Guidance for businesses on Brexit

Advice and support online

You can find extensive Brexit advice and guidance on the GOV.UK website covering:

  • Importing and exporting
  • Providing services to the European Union
  • Transporting goods to the European Union

Guidance for UK businesses exporting goods to the EU

  • You must declare any goods you send to the EU, providing details about what you are sending and what it's worth using a customs declaration form. You can get a customs intermediary to help you do this. Please see the 'Get someone to deal with customs for you' guidance on the GOV.UK website.

  • If you are sending goods using a fast parcel operator or express courier, they declare the goods for you using the information you provide. Small businesses who aren't looking to get a contract with a customs agent may find this option beneficial.

  • If you are sending goods by post valued at £900 or less, Royal Mail give you a customs declaration sticker to fill in and attach to the parcel. For goods worth more than £900, Royal Mail submit the customs declaration for you, using the information you provide.

  • You need an Export Health Certificate (EHC) to export food or drink that contains products of animal origin such as meat, dairy or eggs. Please see the 'Export or move food, drink and agricultural products' guidance on the GOV.UK website.

  • The Department for International Trade's Check How to Export Goods online tool on the GOV.UK website has information on the UK border and duties and customs procedures for over 160 markets around the world.

  • There is VAT guidance on the GOV.UK website about the conditions for zero rating VAT on the goods you export, and what you should do when you export goods in specific circumstances.

  • There's a range of information and support available to help you make sure you are following the new rules including the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) One Stop Shop (opens PDF).

  • You can call HMRC's Customs and International Trade Helpline and speak to an advisor on 0300 322 9434. The helpline is open from 8am to 10pm Monday to Friday and from 8am to 4pm at weekends. You can also send questions via the HMRC imports and exports webchat service.

Moving goods into, out of, or through Northern Ireland

  • Northern Ireland Protocol guidance - you should refer to this if you move goods into, out of or through Northern Ireland. View the Northern Ireland Protocol guidance on the GOV.UK website.

  • Trader Support Service (TSS) on the GOV.UK website - this free UK Government-backed service guides you through any changes you need to make and can complete customs declarations on your behalf. The TSS also offers a comprehensive range of education materials including online training, webinars and 'how to' guides.

  • Movement Assistance Scheme (MAS) on the GOV.UK website- free support, including a dedicated helpline, is available for traders and businesses moving animals, plants and associated products from Great Britain to Northern Ireland. MAS also means that traders will not need to pay health certification costs, which will be met by the UK Government.

Food labelling and compositional changes from October 2022

From 1 October 2022, pre-packaged food or caseins sold in Great Britain must include a UK address for the Food Business Operator (FBO). If the FBO is not in the UK, include the address of your importer, based in the UK.

The address needs to be a physical address where your business can be contacted by mail. You cannot use an email address or phone number.

Products affected include bread and flour, imported spreadable fats, honey blends, mincemeat and fruit curds, and meat products. For further information, visit the food standards: labelling and composition page on the GOV.UK website.

Origin labelling on certain products of animal origin will also need to be amended to reflect the UK is no longer part of the EU. For further information, please read the food labelling: country of origin guidance on the GOV.UK website.

Cosmetic importers and manufacturers advice - implication from Brexit

Submit a Cosmetic Product Notification

Prior to leaving the EU, the placing on the market of cosmetic products required information about the cosmetic to be notified to the European Commission through the Cosmetic Product Notification Portal (CPNP).

From 1 January 2021, if you are a Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) business and place cosmetics on the GB market, you are no longer required to use the EU notification portal. You now have a duty to notify all cosmetic products placed on the GB market onto the new UK Government Portal - the SCPN (Submit a Cosmetic Product Notification).

Visit the GOV.UK website for further details and to gain access to the SCPN.

Responsible Person and product labels

Product labels must have a UK Responsible Person name and address. Previously, businesses who brought cosmetic products into the UK from an EU member state in most cases were classed as the 'distributor' but are now classed as the 'importer'. The importer of a cosmetic product, whether from the EU or another country, is the Responsible Person by default.

Where you continue to supply Northern Ireland (NI) and / or EU market, you will need an established address or a formal relationship with an Authorised Representative (Responsible Person) in NI or the EU and must still notify products onto the EU CPNP.

The Office for Product Safety and Standards has published further information on the changes. Visit the GOV.UK website for guidance on the Cosmetic Products Enforcement Regulations 2013.

Bespoke Trading Standards advice on Brexit

Our Trading Standards service can provide you with specific regulatory advice in relation to Brexit on the following matters:

  • The requirements placed on businesses who previously brought goods in from the EU and are now regarded as 'importers' and not 'distributors'. This requires these businesses to have additional labelling, checks and procedures in place. Some of these measures came into effect on 1 January 2021. Please note on the GOV.UK website there is guidance in relation to importing goods and guidance on importing animal products, high risk food and feed not of animal origin.

  • The requirements placed on businesses who previously sold goods in the EU but are now regarded as 'third country suppliers' (including those who supply food of animal origin). Again, this requires such businesses to put in place additional checks, labelling and procedures and some of the requirements came into effect on 1 January 2021.

  • The special requirements that apply to goods sold or supplied within Northern Ireland.

  • The safety compliance requirements placed on UK manufacturers producing products for the consumer market in terms of labelling, testing and registration of certain products.
  • The requirements placed on those importing animal product into the UK

Please complete our business advice online form to get in touch with our business advice service. There is a charge of £72 per hour plus VAT for our advice, but we will give you an estimate of the cost of the advice you need before proceeding so that you have the choice as to whether to proceed or not.

You can also read more about our advice services on our advice for business page.

If your business needs assistance or specific regulatory advice with regards to marketing and placing products on the market, please contact Trading Standards using our business advice online form.