Whether you’re searching for new market opportunities, preparing your customs paperwork or looking to grow with trade finance, we’re supporting small businesses to trade internationally. Get ready to expand overseas with the help of expert resources and guidance.

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April 2022: what you need to know about the latest changes to EU-UK trade

Import controls

Export controls have applied to trade between Great Britain and the EU since 1 January 2021, while import controls on EU goods have been phased in throughout 2021 and 2022. The most recent grace period, relating to pre-notification of Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) goods and checks for some products of animal or plant origin ended in January 2022.

Remaining import controls on EU goods were due to apply from July 2022, with certification and physical checks being introduced by commodity group between July and November. The Government has now announced that no further import controls will be introduced this year and businesses can therefore stop their preparations. 

The Government will instead publish plans in autumn 2022 for new border controls that will apply equally to EU and rest of world imports. In the meantime, the import controls that have already been introduced remain in place. Find out more on the existing import controls here.

Using light goods vehicles in Europe

The EU rules on operator licensing are changing. From 21 May 2022, you will need a standard international goods vehicle operators licence to transport goods for hire or reward in Europe if you use a van, other light goods vehicle, or a car towing a trailer.

The new rules will apply if you carry goods for other people in an EU Member State, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland and use a light goods vehicle and/or trailer over 2.5 tonnes and up to 3.5 tonnes.

If you are affected, you will need to have a qualified transport manager and apply for a standard international goods vehicle operator licence to continue operating in Europe. You can check if the rules apply to you and find out more about appointing a transport manager here.

Getting Started

New to trading internationally? Learn the basics with our resources on importing, exporting and doing business overseas, including the new rules for trading with the EU.

How to get started with importing and exporting goods
Article Wed, 03 November 2021

How to get started with importing and exporting goods

Sending your products across the world or importing materials from suppliers overseas? From customs declarations to classifying goods, find out what you need to know about the process.

Seven questions for your first export order
Article Mon, 18 October 2021

Seven questions for your first export order

Received your first export order? Lesley Batchelor OBE, COO of Open Borders Direct, explains what you need to consider and how you can access additional support.

Six tips for successfully expanding your business into global markets
Article Fri, 15 October 2021

Six tips for successfully expanding your business into global markets

Getting ready to go global and expand your business internationally? Bridgehead International Agency share the key things your small business should remember when preparing to break into overseas markets.

Already trading internationally? 

Deloitte are looking for FSB members to take part in a 6 month Beta trial for their new CustomsClear software. Designed for UK businesses trading with EU businesses, CustomsClear is an easy-to-use digital platform that integrates directly with HMRC. So, for the first time, businesses can submit their own customs declarations in just minutes. This means more control and transparency over the movement of goods, without the hassle of intermediaries. To find out more and register for the beta trial visit the Deloitte CustomsClear website.

Paperwork and Processes

Tick the right boxes, get your paperwork in order and discover the different rules you need to follow when taking your products and services into new markets.

What are rules of origin and how do they affect me?
Article Fri, 12 February 2021

What are rules of origin and how do they affect me?

Learn what rules of origin are and how to prove your product meets them to access tariff-free treatments for goods imported to or exported from the EU.

Trade in services in the EU: What you need to know
Article Fri, 12 February 2021

Trade in services in the EU: What you need to know

From work permits to digital services, discover what you need to know about delivering services either in-person or digitally in the EU.

Customs declarations for international trade
Article Fri, 12 February 2021

Customs declarations for international trade

Moving goods internationally? Whether you’re importing or exporting, find out what you need to know about customs declarations and when they’re required.

VAT

Make sure you’re paying the correct taxes and duties on your imports and exports with our guides to VAT for international trade.

New EU VAT e-commerce rules explained for online sellers
Article Tue, 29 June 2021

New EU VAT e-commerce rules explained for online sellers

On 1 July 2021, the European Union implemented changes to the VAT obligations for businesses selling directly to customers (B2C). Find out what this means for your business.

What is VAT?
Article Fri, 21 May 2021

What is VAT?

Learn everything you need to know about VAT, from registration with HMRC to adding it to your prices, with our beginner’s guide for small business owners.

10 VAT considerations for trading with the EU
Article Wed, 17 February 2021

10 VAT considerations for trading with the EU

Trading with the EU? Find out what you need to know about changes to VAT, from duty deferment accounts to digital services.

Financing your expansion

Trade finance can help you to grow your business. Our experts from FSB Funding Platform explain how it works, what’s available and how it can benefit your business.

Free guide to SME trade finance
External resource Mon, 18 October 2021

Free guide to SME trade finance

Download your free guide to trade finance for small business exporters and importers.

How export finance can grow your business
Article Thu, 15 April 2021

How export finance can grow your business

From keeping your supply chain moving to collecting payments in different currencies with ease, FSB Funding Platform explains how export finance can grow your business.

Is trade finance right for my business?
Article Mon, 22 February 2021

Is trade finance right for my business?

Learn what trade finance is, the key things to remember as a business owner and where you can find more support with our beginner's guide.

Additional resources

From recruiting talent from abroad to understanding Northern Ireland’s trading relationship with the EU, you’ll find even more support and guidance.

Data protection and the UK transition: What you need to do

Data protection and the UK transition: What you need to do

Learn about how you can protect data and your business when trading internationally and the legislation you need to follow.

Hiring talent from outside the UK

Hiring talent from outside the UK

The UK has completed its transition period and is no longer part of the European Union. If you hire staff from outside the UK there are extra steps you need to take.

Trading With Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland has a different trading relationship with the EU. Find support for trading internationally from NI Business Info, including understanding legal responsibilities, finding opportunities and export training.

Support from the Department for International Trade

You can access guides, tools and help from international trade advisors through the UK Government’s Department for International Trade (DIT). Got a question about exporting to Europe? Contact the Export Support Service online or on 0300 303 8955. The service will expand to cover more global markets from 2022. 

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Learn about free trade agreements

Watch a bitesize video series from the Department for International Trade (DIT) about free trade agreements and what they mean for you and your business.

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Attend the Export Academy

The UK Export Academy is a free comprehensive training offer for UK businesses, featuring masterclasses, events, mentoring and roundtables.

find out more

Speak to international trade advisor

Need additional help with exporting? Get in touch with an expert international trade advisor for in-depth support.

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Build your export
plan

Ready to sell internationally? Take your first steps to exporting and create a free export plan so you can go global successfully.

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Explore global markets

Browse market guides to help you identify new export opportunities and prepare your business to trade in markets across the world.