Trading with the UK
Last updated: 2 April 2019
Published: 28 February 2019
From: Department of the Taoiseach
- Goods: For all businesses trading with the UK
- Goods: For traders who may have VAT liabilities in the UK post-Brexit
- Goods: For traders trading in excisable products
- Goods: For traders importing animal or animal products
- Goods: For traders importing plants and plant products
- Goods: For traders importing certain food/drink products
- Goods: For traders exporting animals, animal products, plants, plant products, food and healthcare products
The final impacts of Brexit on trading arrangements with the UK are not yet clear. This is an issue that we are dealing with along with our EU partners as we all face this same challenge.
Currently goods move between Ireland and the UK without the requirement for customs declarations, sanitary or phytosanitary checks, routine customs checks, payment of customs duties and VAT. This is because we are both members of the EU and the Single Market.
In a no deal scenario, the UK would immediately become a ‘third country’ for trade and customs purposes and for a range of sanitary checks for live animals and animal products, phytosanitary checks for plants and plant products including wood packaging e.g. wood pallets. This means that if you import goods from, export goods to, or move goods through the UK post-Brexit, new rules would apply.
Avoiding the return of a hard border on this island is a Government priority in all circumstances. The best way to achieve that is in the negotiated EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement. Without that agreement, avoiding a hard border will be more challenging and will require detailed discussions between Ireland and the EU and, ultimately, with the UK. In that scenario the outcome, including practical arrangements for businesses, especially those in the border area and those trading across the border, will be made public as soon as possible.
Government is ensuring sufficient infrastructure, staffing and IT systems capacity at our ports and airports so that the changeover to any new arrangements is as efficient as possible. The preparations that your business undertakes will be a key part of this, ranging from submitting pre-declarations to ensuring accuracy of all relevant documentation.
As the transition to new systems is made, there may still be some delays at ports and airports for goods, particularly in the UK. Businesses are advised to build this risk into their supply chain for a time, including where they use the UK as a Landbridge to import and export to European markets. See the Transport and Logistics section for more information.
Currently, there are common customs duties that apply across all EU Member States. These are payable together with VAT (and excise duty if applicable) at the point of importation unless you have been approved for a Simplified Customs Procedure or have a deferred payment authorisation in place. In the event of a no deal scenario, these duties and VAT will become payable on goods imported from the UK. Due to a recent Government decision, there is now an option to postpone the payment of VAT and this will be available to VAT-registered businesses in the event of a no deal scenario. Likewise, for those exporting goods to the UK, these may become subject to customs formalities on importation in the UK. You are advised to contact the UK’s Revenue and Customs authority, the HMRC, for further detail.
If you trade with the UK, there are steps outlined below that you can take now to ensure that any potential disruptions to your business are reduced:
- Look at your supply chain (including raw ingredients) and assess how it will be impacted. You can read more about your supply chain here.
- If you trade with the UK, you will need a customs registration number, which is called an Economic Operators Registration and Identification number. This is a common reference number for interactions with customs authorities in EU Member States and is valid throughout the EU. You can get an EORI number using Revenue’s online services section.
- If you intend to customs clear and import goods in your own name into the UK, or trade online into the UK, you will have customs obligations and formalities to complete in the UK. You are advised to contact the UK’s Revenue and Customs authority, the HMRC for further detail.
- Make sure you understand the customs rules, procedures and obligations that will apply to you and your trade with and through the UK, post-Brexit. This includes classifying the goods that you import or export for customs purposes. You should also consider the implications of Rules of Origin, on your exports and imports. Businesses can sign up for Enterprise Ireland’s Customs Insights; this short online programme aims to give businesses a good understanding of the key customs concepts, documentation and processes required to succeed post-Brexit.
- Check if your products are transported using wood packaging or pallets and, if so, ensure that the wood is International Standard for Phytosanitary Measure No. 15 ISPM15 compliant.
- Decide how you will handle your customs formalities. These can be managed in-house or you can engage a customs broker or agent to act on your behalf. Either option requires planning and time.
- Talk to the business that moves your goods for you as they will need new information from you to avoid delays in moving goods to and through the UK. Incomplete or inaccurate information will lead to delays, which could cost you money.
- You will have to pay import duties (customs duty, VAT and excise) when you bring goods in from the UK. Plan for this from a cash flow point of view. Due to a recent Government decision, there is now an option to postpone the payment of VAT, which will be available to VAT-registered businesses in the event of a no deal scenario. However, customs duties must be paid at the point of entry for goods to be released unless you have been approved for a Simplified Customs Procedure or have a deferred payment authorisation in place. Likewise, for those exporting goods to the UK, these may become subject to customs formalities on importation in the UK. You are advised to contact the UK’s Revenue and Customs authority, the HMRC for further detail.
