Home / Lobbying & Government Relations / Exiting the EU / Brexit: Trading with the EU from 1st January 2021

Government Guidance

UKFT is in close contact with the government as the negotiations with the EU on a Free Trade Agreement continue.

However, even if a deal is concluded before the end of the Transition Period, how goods are moved to and from the EU will be very different and companies should be prepared for major changes.

EORI Number

One of the most important things for companies to do now is to obtain an EORI number. Without one you won’t be able to trade with the EU. You also need to make sure your customers have an EORI number or register for your own EU EORI number.

Apply for a UK EORI

Apply for an EU EORI

N.B. Persons not established in the customs territory of the Community should request the assignment of the EORI number to the customs authorities of the EU country responsible for the place where they first lodge a declaration or apply for a decision.

Government Guidance

The UK Government has issued a wide range of guidance on preparing for trading with the EU after the Transition Period. There are links detailed below.

The government guidance is generic and in some cases is not particularly detailed. There is also repetition across some of the guidance.

The guidance will apply irrespective of whether a deal is completed.

Trading under World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules – how to trade with other countries from 1 January if there is no UK trade agreement:  Guidance has been updated to reflect the latest information about trading under WTO rules from 1 January 2021 if no trade agreement exists between the UK and another country. For more information, click here.

VAT Update

Claim VAT refunds from EU countries from 1 January 2021: Claiming VAT refunds from EU member states from 1 January 2021.  – The date you can amend and view refund claims has been updated


VAT and overseas goods sold directly to customers in Great Britain from 1 January 2021. How sellers will deal with VAT for goods from overseas that they sell direct to customers in Great Britain from 1 January 2021.

VAT and overseas goods sold to customers in Great Britain using online marketplaces from 1 January 2021 : How online marketplaces will deal with VAT for goods from overseas that are sold to customers in Great Britain from 1 January 2021.

Personal data management and protection from 1 January 2021

Using personal data in your business or other organisation after the transition period: Crucial information on managing  personal data flows, with further information on data protection for organisations found here; guidance specifically for SMEs here and a useful interactive tool for EEA-UK data flows here

A reminder that personal data is any information that can be used to identify a living person, including names, delivery details, IP addresses, or HR data such as payroll details. Most organisations use personal data in their daily operations. An example of this is a UK company that receives customer information from an EU company, such as names and addresses, to provide goods or services. Read more here.

Help and support if your business trades with the EU: Page updated to add link to the EU Transition Trader and Industry Online Forum launched by the Border and Protocol Delivery Group today. The Forums, categorised by subject, allow you to ask questions about the preparations you need to make. You will need to register here to access the forums.


Access2Markets is the new portal for EU exporters and importers to find detailed information on:

  • tariffs
  • rules of origin
  • product requirements
  • customs procedures and formalities
  • VAT/excise duties/sales taxes
  • Trade barriers
  • trade statistics


Access2Markets should hopefully be helpful both to UK-based businesses trading with the EU, as well as EU based trading partners.

New guidance on preparing for the end of the transition period if you work in the consumer goods sector. For more information about the 13-point checklist to understand what you need to do before 1 January 2021, click here.

Consumer goods

New guidance on preparing for the end of the transition period if you work in the creative industries sector. For more information about the 6-point checklist to understand what you need to do before 1 January 2021, click here.

Creative Industries

Border Operation Model

Provides further detail on how the GB-EU border will work and the actions that traders, hauliers and passengers need to take

Placing Manufactured goods on the EU Market from 1st January 2021

What companies need to do to comply with regulations on manufactured goods sold in the EU from 1st January 2021.

Placing goods on the market in Great Britain from 1st January 2021

What companies need to do to comply with regulations on manufactured goods sold in Great Britain from 1st January 2021.

Moving your goods to the EU or Common Transit countries

If you’re using Union and Common Transit you’ll need to prepare your goods and plan your route. You also need to check how to complete the different declarations you’ll need.

Changes to Unregistered Design Protection

Guidance for companies that have unregistered Community designs

Reach Chemical Compliance

How to comply with the Reach regulations in the EU and the UK.

Using the UKCA Mark from 1st January 2021

Find out if you will need to use the new UKCA mark

CE Marking for goods sold in the EU by UK companies

Meeting the CE requirements in the EU after 1st January 2021

Moving Goods to Northern Ireland Parts 1-3

The Northern Ireland Protocol was agreed to avoid a hard border with Ireland. There will be special provisions which apply only in Northern Ireland while the Protocol is in force.

Trader Support Service

The free-to-use Trader Support Service will support businesses with the changes to Northern Ireland trade which take effect on 1 January 2021. The service will provide guidance and training, a digital service to support declarations, and support from customs experts.

The Trader Support Service is open to traders, intermediaries and carriers moving goods into and out of Northern Ireland.

The UK’s Global External Tariff

Check what tariffs there might be on product coming into the UK.

The EU’s Common External Tariff

Check what tariff you might have to pay when selling to the EU (the database doesn’t currently include the UK so use the USA or Australia as an example)

Customs Procedures Codes

Details of the tariff and customs procedure codes

Importing from the EU

Getting your business ready for goods coming into the UK

VAT Refunds from EU countries

Advice on how to reclaim VAT from EU countries

UK Government List of Customs Agents

List of customs agents and fast parcel operators that should be ready to deal with the new customs procedures.

Trading with Non-EU countries from 1 January 2021: How you import from and export to the following countries will change from 1 January 2021.  Click on the links below for further details: 

UKFT will update this page as soon as new information becomes available. We will provide more detailed guidance on what these changes mean for UK fashion and textile businesses for UKFT members. To find out more about becoming a UKFT member, contact info@ukft.org