Exporting and importing goods in a no-deal Brexit

Import and export processes that UK businesses trading with the EU would need to follow in a no-deal Brexit.

This guidance was withdrawn on

This page has been replaced with guidance on importing and exporting goods in a no-deal Brexit.

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This page tells you what to do in a no-deal Brexit. It will be updated if anything changes, including if a deal is agreed.

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In a no-deal Brexit, many UK businesses will need to apply the same processes to EU trade that apply when trading with the rest of the world.

This guidance does not apply to importing or exporting goods between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Checklist of things you’ll need to do in preparation

Here is a list of things you’ll need to do in preparation that are covered in greater detail within this guide and accompanying guides:

Before you import or export goods

You need a UK EORI number (an EORI number that starts with GB).

Before you import or export any goods, check if they’re controlled goods.

UK Trade Statistics

HMRC is responsible for publishing official UK Trade Statistics on GOV.UK. We already include details of businesses importing or exporting with non-EU countries. If there’s a no-deal Brexit, we’ll also include information about businesses that trade with the EU.

This will be your business name, address and postcode, and description of the goods you’re importing or exporting and the month and year in which the goods were imported or exported.

If you would like details of your business to be excluded from any future publications, contact us by emailing with your business name and VAT registration number. If you do this by the 18th of the month, we can make sure your details are excluded from the following month’s publication and onward.

Exporting goods

Find out the commodity code of your goods

Commodity codes classify your goods so you that can fill in export declarations accurately.

Research the destinations you want to export to. This background information, along with the commodity code of the goods will help you work out if the goods will incur import duty in the destination country.

Choose the right customs procedure code for your goods

Customs procedure codes identify the customs or excise processes that you may want to use depending on what your business does, for example importing goods into a customs-approved warehouse, so that you can suspend payment of duty and VAT until they’re sent to a UK customer from the warehouse.

Importing goods

Find out the commodity code of your goods

Commodity codes classify goods so you can:

  • fill in declarations accurately
  • check if there’s duty to pay
  • find out about duty reliefs

Classifying your goods correctly means that you:

  • pay the right amount of duty
  • know if duty is suspended on any of your goods
  • know if you can apply any preferential duty rates
  • know if you need to get an import or export licence

If you’re unsure about how to classify your goods, check the product classification guides or the Trade Tariff lists all commodity codes.

You can also email HMRC for further advice.

Work out the value of your goods

You need to know the value of your goods to work out the level of Customs Duty you apply.

Check whether any reliefs apply

Duty relief schemes allow you to pay less or no duty on imports and exports.

Check whether you can use any customs procedures

There are customs procedures you can use to suspend duty to HMRC. They help businesses to manage cash-flow.

How to complete European Community Sales Lists

You need to send your completed European Community Sales Lists (ECSL) for the periods that start before Brexit as normal if:

  • you’re registered for VAT in the UK
  • you supply goods or services to EU VAT-registered customers

You should only include details of sales made to EU VAT-registered customers before Brexit. For example, if the UK leaves the EU at 11pm on 31 October 2019, you need to submit your monthly ECSL ending 31 October 2019 or quarterly ECSL ending 31 December 2019 showing details of sales made up to 11pm on 31 October 2019.

If you complete a simplified annual ECSL and the due date is later than October 2019, we’ll contact you to tell you what you need to do.

If we receive the ECSL late you may have to pay a penalty.

You will not need to submit ECSLs for periods beginning on or after the day the UK leaves the EU.

You’ll still be able to submit or correct ECSLs for VAT periods starting before a no-deal Brexit. You can either do this online or by downloading and posting forms VAT101, VAT101A and VAT101B to HMRC.

More information

Find out how to prepare in a no-deal Brexit.

Published 4 December 2018