Guidance

EU business: exporting to the UK

Find out what EU businesses need to do to export to the UK.

This page sets out what EU businesses who are exporting to the UK need to consider. Check with your EU country’s customs authority about the rules for sending goods to the UK from the EU.

For more EU business information, visit gov.uk/eubusiness.

Buying or selling goods

Rules have changed and there are border requirements placed on the movement of goods between the EU and UK. Find out more about how the border with the UK will work.

Make sure you talk to your trading partners in the UK to:

  • agree responsibilities
  • make sure you have the correct paperwork for the type of goods you are trading

You must make sure you have completed the necessary border requirements.

There will be no substantive change for the movement of goods between Northern Ireland and member states of the EU, including Ireland.

Transporting goods from the EU to the UK

Hauliers and haulier managers must:

  • use the ‘check an HGV’ service
  • follow new traffic management processes at ports to avoid delays
  • carry the correct documents for your load and complete new online procedures to cross the border

EU businesses should talk to their haulage firm to ensure the paperwork requirements are fulfilled.

Full guidance is available in the haulier handbook.

Exporting food and drink

Read this guidance on preparing your food and drink business to learn more about:

  • getting a GB EORI number
  • making sure that your products comply with UK food labelling requirements
  • getting the right documentation to send with your goods if you are exporting animals or animal products
  • sending your goods through a designated Border Control Post (BCP)
  • complying with the new phytosanitary requirements if you are exporting plant products

Exporting agri-food products

If you sell agri-food products to the UK, your business should:

  • check the requirements for exporting food, drink or agricultural products to the UK from the EU
  • check what documents, licences and certificates are required for the goods you are exporting from the EU into the UK and how to apply for them
  • pre-notify the UK authorities about the goods you are exporting from the EU into the UK

Exporting animals and animal products

If you export animals and animal products to Great Britain, you must comply with new sanitary and phytosanitary requirements from 1 January 2021. This may include the need for new export health certificates. These processes will be introduced in stages during 2021.

Find out more about exporting animals and animal products to Great Britain

Exporting plants and plant products

EU exports of plants, fruit and vegetables to Great Britain must comply with new phytosanitary requirements, including phytosanitary certificates. If you export plants, fruit and vegetables to Great Britain, you should:

  • check whether a phytosanitary certificate (PC) is required by contacting the plant health authority in your country or your local plant health inspector
  • check if your plants require laboratory testing of samples to ensure they are free from pests and diseases or inspections during the growing season
  • apply for a PC from the relevant National Plant Protection Organisation before export

Find out more about exporting plants and plant products.

Exporting fish to Great Britain

You must:

  • comply with illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) regulations

  • supply catch certificates and other relevant documentation - check where to get documents from with your local country authorities

  • land into a North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC) designated UK port – you will need to submit a NEAFC Port State Control form (PSC1 or PSC2) before landing as well as relevant IUU documentation

To tranship in UK ports, you will still need to land into a designated NEAFC Port and complete the appropriate IUU documentation including:

  • a UK transhipment form
  • prior notification

Find out more about exporting fish to Great Britain

Exporting CITES listed items (endangered animals)

EU businesses trading CITES listed items will need to follow rules including:

  • making sure you use a designated point of entry when bringing CITES listed items into Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales)

  • obtaining permits when moving CITES listed items into Great Britain - for example, applying for an Animal Plant and Health Agency (APHA) Permit at least 30 days in advance of movements

Find out more about moving CITES listed items

Energy-related products placed on the market in Great Britain must comply with relevant UK legislation.

Compliant products placed on the market before 1 January 2021, with EU flags on their energy labels, may continue to remain in circulation following the end of the transition period.

Products placed on the Northern Ireland market must comply with relevant EU legislation. This includes using the EU flag and QR codes that link to the required product information on the European product registry for energy labelling (EPREL).

Check climate change requirements.

Manufactured goods

If you are placing manufactured goods on the market in Great Britain, you may need to:

  • review your product marking, labelling, and packaging
  • get additional approvals, certifications, or registrations
  • appoint a legal representative based in the UK
  • check whether your (or your distributors) legal responsibilities are changing

Find out more about placing manufactured goods on the market in Great Britain.

If you are placing manufactured goods on the market in Northern Ireland, the relevant EU rules relating to manufactured goods will apply. Where a business already holds the relevant approvals that goods meet EU rules, this will continue to provide the basis for placing those goods on the market in Northern Ireland.

Find out more about placing manufactured goods on the market in Northern Ireland.

Cosmetic goods

The UK has its own database for the notification of cosmetic products: the Submit Cosmetic Products Notification (SCPN) service.

You will need to provide notification of the cosmetics products you place on the UK market.

If your product was:

  • already on the EEA or UK market before 31 December 2020
  • previously notified to the European Commission via their CPNP database

You will have 90 days (from 1 January 2021) to add the information to the UK SCPN service. You will be able to provide the same product information for the UK notification as you have already provided to the EU CPNP notification database.

F gas and ODS regulation

You must comply with requirements under the fluorinated gas (F gas) and ozone depleting substances (ODS) regulations when exporting to and importing from Great Britain.

The EU F gas and ODS regulations and systems will continue to apply in Northern Ireland so Northern Ireland based businesses can continue trading with the EU/EEA as they already do.

Find out how to comply with the F gas Regulations

Trading timber

You need to carry out due diligence when importing and exporting timber.

Trading chemicals

If you trade chemicals you must review your role in the EU and UK REACH systems and comply with new rules to maintain access to the UK market.

EU REACH will continue to apply in Northern Ireland so NI-based businesses can continue trading with the EU/EEA as they already do.

Find out how to comply with REACH chemical regulations

Published 2 December 2020
Last updated 8 December 2020 + show all updates
  1. Added translations for Dutch, French, German, Italian, Polish and Spanish.

  2. First published.