What does Brexit mean for Export Documentation?

As we have moved towards Brexit, businesses have become increasingly concerned about getting their goods to market and what challenges may come as a result. Despite the uncertainty, many exporters have continued to drive their business forward and address the various elements of ‘red tape’ that have been imposed upon them following the nation’s majority decision to exit the European Union.

One element of the red tape involved with Brexit and future export provision is always about the paperwork needed to get goods from the UK to ever expanding markets around the world. The Chamber network (Issuing Bodies) have provided export documentation services for many years, supporting the Department of International Trade to assist in the development of the UK economy through exports. This will continue beyond the transition period.

Of the key export documents, exporters benefit from being able to obtain EC Certificates of Origin. Also, as a member of the EU, the UK has received the competitive advantages brought by the EUR1 and ATR to gain reduced or nil duty rates when trading with some countries who have a free trade agreement with the EU. However, changes are afoot…

At present, DIT have advised the British Chambers of Commerce that the Chamber network should continue to issue EC Certificates of Origin until the end of any transition period, currently 31st December 2020. Beyond that date we can expect to see a UK Certificate of Origin and it’s anticipated that Chambers of Commerce will also transition to this format from 1st January 2021 if the Brexit transition period runs to its expected timeline.

HMRC have also advised that during the transition period all preference documents (EUR1s, ATRs, etc) will continue to be issued as they are today. The UK Government have intimated their position to the EU and expect that they will communicate this to its member states and to countries with whom the EU has trade agreements, once the Withdrawal Agreement has concluded its passage through parliament. This can only serve to enable a smoother transition period and minimise the impact on UK and EU based businesses during this time.

In terms of preferential documents, exporters should note that around 50 of the existing free trade agreements that the EU has with third countries have been agreed in principle to continue with the UK after exiting the EU. As a result, it is expected that UK Government will put in place a similar style of document to the EUR1. This will enable the UK to maintain a common level of regulatory alignment that puts us in a good position with those third-party countries for preferential trade. Any updates in this regard will be shared by the Chamber Network in due course, and exporters can expect the usual continued delivery of any new preference documents after the transition period.

The British Chambers of Commerce remain concerned that border agencies in importing countries may be unaware of the transition arrangements, which could bring challenges around their acceptance of EU preference documents. In those instances, exporters should report any instances of documents being refused by any country so that we can address any issues and rectify the situation as soon as possible. This information will be used within the Chamber network, DIT and HMRC in order to achieve swift resolutions.

Exporters should provide the following information to [email protected]:

Exporter Name (The company name entered as the exporter on your documentation)
Certificate Number
Certificate Date
Destination Country
Port of Entry
Brief explanation of the issue experienced

It is a well-documented argument that UK exporters do not want barriers that prevent or limit trade with the EU after Brexit. Barnsley & Rotherham Chamber of Commerce is determined to support and minimise these risks and will continue to provide support during these challenging times. If exporters have queries, then please feel free to contact Barnsley & Rotherham Chamber of Commerce on 01709 386200 or at [email protected].

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