After months… years… of debate, on Friday 31st January at 11pm London time the United Kingdom will leave the European Union. The UK will cease to be a Member State and become, in EU jargon, a ‘third country’.

From the moment we leave until 31st December 2020 the UK will be in a ‘transition’ or ‘implementation’ period. During this time there will be very little change. The UK remains part of the Single Market and in the Customs Union. EU law continues to apply and the UK remains bound by agreements between the EU and third countries.

Negotiations will then begin in March as to what the relationship will look like after 31st December 2020. The EU does not believe negotiations will be complete in just 11 months and it could be extended to 2021 or 2022. But the UK government says it will not extend.

So, what do I need to do now?

For businesses this will be a time to prepare. From 1 January 2021, the way you trade with the EU will change. You will need to make new customs arrangements, for instance customs declarations to import and export goods. HMRC will  provide information and guidance as things evolve during the negotiations.

First step is to make sure you have your Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number. You will need this to be able to submit customs declarations to move goods between the UK and the EU after the implementation period. The number should start with ‘GB’. If you already have it, keep it safe (click here if you have lost or forgotten it). If you don’t have one already you should register for one by clicking here. It is quick and easy to register and you’ll either get the number straight away or within 5 working days.

If you have any questions or need help preparing give us a call on 01332 292022.