The UK left the single market and customs union following the end of the Brexit transition period in December 2020. This means that cross-border transportation of goods between the UK and the rest of the EU is now subject to customs formalities. Border checks, tariffs, and duties are applicable on goods entering and leaving the UK.

Take a look at some of the new customs and traffic regulations for Imports from the EU to the UK and Exports from the UK to the EU.

Imports from the EU to the UK

Customs Declarations: Customs declarations provide government authorities with information about goods being imported and exported. These typically include information about the type of goods, transport, customs value, and any applicable tariffs or duties. Full declarations are required for controlled goods (e.g., excise goods like tobacco and alcohol). For standard goods (most goods), simplified customs requirements are required.

Customs Duties and VAT: Tariffs may be applicable on goods traded between UK and EU. Import VAT is also applicable to relevant goods.

Safety and Security Declarations: These declarations summarize the goods in any consignment and are part of the World Customs Organization framework. These declarations have to be submitted in advance of import, and an EU exit summary declaration, as well as a UK entry summary declaration, is required.

Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) check: The import and export of live animals, products of animal origin, and some plants and other agri-food products are subject to additional checks at the border. At the border, goods can be subject to documentary checks, identity checks, and physical checks.  The UK authorities must be pre-notified about importing high-risk live animals and plants (and animal and plant products).

Excise Duties: Excise duties are taxes levied on products that can damage consumer health or pollute the environment, such as alcohol and tobacco. Businesses importing excise goods must pay the UK excise duties.

Exports from the UK to the EU

Customs Declarations: Full customs declarations, including UK export declarations and EU import declarations, are required.

Customs Duties and VAT: If applicable, tariffs and import VAT are payable at the time of export, unless traders are eligible to defer payments.

Safety and Security Declarations: A UK exit summary declaration and EU entry summary declaration are required.

Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) check: Full SPS checks, including a UK Export Health Certificates requirement, are in place.

Excise Duties: Excise goods are subject to the rules applied by the importing EU member state.

Most cross-border transportation arrives by lorry at the Port of Dover or Channel Tunnel and leaves within minutes of arrival. Other than the customs declarations and duties mentioned above, there are also additional steps that UK goods vehicle operators need to take. These steps are registering their vehicles, applying for operator licenses and permits, and getting the correct vehicle documents.

AM International Solicitors are experts in EU and International Law and can help you answer any other questions you may have regarding cross-border transportation and customs and traffic regulations. Contact us here.