Date: 11.02.2021

Post-Brexit update ; Trading with the EU – import and export advice

Since the 1st January 2021, all European Union members are now a third country entity, which means the way you ship goods between the EU and UK has changed.

Under the new rules, UK firms doing business with the EU face new processes, paperwork and checks, as we have been advising on a daily basis for the last 12 months to our clients, while implementing compliant measures to ensure our preparedness for the current situation.

Customs declarations, product safety certificates, food inspections and rules of origin are all part of a new trading regime, that has already caused considerable disruption to trade crossing the Channel.

Rules of origin have turned out to be particularly serious and yet they weren’t mentioned much before January, with most attention given to the tariff-free and quota-free aspects of the trade agreement reached with the EU.

With many trade deals involving complex rules of origin requirements, the potential for getting it wrong are significant, as are the sanctions.


Usually issued/authenticated by the Chamber of Commerce, the EUR1 is an authenticating Certificate of Origin, that it is used for exporting goods to, or importing goods from the European Union.

In a recent development HMRC has confirmed to the British Chamber of Commerce that UK-EURs can only be raised for goods that are manufactured within the UK and qualify for preferential rates of duty.

Currently, form options state either ‘manufactured by exporter’ or ‘manufactured with the EU’.

In the short term, where goods are not manufactured by the exporter, but are manufactured within the UK, you will need to amend EU to read UK within that statement.

EU exports to the UK

If you import goods from the EU, you may want to review the following guide with your exporter, to ensure they understand and are compliant with the new processes.

To export goods from the European Union to the United Kingdom they will need to have an EORI number, which is a registration and identification number for businesses that want to import goods into or export out of the European Union.

To process an export consignment to the UK your exporter, or their customs agent (which can be Metro) need to submit an export declaration. The Customs Authority then approves the export, generating the Movement Reference Number (MRN), which is the primary reference for the shipment and should be shared with Metro immediately, so we can prepare import declarations and ensure the smooth transit of your goods to your warehouse in a fully compliant manner.

Exporting goods from the EU to a third country like the UK is not subject to VAT, providing the exporter can prove that the goods actually left the European Union.

If your supplier/ vendor arranges the export documentation, their broker will have received a Confirmation of Exit from the Customs Authority once the shipment left the European Union. This confirmation of exit is the proof they need to avoid paying VAT.

Metro are monitoring the cross-channel situation continuously and continue to submit customs transactions through our CuDoS system, which is increasingly optimised as regimes on both side of the Channel become more established.

The situation is changing weekly, if not quicker, and we are very close to these developments and will continue to share them with you and also the solutions we have implemented to ensure delays are avoided or reduced.

Please contact Andrew White, leading our customs and brokerage business unit, for further information and assistance.