Trading after Brexit

Keeping on top of new regulations to keep goods moving

Did you know that you can import frozen sausages to the EU but not chilled ones?

Or that for business travel, there are 27 sets of rules to consider depending on why you’re visiting a country - from attending a conference to purchasing goods?

With the UK-EU trade deal covering everything from supply chain and product regulation to immigration and state aid issues, organisations all over the UK have been getting their heads around the detail since it was announced on 24 December 2020.

By the end of the year, we will have supported businesses by filing over 100,000 customs declarations, keeping goods moving and supply chains resilient.
Jeffrie Mann

Director, Deloitte’s Global Trade Bureau

“There’s a wealth of information to grasp in the 1,246 pages of legal text, and a significant change to the future trading landscape that should not be underestimated,” said Amanda Tickel, Deloitte’s head of tax and trade policy.

Against a backdrop of confusion in which clients grappled with new customs procedures and co-ordinated a vast number of suppliers and transport companies to get goods through the border, help was needed – and quickly.

It’s not only goods that are affected. Service businesses are facing a whole host of new challenges too.

They range from needing to engage with 27 different immigration systems if companies want to provide fly-in/fly-out services in the EU (when employees need to work on the ground in different countries without relocating), to navigating new routes to have staff qualifications recognised, now that mutual recognition of professional qualifications has come to an end.

“With 27 sets of requirements to navigate across the EU,” said Amanda, “there’s not a full single market for services, which means it is a particularly complex area.”

End-to-end customs support

With an estimated extra 215 million customs declarations to be made by British traders every year, huge sums of money and valuable time are at stake for businesses who play a vital role in supporting the UK economy and jobs market.

“When you’re running a business the smooth transition of your goods from and into the UK couldn’t be more important,” said Richard Vitou, a partner in Deloitte’s Global Trade Bureau.

“Your goods not only need to arrive, but to arrive without delay, so it’s really important we work closely with our global network to make sure everyone is up to date with new customs formalities.”

Using technology, our customs specialists provide end-to-end customs support for clients - find out more about how they’re helping to simplify new UK customs procedures.

“By the end of the year, we will have supported businesses by filing over 100,000 customs declarations, keeping goods moving and supply chains resilient,” said Jeffrie Mann, director in Deloitte’s Global Trade Bureau.

For many businesses, there was hope that getting past the January 2021 deadline would feel like the finishing line, but there are still key changes to regulations that businesses need to keep on top of to ensure their products and services can continue to trade smoothly.

“There is a phasing in of the requirements in many areas,” said Deloitte’s director of trade and investment policy, Raoul Ruparel.

“For example, later in 2021, the full UK customs border will be introduced for imports from the EU and, at the start of next year, all products will have to switch from EU CE markings, a mark showing a product complies with relevant standards, to UKCA markings, which is the UK equivalent.”

With that in mind, here are a few tangible actions businesses can take to stay one step ahead.

  1. Stay up to date with the latest regulations
    It may seem obvious, but keeping up to date with the latest changes on regulations and planning ahead can save a lot of headaches. This is particularly important around the different ‘phasing-in’ periods.
  2. Know the rules of the country you are importing or exporting to
    Each country has a different approach to implementing customs rules so it’s important to know the specific rules that apply, particularly if you have a product, such as a car, with parts from different countries.
  3. Know your product
    Know exactly what it is you are moving across borders – and the origin of the materials it is made up of – as this will make filling in customs forms and dealing with any tricky issues much easier.
  4. Know what’s not included
    There are some issues not addressed by the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA). It’s important to know what these are, especially when providing a cross-border service, and what separate provisions could affect your business, for example on VAT. Remember that moving goods around during production can affect their designated origin status (according to the rules of origin) and they may suddenly be subject to tariffs.
  5. If in doubt, refer back to guidance
    The TCA has detailed reservations (where countries have reserved the right not to follow the core commitments) for each of the 27 EU member states, for example, when providing services across EU borders. The EU and UK government websites are continually updating their guidance, particularly for the rules around importing and exporting goods, so don’t forget to check these too.


Sunita Ghalley, PR assistant manager
+44 20 7007 6612 | Email Sunita