EU business: importing from the UK
Find out what EU businesses need to do to import from the UK.
This page sets out what EU businesses who are importing from the UK need to consider. Check with your EU country’s customs authority about the rules for bringing goods from the UK into the EU.
For more EU business information, visit gov.uk/eubusiness.
Buying or selling goods
Rules have changed and there are border requirements placed on the movement of goods between the EU and UK. Find out more about how the border with the UK will work.
Make sure you talk to your trading partners in the UK to:
- agree responsibilities
- make sure you have the correct paperwork for the type of goods you are trading
You must make sure you have completed the necessary border requirements.
There will be no substantive change for the movement of goods between Northern Ireland and member states of the EU, including Ireland.
Transporting goods from the UK to the EU
Hauliers and haulier managers must:
- use the ‘check an HGV’ service
- follow new traffic management processes at ports to avoid delays
- check you have the paperwork you need to cross the border between Great Britain and the EU via the Port of Dover or Eurotunnel.
Fines of £300 could be issued if you do not use the ‘Check an HGV service’ when travelling through Kent ports, or if you provide a fraudulent declaration.
Full guidance is available in the haulier handbook.
Several EU countries have introduced COVID-19 testing requirements for returning hauliers. The rules are different in each country. Check the rules before you travel and take the necessary action.
To avoid delays, you can get tested at an advice site before entering Kent or travelling to other Channel crossing points. Find your nearest advice site.
For further information, consult guidance on carrying out international road haulage.
Check import procedures with your country’s customs authority
Businesses in Europe will need to make customs declarations when moving goods between the UK and the EU. If European businesses have not completed the right customs processes their goods will not be able to cross the EU border.
You must check with your country’s customs authority what customs procedures will need to be applied for bringing goods from the UK to the EU.
The UK and EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement establishes zero tariffs or quotas on trade between the EU and the UK, where goods meet the relevant rules of origin.
Importing animals and animal products
Imports of animal and animal products from Great Britain to the EU must comply with new Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) requirements. This includes being checked at an EU Border Control Post on entry.
The EU importer must notify the Border Control Post that the consignment is arriving. They should upload a copy of the Export Health Certificate (EHC) that was sent from the GB exporter using the online platform TRACES NT.
Find out more about importing animal products from Great Britain to the EU.
Bringing food and drink into EU countries
Passengers (including business travellers and hauliers) must not take products nof an animal origin (POAO) such as meat, milk or products containing them into EU countries. There are some exceptions, for example certain quantities of powdered infant milk, infant food, or special processed pet feed.
Check the rules about taking food and drink into the EU on the European Commission website.
Importing plants and plant products
Imports of plants, fruit and vegetables from Great Britain to the EU must comply with new Phytosanitary requirements. Almost all plants and plant products, including fruits, vegetables, flowers, and seeds, require a phytosanitary certificate to be brought into the EU. The exceptions to this are bananas, coconuts, dates, pineapples, and durians, which can be brought into the EU without a certificate. Find out more in the European Commission guidance on plant biosecurity.
Regulated plant and plant products imports may be subject to checks at the EU border. If you import plants, fruit and vegetables from Great Britain, you should:
- check whether a phytosanitary certificate (PC) is required by contacting the plant health authority in Great Britain or a plant health inspector in your country
- apply for a PC via your exporter from the relevant plant health authority in Great Britain before export
- check if your plants require laboratory testing of samples (to ensure they are free from pests and diseases) or inspections during the growing season and allow for sufficient time for this to occur
Find out more about importing plants and plant products.
Importing fish from Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales)
From 1 January 2021, you will need to follow your own country’s rules and guidelines.
You must make sure the UK exporter supplies a catch certificate.
You may also need to make sure your UK exporter provides:
- direct landing documents
- a storage document if the product has been stored
- a processing statement if the product has been processed
Find out more about importing fish from Great Britain.
F gas and ODS regulation
You must comply with export and import requirements under the fluorinated gas (f gas) and ozone depleting substances (ODS) regulations when exporting to and importing from Great Britain.
The EU F gas and ODS regulations and systems will continue to apply in Northern Ireland so Northern Ireland based businesses can continue trading with the EU/EEA as they already do.
Find out how to comply with the F-gas Regulations.
Importing controlled goods
EU businesses importing controlled goods from the UK will need a licence from the relevant licensing authority.
Check the guidance and take action to have the right licences.
You need to carry out due diligence when importing and exporting timber.
If you trade chemicals you must review your role in the EU and UK REACH systems and comply with the rules to maintain access to the UK market.
EU REACH will continue to apply in Northern Ireland so Northern Ireland based businesses can continue trading with the EU/EEA as they already do.
Find out how to comply with REACH chemical regulations.
Wood packaging material
If you use, produce or supply wood packaging material (WPM) to move goods from Great Britain to the EU, you must make sure it meets ISPM15 international standards. Wood packaging material includes packing cases, boxes, crates, drums and similar containers, pallets, box pallets, pallet collars and other load boards, and dunnage (loose wood used to protect goods and their packaging).
You must make sure that you, your packing service or freight forwarder, uses solid wood packaging that meets requirements to avoid having your goods held at the border. Any wood packaging material may be checked at the border or inland premises to make sure it meets the necessary requirements. If your imports don’t comply with these rules then:
- the wood packaging material could be rejected or destroyed
- you will need to make alternative arrangements for the transport of goods
Contact your supplier or, if based in the UK, the Timber Packaging and Pallet Confederation (TIMCON) if you need more advice on transporting wood packaging material.
Last updated 26 February 2021 – hide all updates
Updated sections on wood packaging material, importing animals, importing animals, bringing food into the EU and transporting goods.
Updated to make it clear that the UK and EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement establishes zero tariffs or quotas on trade between the EU and the UK, where goods meet the relevant rules of origin.
Added translations for Dutch, French, German, Italian, Polish and Spanish
Added the section on transporting goods from the UK to the EU.