Monday 1 January 2021 is not far away and there a few things that your rural business can be doing now to get ready. Some of the trading relationships that you currently have may change. This will involve a bit of paperwork, including various new registrations. Some of these new registrations can take a number of weeks to get done, so don’t leave it until after a few drams on Hogmanay to apply for them.

Importing and Exporting

If your business is involved in importing or exporting any produce or supplies, check the new rules that apply to each of these goods. You can find the link to do this here:

Some questions to ask yourself at this stage are:

  • Have you applied for your GB EORI (Economic Operators Registration and Identification number)? As this can take up to a week, don’t leave applying for you EORI until the day you need to move your goods or are waiting for that vital machine part. We've covered this in more detail in our EORI blog here.
  • Do you know the correct VAT treatment for the goods, particularly if you are raising an invoice for goods that you will be waiting payment for. We've explained more in the Supply Chains section of our Brexit hub here.
  • Are the people that you are importing to / exporting from ready for trading with you? Don’t assume, ask them the question.
  • Are there any customs declarations to be made on the goods? If so, can you handle the paperwork yourself, or do you wish to appoint an agent to do this for you? HMRC has created a handy page of specialist agents to help you with this.
  • If you are importing / exporting plants, seeds, animals, food stuffs, chemicals there are different registrations you will require to those that you currently hold. New documents will require to be completed and again some of these may take a few weeks to be done. Have you checked what new registrations and documents you will need? If you export food, there are new labelling rules that you especially need to be ready for. We've covered this in our Supply Chain section of our Brexit Hub here.
  • Do you know what tariff will apply to goods that you are importing? You don’t want goods stuck in customs as the correct tariff hasn’t been settled. This page on the Government's website will help you here.


If you are employing people from outwith the UK, you require to ensure that you have the correct licence in place to do so. It is important to know where you are sourcing your employees from as there are different rules for employees from different countries. Find out more in our Employers section of our Brexit hub here.

Visiting the EU

You may do business with the EU and have travelled there extensively over the many years, however, as we leave the EU, our freedom to travel there will change. For more information on the steps you need to take as an individual, visit our dedicated page here

Got a question - we're here to help

If you've got a question about Brexit and the impact on your rural business, please get in touch with me, Jane Mitchell, on