- Engage with any trade representative body of which you are a member. They can assist you in preparing for Brexit.
- Contact your local Chamber for information on Incoterms, an internationally recognised set of rules that are used in international and domestic contracts for the sale of goods, developed and maintained through the International Chamber of Commerce.
- The current excise movement procedures will no longer apply when the UK leave the EU.
- If you import exciseable products from the UK, you must pay any charges (customs duty, VAT, excise duty) due to enable the release of your goods unless these goods are destined for a Revenue approved tax warehouse immediately after importation. Due to a recent Government decision, there is now an option to postpone the payment of VAT which will be available to businesses in the event of a no deal scenario. However, any customs and/or excise duties must be paid at the point of entry to be released.
- If you export exciseable products to, or move them through the UK you or your agent must complete a customs declaration.
To protect human health, animal health and the environment, EU rules restrict the import of certain goods from third countries – for example, live animals and products of animal origin. Post-Brexit, goods coming from the UK will be subject to these EU rules. Therefore, you should undertake the following:
- The person responsible for importing the consignment must register with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine as well as on the EU’s Trade Control and Expert System (TRACES). You can register on TRACES by applying through the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
- Check on TRACES that the exporter in the UK is approved by the EU to export the category of product required by you.
- Make sure your transporter or haulier is in possession of the required EU authorisations.
- Ensure pre-notification of imports of live animals and animal products from the UK are submitted at least 24 hours before the consignment arrives at the point of entry.
- The person responsible for importing the consignment is also required to submit copies of the relevant health certificates and any other documentation required by EU legislation to an electronic mailbox at the same time as the TRACES document is completed.
- If you are importing wild caught fish or fishery products, you must have a Catch Certificate – see the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA) for further information. Where a Catch Certificate is required, you must give the SFPA at least 72 hours advance notice.
For further information, see the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine or contact your sectoral representative bodies.
To protect human health, plant health and the environment, EU rules restrict the import of certain goods from third countries including some plants, plant products and wood packaging. Post-Brexit, goods coming from the UK will be subject to these EU rules.
- Register as soon as possible with Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and the MarinePlant Health and Horticulture Division, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
- Ensure that your supplier is in a position to supply the appropriate documentation.
- Make sure your transporter or haulier is in possession of the required EU authorisations.
For further information on these requirements, see the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. Businesses are also advised to engage with their sector’s representative bodies who can provide guidance on preparing for Brexit.
Food products of non-animal origin are controlled at the point of entry to the EU and on the market by the HSE Environmental Health Service.
- Traders importing food products of non-animal origin into Ireland from the UK post-Brexit should check the relevant regulations to determine if increased controls and prior-notification of importation is required for a specific product. Products that were previously cleared by the UK for free circulation in the EU may now require controls in Ireland as the first point of entry to the EU. For further information, see the Food Safety Authority of Ireland and the European Commission.
- To minimise the risk of delay at place of importation, relevant documentation, properly and clearly completed, must be submitted to the HSE’s Environmental Health Service as early as possible. Products subject to increased official controls or emergency/safeguard measures must be notified to email@example.com with all required documents at least one working day prior to arrival.
Goods: For traders exporting animals, animal products, plants, plant products, food and healthcare products
For traders exporting animals, animal products, plants and/or plant products, food and/or healthcare products:
After the UK leaves the EU, the UK will determine its requirements for export certification.
While the overall situation remains uncertain, based on the UK Preparedness Notices published to date:
- Live animals and certain high risk animal products e.g. germinal products (ova, semen, embyros) will continue to require health certification
- In respect of animal products, pre-notification will be required by the UK.
- Plants and plant products will require a phytosanitary certificate in respect of each consignment. You need to register with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine to apply for this certificate.
- If you are exporting wild caught fish or fishery products, a Catch Certificate will be required – see Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority for further information.
For further information on this, see the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine or contact your sectoral representative bodies.
There are different conditions and restrictions for different sectors or businesses within the services area.
When the UK leaves the EU, EU law will no longer apply in the UK. This includes things like the Services Directive, which promotes shared high standards across the EU. Other key areas include recognition of qualifications, legal services, and intellectual property, all of which help to support services trade.
- You should consider your own course of action to prepare for a post-Brexit trading environment by looking at your reliance on the UK markets.
- You could consider whether you want to seek alternative service providers either in Ireland or elsewhere in the EU. If you provide services into the UK market, you need to consider your business model.
- You should consider the possible impact of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) may have on your business as the UK would be considered a third country for Data Protection purposes.
- Avail of supports available for businesses affected by Brexit. Find more information on the Programmes, Funds and Supports page.
Sign up to the Brexit Update Newsletter to receive regular information on Brexit by email.
Click here to return to the Brexit and Business page.