By Ed Smith, freelance journalist.
On January 1st, Britain woke up to life outside of the European Union for the first time in several decades. This transition, while it hasn’t quite captured the attention of the news media in the same way as other world events, may have profound implications for those shipping to the trading bloc. So what’s actually going to change for those shipping to the EU? Let’s take a look.
Customs Declaration Forms
Goods passing between the UK and EU will now be treated as imports and exports, and require documentation in order to clear customs borders.
International couriers and shipping experts have warned customers to expect delays during the period immediately following the transition. Polling from the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply has backed this suspicion up. 185 supply chain managers were questioned, 37% of whom said that they had been delayed for several days. 27% cited Brexit paperwork as a significant hurdle; 11% pinpointed Covid-19.
Dr John Glen, a CIPS Economist, warned that: “Traffic through the border since January 1st has been low compared to historical levels, but with December stockpiles depleting it won’t be long before trade traffic increases and more pressure is placed on these new border processes.”
What information needs to be included?
Your customs forms will need to get across the name and address of both the sender and receiver, along with the physical details of the item (including its weight, quantity and value). You’ll need a UK EORI number, and, if you’re shipping to another business, their EORI number. Those sending packages to the EU will also need to present an eight-digit HS code.
If you’re used to shipping to non-EU territories, then many of these requirements will already be familiar to you.
Following the transition, those shipping to the EU will no longer need to pay VAT on their transactions. The person who receives the product will have to pay the VAT rate of the country they’re receiving it in. Each EU member state sets its own VAT rate, and they’re subject to occasional change. This is one of several respects in which EU member states will now be treated in the same way as the rest of the world, as far as UK couriers are concerned. EU rules prevent the rate of VAT in any member state from being less than 15%. Goods being shipped into the UK with a value of less than £135 will need to have their vat paid for by the shipper.
What about Northern Ireland?
Those sending parcels to Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK will still need to pay 20% VAT on every transaction. Such goods will be liable for export duties, and will require al of the information we’ve discussed above.
Ed Smith is freelance journalist with a strong interest in the world of aviation and logistics. After graduating with a degree in economics from Durham University, he went on to work in The City for a few years, before turning to researching and writing about upcoming trends in the industry for a number of publications.