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Gloucestershire Business News

Business West urges companies to get ready for Brexit

With weeks to go until the end of the transition period, businesses across the South West are facing uncertainty about what type of deal - if any - will be reached between the UK and EU.

And then they need to discover the exact impact it will have.

A recent Business West survey found 45 per cent of businesses were optimistic or very optimistic about the future.

So, what can companies do to avoid unnecessary costs and delays when importing from or exporting to the EU after Brexit?

Get prepared for customs declarations

One of the most crucial ways you can prepare for the end of the transition period is to ensure you have organised how your company is going to complete customs declarations.

This can be a complicated process and you will need trained staff to understand how to do this accurately and efficiently.

While Business West has capacity to help new businesses who need support with customs declarations, spaces are filling up quickly and firms must keep in mind that agents and brokers have limited resources.

Our customs declarations service, delivered by our export documentation team with years of experience in international trade, will ensure your goods are exported or imported on time without delays or the risk of extra costs.

While the majority of businesses will organise for an intermediary to support them, if you would like to submit customs declarations yourself, we offer training on everything you need to know to do this accurately.

Make sure you have an EORI number

Companies will need an EORI number which starts with GB to move goods in or out of the UK.

The majority of businesses should have already received this, but if you have not, you can apply here.

Check VAT conditions

Businesses will also need to consider whether they should register for VAT in the countries they are trading with.

If you are importing from the EU, you can check which import duties will apply here.

You may be able to charge customers VAT at zero per cent (known as zero rate) when your export goods to the EU after January 1. You can check if you can zero rate your goods here.

Make sure you have the right commodity codes

To complete import customs declarations, you will need to know the commodity codes for your goods.

They will also be needed for HMRC to work out the duty and VAT.

If you don't know them, you can look them up here.

Licences or special requirements

It is important to check if there are any new rules surrounding exporting your goods - whether they need a licence, certificate or different labelling for example.

For most controlled goods such as chemicals, food and drink or animals, there will be additional documents or certificates and processes that you will need to follow.

Companies can access Business West's guide to importing and learn about the requirements for exporting.

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