So, here we are, at the end of the “when are we leaving the EU?” saga. Last week, on the 31st January 2020 at 11pm the UK left the EU as a member and ‘Brexit’ was complete.

But the conversation does not stop there.

What does this mean for importing from the EU? What happens next? Well, Immediately, not a lot. The European Communities act was repealed on Friday, but then immediately reinstated and will remain for as long as we are in the now “post-Brexit transition period”. It’s business as usual for approximately 11 months, more negotiations whilst we go through the transitionary period with a possibility of more delays and extensions of said transitionary period. For Importers and/or Exporters who trade with EU members there are no immediate adjustments they need to make, no new custom procedures in place or tariffs to be applied. What happens after 11 months is dependent on what negotiations happen between the UK and the EU in that time. Key dates and what to look out for in this period we have highlighted below.

  • 23:00 31/01/2020 – The UK leaves the EU
  • A ‘transitionary’ period begins whilst the UK and the EU figure out their future relationship. In short, in this period not much changes – No extra customs requirements are needed for importing from EU members nor will any tariffs be applied. This ‘Transitionary’ period ends on 31/12/2020
  • 03/03/2020 – trade talks are expecting to commence/continue
  • 30/06/2020 – this is a deadline set for extending the transitionary period, if no extension is agreed before this date then the transitionary period will end on 31/12/2020
  • During this time, we will look out for key and clear agreements met between the EU and UK – specifically we will be looking at how customs and tariffs will be implemented, if at all, in any new trading relationship with the EU
  • 31/12/2020 – Assuming no extension is in place, the transitionary period will end. From here on out the UK’s new relationship with the EU begins. It may be very similar to the one we already have; it may be marginally different, or it may be a “no deal” scenario or something that takes the shape of tariff implementation and full customs procedures. Only time will tell, but as and when we understand how negotiations are shaping out, we will advise accordingly.

What to do if negotiations result in a “no deal” scenario or something similar

As we have been advising for the past 2 years, preparation for the worst outcome is always the best approach to have. In the case of the UK having a more cumbersome trading relationship with the EU, the main things to be prepared for are customs, bureaucracy, possible delays and possible tariffs. The best way to negate most of those changes and remove much of the headache involved is by partnering up with an experienced Freight Forwarder that knows Europe and it’s intricacies well and who does their own customs clearance in house – Much like Banks & Lloyd – in fact, if you have a bothersome Brexit customs conundrum then make sure to drop a message to out Brexit team using the form below and they will be back to you with reassurance ASAP.

Otherwise, whilst we separate the rhetoric from factual commentary, as and when the new negotiations develop and it becomes apparent what they mean for importers bringing in goods from the EU, we will advise accordingly