The UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) came into effect on 1 January 2021. GB imports from the EU have permanently changed under the UK-EU TCA, with new customs processes, administration and checks. Businesses will need to ensure they have adjusted to the significant changes this brings to their operations.
The guidance on this page represents the information currently available from government. The CBI will update this page as new information is released.
Key challenges for business
How will the rules for importing from the EU to GB change under the UK-EU TCA?
Zero tariffs and quotas on goods
- The UK and the EU agreed to zero tariff and zero quota trade on goods, meaning that businesses will not face costly tariffs. However, to qualify for tariff-free access, firms will need to ensure goods meet Rules of Origin requirements as set out in the treaty, ensuring these goods meet the ‘local’ qualification criteria.
Customs and trade facilitation
The government introduced a new staged approach to imports that became effective from 1 January 2021. While there will still be considerable changes that importers will need to adjust to, the Border Operating Model introduces some of the most significant changes in stages:
October 2021 (originally April 2021):
- Pre-notification requirements for Products of Animal Origin (POAO), certain animal by-products (ABP), and High Risk Food Not Of Animal Origin (HRFNAO)
- Export Health Certificate requirements for POAO and certain ABP will come into force on the same date.
January 2022 (originally July 2021):
- Extending the option for business to use deferred declarations for up to 6 months after the goods have been imported until Jan 2022
- Safety and Security Declarations
- Physical SPS checks for POAO, certain ABP, and HRFNAO will not be required until 1 January 2022. At that point they will take place at Border Control Posts.
March 2022 (originally July 2021):
- From March 2022, checks at Border Control Posts will take place on live animals and low risk plants and plant products.
After this, the trading conditions will default to the UK-EU TCA where:
- The agreement will require customs declarations and paperwork for businesses to process the movement of goods.
- It also provides for mutual recognition of the Authorised Economic Operator – Safety & Security scheme, allowing for streamlined customs procedures for traders already registered.
- Sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) border checks will be required for trade of live animals and products of animal origin, meaning that agri-food traders will be met with extra costs and burden when looking to export their products.
Rules of Origin
- Access to the zero tariffs and quotas will however depend on whether the goods meet the Rules of Origin required in the agreement to qualify as ‘local’. This will mean that businesses will have to identify the full origin of their goods as well as provide additional paperwork in order to qualify.
- However, the EU and UK have jointly agreed additional flexibility in the following ways:
- The UK’s staged import controls under the Border Operating Model mean that full declarations for goods that are not on the controlled list do not need to be made for the first six months.
- For UK-EU trade, until 31 December 2021, businesses do not need supplier’s declarations from business suppliers in place when the goods are exported. Businesses may be asked to retrospectively provide a supplier’s declaration after this date.
You can read more detail on Rules of Origin in the UK government guidance.