Brexit alert

What the Brexit Transition Period means for UK customs preparations

The Brexit Transition Period is in effect since February 2020. What is the impact on cross-border trade? Get available government customs funds and prepare now.

Brexit milestone: Transition Period kicks off

Officially leaving the EU on January 31, 2020 was received with mixed feelings by the UK business community: Relief about achieving this milestone after more than 3 years in a long-winded process, but uncertainty about what exactly it means for preparing cross-border supply chains. 

While it sounds like "Brexit is done", everyone involved in trade across UK borders knows full well that this milestone has merely launched the next phase. The start of the Transition Period kicked off a number of tangible actions such as trade negotiations and cross-border preparations. 

As part of this, the UK government has mailed 220,000 letters to VAT-registered businesses in the UK and Northern Ireland at the end of January. Did you receive yours, too? 

These letters explain how businesses who import and export between the UK and the EU can prepare for changes to customs arrangements after the end of the Transition Period. This refers to the date December 31, 2020 – the last of this year's three key Brexit deadlines.  

AEB Brexit Tool Kit - Transition Period and next steps at a glance

Brexit Transition Period: Funds and customs IT

It is important to note: 

  • That there will be no changes to the terms of trade between the UK and the EU (or the rest of the world) between now and December 31, 2020. 
  • That it is vital to act now and get ready for trade and customs procedures after the Transition Period (or “Implementation Period”). 
  • That there isn't much time considering all that's involved in preparing a business for compliant and efficient cross-border supply chains.  

Good news – funds to claim:

Just this month, HMRC extended the deadline for businesses to apply for customs support funding to January 31, 2021. This is aimed at GB/EU traders and the approach does not apply to the flow of trade between Northern Ireland and Ireland, or between Northern Ireland and GB. 

At the time of the press release, applications had been made for around £18.5 million out of a possible £26 million – leaving at least £7.5 million left for businesses to claim from HMRC. 

  • Have you applied for government funds to ready your customs IT and teams, too? 
  • Where does your business stand overall at this point of the Brexit Transition Period?  

Go through the following checklist to get started. And remember: The time to wait has passed, it's vital to get cross-border supply chains and UK customs processes ready now. 

Next steps: Your Brexit Transition Period checklist

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New to import and export?

Your Customs Guide - Brexit Transition Period Preparations
Your Customs Guide - Brexit Transition Period Preparations
Go to Customs Guide - Brexit Transition Period Preparations

If you haven’t imported or exported before, you need to register and get an EORI number. Download this guide to get started in six steps.

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Your customs status quo?

Your Checklist - Brexit Transition Period Preparations
Your Checklist - Brexit Transition Period Preparations
Go to Checklist - Brexit Transition Period Preparations

Cross-border supply chains depend on smooth customs clearances. Go through our online checklist for important points of consideration. 

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Your customs software?

Your Customs Solution - Brexit Transition Period Preparations
Your Customs Solution - Brexit Transition Period Preparations
Go to Customs Solution - Brexit Transition Period Preparations

Customs management is digital and the right software set-up is vital for declarations, broker integration and more. Check  what you need.

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Individual requirements?

Your Customs Expert - Brexit Transition Period Preparations
Your Customs Expert - Brexit Transition Period Preparations
Go to Customs Expert Request - Brexit Transition Period Preparations

You know you trade across UK borders and you know you need to act now. But you are unsure how? Discuss your individual customs needs with us.