Import controls and more: considerations when importing from the EU

Blogs 15 Mar 2024

Find out what changes are still in the pipeline for trade between the UK and EU

Much trade between the UK and the EU is now conducted on the same terms as trade with the Rest of the World but there are still some grace periods before the UK introduces full controls on all goods.

1. Import controls

Businesses importing relevant goods need to pre-notify the UK import of products of animal origin, animals, plants, food and feed system on the IPAFFS online system.

All importers of agricultural goods should find out if their goods are in the new categories of High risk, Medium risk or Low risk goods.

New import controls were introduced on 31 January 2024 with the introduction of export health certification on imports from the EU and EFTA of medium and high risk food (and feed) of non-animal origin; certification having already been introduced on certain other high risk category goods.   Importers must get these health certificates and/or phytosanitary certificates from their EU suppliers.

The requirement to pre-notify now also applies to EU goods imported from the Republic of Ireland.

Further controls will be introduced on 30 April 2024 when physical checks may start to take place and changes to import controls on non-EU/EFTA goods will start to come in to align the processes for all agricultural imports into the UK.

2. Rules of origin

The zero-tariff treatment of goods agreed in the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) is conditional on products originating from the EU. This means that goods need to meet specific rules of origin requirements set out in the agreement.  A correct statement of origin must be provided by the EU exporter and, if he has not manufactured the goods himself, he must hold the required supplier’s declaration from his supplier.

3. Importing from Ireland

As of 31 January 2024, full customs controls apply to goods moved from Irish ports to Great Britain.  The only exceptions are Northern Ireland qualifying goods (i.e. goods that are free circulation, are not excise goods or do not require CITIES or any other specific control), that are moving from Northern Ireland through a port in Ireland to GB. 

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