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Brexit and its effects on customs clearance and on the trade with the United Kingdom

From 1 February 2020, the United Kingdom (UK) will no longer be a member of the European Union (EU). There will be a transitional period from 1 February to 31 December 2020 during which the EU law will continue to apply in the UK and in the UK. Thus, nothing will change for citizens and businesses until the end of the year.

On 29 March 2017, the United Kingdom submitted the notification of its intention to withdraw from the European Union (EU). On 29 October 2019, the EU Member States approved the extension of the UK's withdrawal from the EU for up to three months until 31 January 2020. During the transition period (from 1 February until 31 December 2020) free movement of goods will take place in trade between the European Union and the United Kingdom.

Additional information

Brexit and its effects on customs clearance


An agreement will be reached and a transition period will be applied

The Withdrawal Agreement will be accepted, the UK will withdraw from the EU, and the transition period will run until 31 December 2020.

During the transition period, the UK will be considered an EU country for the purposes of customs clearance, and the free movement of goods between the EU and the UK will continue until the end of the transition period.

Main consequences
  • The UK will become a non-EU country (a third country), but the free movement of goods between the UK and the EU will continue during the transition period until 31 December 2020. The rules, restrictions and other formalities applied to the trade between the EU and third countries will not be applied during the transitional period.
  • The obligation for customs clearance of goods moving between the UK and the EU will begin when the transition period is over.
     

The effects of Brexit on the trade with the UK – who should be prepared?


If no withdrawal agreement is reached, then:

  • all businesses, including small and medium-sized businesses, need to be prepared for Brexit. Businesses should, without delay, assess the consequences of Brexit for their operations.
  • the customs authorities of the EU Member States have to apply all rules and formalities concerning the trade between the EU and third countries on goods imported from the UK or exported to the UK.

Brexit is a particularly high challenge for businesses that only trade within the Single Market without borders. Businesses that are going to do business with the UK in the future will need to engage in procedures which are mandatory for trade with third countries. The businesses have to inform themselves on these matters and obtain information on what trade with non-EU countries means and on the necessary requirements for bringing products from third countries into the Union Single Market.

If your business does not yet have an EORI number required for customs clearance, we recommend to request it from the Estonian Tax and Customs Board in good time.
EORI number check
Economic operators registration (EORI) »

In the following, we will draw attention to some of the most important aspects of trade with third countries:

The number of customs formalities increases, which means that businesses must present more documents and submit more information to customs authorities.
 

Additional information


Country codes

The United Kingdom (UK, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) is, for the time being, one of the Member States of the European Union (EU). UK’ is not an official country code for customs declarations.

England, Scotland and Wales constitute Great Britain (GB). GB is part of the UK. ‘GB’ is the official country code for customs declarations.

Northern Ireland is part of the UK but not of Great Britain. Northern Ireland does not have a separate country code, so ‘GB’ is the official country code for customs declaration.

Travelling

Travellers should be prepared that when travelling to the UK, the same restrictions, provisions and value limits on duty free imports will apply as when arriving from a non-EU country. Read more in our instructions for travellers: "Travelling from non-EU countries".

Online shopping

The negotiations between the EU and the UK of the Withdrawal Agreement are ongoing. When ordering goods online, one should be prepared that orders made from the UK will be cleared through customs and taxed, like online purchases from non-EU countries, such as China or the USA. More detailed information can be found from instructions for declaring goods purchased online: "Consignments from outside the European Union".

05.02.2020