the EU
  • What traders need to do in order to prepare for importing/exporting from the EU post 1st January 2021
  • New procedures to be adopted such as Goods Vehicle Movement System and Smart Freight

It is recommended that Members send the link to the document to those customers who currently only trade with the EU and are not familiar with such requirements.

The Government has also published “Step by Steps”, which have gone live. These include a new guide for importing at https://www.gov.uk/prepare-to-import-to-great-britain-from-january-2021 and one for exporting at https://www.gov.uk/prepare-to-export-from-great-britain-from-january-2021. Both links very much directed at the customers of freight forwarders.

In addition, HMRC have identified the 12,000 traders, by value, who solely trade with the EU and they will be arranging one-to-one telephone conversations with them to discuss their preparedness for the end of the Transition period. 

It is very clear that EU exit is continually throwing up “unknown, unknowns”, for instance the Northern Ireland Protocol will require, in effect, import customs declarations, which has come as a considerable shock to many.

It is hoped that Members and their customers will find this information to be useful.

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