Brexit: Exporting to the EU or Ireland – areas to address now

Adam Hardie

Adam Hardie

Business Development Partner and Head of Food & Drink

We now have just a few weeks until the Brexit deadline. If your business exports to the EU or Ireland, it is imperative to review your operations now and ensure you are compliant while there’s still time to act.

In this blog I will highlight the key areas which you need to review ahead of the 31 December 2020.

Food & Drink Business Operators (FBO) – meeting your EU obligations

The EU FBO rules cover everything from country of origin labelling, food and drink business operator address labelling, use of the EU emblem and more. If you supply EU markets, but have no presence outside the UK, you will need to think urgently about how you comply with these rules from 1 January. This adds increased pressure to the production side of your business as all food placed on the EU market from 1 January 2021 needs to be compliant with the new labelling rules.

What does EU FBO compliance mean?

In simple terms, FBO compliance means that labelling on food and drink sold in the EU must include the name of a business established in the EU. This will be the supplier if they are EU established, but if they are not, the label must show the name of the EU importer. Becoming “Established in the EU” is not straightforward. Simply setting up an EU subsidiary will not be enough to meet the FBO legislation. Equally, relying on EU-based distributor/importers may not be acceptable as many will not wish to take on additional responsibility. It is important that you review the facts and your supply chain to understand what you need to do now.

Importing and exporting of goods

From 1 January, movements of goods to and from the EU into the UK will require formal export and import declarations at both the port of exit and the port of entry. HMRC has provided a list of specialists that you can engage with to manage your customs obligations. You need to act quickly as agents are booking up quickly. Any VAT and duty liabilities for importing goods to the UK need to be considered and planned for in your cash flow now and we can help advise you with this. As an absolute minimum, anyone moving goods between the UK and the EU must have a UK issued EORI number by 1 January – we can help you obtain this. There are additional changes for businesses importing and exporting goods liable to excise duties.

Arrange a Brexit consultation

We are here to help your business prepare for Brexit. If you need help with tax considerations, food & drink labelling changes, and setting up subsidiaries, our dedicated Brexit team can help you. If you would like to discuss this further and arrange a consultation with our Brexit team, please do not hesitate to get in touch with myself or your usual Johnston Carmichael adviser.

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