What’s New This Month?

Since the 31st of January 2020, when the United Kingdom officially left the EU, we have been in a Transition Period. During this period, as the UK has continued to apply Union law, most of us will have noticed very little change in terms of how we live or do business, however, this Transition Period comes to an end at 11pm on the 31st of December 2020, and this time round, any extensions have been ruled out. Negotiating between the two governments continue and there has been a noticeable increase in enquiries around Brexit planning in the last few weeks likely caused by the UK government decision to seek to pass the Internal Market Bill in Parliament.

 So what next?

Whilst it is clear that there is some disagreement at the moment between the UK and EU in terms of any future relationship; trade talks between the two negotiating parties are continuing to take place behind the scenes and both sides have stated publicly that they remain committed to trying to reach agreement on a trade agreement and also, to resolving the issues that currently exist around the implementation of the NI Protocol.

For many businesses across Northern Ireland, the focus now is very much on how trading will change for them on the 1st of January 2021, and as a result, what they need to do in preparation for these changes.

So, what can businesses in NI do now to prepare for the end of the Transition Period?

Trader Support Service (TSS)

The UK government recently announced its intention to establish a new   Trader Support Service, providing advice and guidance for Northern Ireland businesses on all import processes, including the handling of digital important and safety and security declarations, which will be required as a result of the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol from the 1st of January 2021. Northern Ireland companies wishing to avail of this service can register their interest by downloading the questionnaire   here, completing it and then emailing the completed form back to   hmrctraders@hmrc.gov.uk  .

EORI Number

If you are not already in receipt of a UK EORI number – most VAT registered businesses who have traded previously outside of NI will already have been assigned theirs – we recommend that you also apply now for one, as you will need this for moving goods into Northern Ireland from January next year. Your EORI number will also provide you with your unique identification when using the new TSS system. The application process takes only a few minutes and can be started   here.

HSS Commodity Codes

You’re unlikely to ever have been asked for a commodity code before, unless you have moved goods into or out of Europe and have needed to provide information for a customs form. Going forward, expect to find that a request for a HS or commodity code becomes a much more regular occurrence. A HS code is a multipurpose international product classification that describes the type of good that is shipped and is a requirement by customs officers to clear every commodity that enters or crosses international borders. To start, you can contact your supplier to find out the relevant commodity codes for the items you purchase for your business – raw materials or stock – should be your supplier, but if they aren’t able to help, you can get some guidance   here on hard to classify goods. It would also be good practice to double check the codes are correct. The relevant Tariff schedule for movements into Northern Ireland from January 2021 will depend on where those goods originate from and/or whether those goods are likely to end up in the EU single market. 

We appreciate that there’s lots to take in here so start now and take it one step at a time.

There is support available via the   Brexit Advisory Service

You can get informed here whilst finding loads of great and free digital information which will help keep you up to date on all new Brexit developments including more information on customs, supply chain, and people –  https://brexit2020.intertradeireland.com/   And, eligible “cross-border” businesses can also apply for 100% financial support towards tailored professional advice for their business  here.

Get Brexit Ready with InterTradeIreland.