The UK withdrew from the EU at the end of January 2020. From the beginning of February there is a transition period that lasts until the end of the year 2020.
During the transition period, the current rules continue to be in place as if the UK were still a member of the EU. The EU and the UK will negotiate their future relationship during 2020. Due to the tight negotiation schedule, some sectors may fall outside the scope of the agreement in the beginning of 2021. Businesses in particular should be prepared for this possibility. Negotiations on the future relationship between the UK and the EU are still ongoing. Finnish Customs will release further information on the matter when the negotiations have progressed.
Regardless of what kind of agreement the EU and the UK will negotiate, all goods imported or exported between the parties after the transition period must be cleared through Customs. All goods must be cleared, also when no customs duty is imposed. This will cause considerable extra costs and more bureaucracy for companies trading with the UK.
After the transition period provided in the Brexit withdrawal agreement
The withdrawal agreement between the EU and the UK entered into force on 1 February 2020. The withdrawal agreement dismantles all cooperation based on the UK’s EU membership in an orderly manner and provides for a transition period until the end of 2020, during which the relationship between the EU and the UK will continue under the current EU rules. The UK will become a third country, but the free movement of goods between the UK and the EU will continue during the transition period until 31 December 2020. The rules, restrictions and other formalities applied to the trade between the EU and third countries will not yet during the transition period be applied to the trade between the EU and the UK. After the end of the transition period provided in the withdrawal agreement, all businesses, including small and medium size businesses, should prepare for Brexit. Businesses should, without delay, assess the consequences of Brexit for their operations.
On 9 July 2020, the Commission published a communication providing an overview of the main areas of change that will take place in any event as of the end of the transition period, whether there is an agreement on a future partnership between the European Union and the United Kingdom or not. The Commission also published a guidance note on 14 July 2020, with information about the consequences of the ending of the Brexit transition period, regarding for example proofs of origin for products, matters regarding authorisation and registration and customs clearance, as well as the implementing principles for different customs procedures at the time when the transit period ends and after that.
Brexit is a particularly high challenge for businesses which until now have only operated within the Single Market. Businesses that are going to trade with the UK in the future will need to engage in customs clearance procedures which are mandatory in trade with third countries. Businesses have to acquaint themselves with these matters and obtain information on the requirements concerning trade with non-EU countries, and on the criteria that third country products must meet before they can be imported to the internal EU market.
Brexit and its effects on customs clearance
The withdrawal agreement between the EU and the UK contains provisions on the transition period arrangements concerning, for example, the free movement of goods between the EU and the UK. In the withdrawal agreement protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland, it is established that Northern Ireland is a part of the customs territory of the United Kingdom and that there will be no customs formalities at the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.
The UK has been granted an extension to Brexit.
Matters to be observed include:
- Customs declarations and related authorisations granted by customs authorities
- Customs tariffs and possible customs duties: Commodity code
- Sanitary and phytosanitary controls
- Controls for ensuring product conformity: Import control of product safety and conformity
- Import and export prohibitions and restrictions: Manual on restrictions (in Finnish)
- preferential treatment based on origin (how the rules of origin are applied and how proof of the origin of products is provided): Preferential treatment in export, Preferential treatment in import
There will be more customs formalities, which means that businesses must present more documents and submit more information to Customs.
Future relationship between the EU and the UK
The EU and the UK will negotiate their future relationship during 2020. The EU and the UK are meant to agree on for example cooperation arrangements. The aim is for the future relationship to enter into force once the transition period is over in the beginning of 2021. Further information on the future relationship will be provided later as the negotiations proceed.
More information about the withdrawal agreement, the transition period and the future relationship can be found on the website of the Prime Minister’s Office.
If a company is registered for VAT in Finland, VAT will be declared to the Finnish Tax Administration with a monthly VAT return, as in intra-EU trade. If a company is not registered for VAT as a business operator with the Finnish Tax Administration, VAT will be levied by Finnish Customs. VAT on goods ordered by private persons from outside the EU is always levied by Finnish Customs.
Yes, your company must have an EORI number. Importers and exporters will need an EORI number issued by Customs for trade with non-EU countries, which will include the UK after 1 January 2021.
An electronic export declaration must be submitted for the export goods to the ELEX system of Finnish Customs. The export invoice will be archived by the company.
It depends on the trade agreement to be concluded between the EU and the UK.
It will be treated like any other Union country.
Yes and no. Statistics on the trade with Northern Ireland (country code XI) is collected with Intrastat declarations as of 1/2021. Statistics on the trade with Great Britain (country code XU) is collected with customs declarations as of 1/2021. For trade with the UK (country code GB), Intrastat declarations should be submitted up until the statistical period 12/2020.
If the combine harvester is loaded onto a seagoing vessel authorised to operate a regular shipping service, you will not have to pay customs duty, because goods transported on such vessels keep their Union status. If the combine harvester is loaded onto a non-regular shipping service vessel, customs duty will be levied in Finland.
Because the transport has begun before the day of Britain’s exit from the EU, the consignment will be treated as Union goods when it arrives in Finland. The shoes do not need to be cleared through customs and no VAT has to be paid.
- The United Kingdom (UK) withdrew from the European Union (EU) on 31 January 2020. The United Kingdom consist of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. UK is not an official country code for customs declarations. The official country code of UK is GB with Intrastat declarations until the end of 2020, and this code will continue to be used for transit goods also in 2021.
- England, Scotland and Wales constitute Great Britain (GB). The official country code of Great Britain as of 1 January 2021 is XU for customs declarations.
- Northern Ireland is part of the UK but not of Great Britain. The official country code of Northern Ireland as of 1 January 2021 is XI with Intrastat declarations.
- Gibraltar is not part of the internal market of the EU. The official country code of Gibraltar is GI for customs declarations.
Information on the European Commission’s website:
- Getting ready for the end of the transition period
- Withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EU
- Market Access Database: Information on trade with third countries
- Brexit: Situation, negotiations and preparedness
Information on the European Council’s website
Information on websites of other authorities:
- Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland
- Finnish Tax Administration
- Prime Minister's Office
- GOV.UK: How to prepare if the UK leaves the EU with no deal
- Brexit in the Dutch ports