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Sponsored Post – How UK Businesses Can Adapt to Getting Goods to Ireland Post-Brexit

[ May 7, 2021   //   ]

Because the Republic of Ireland remains inside the EU, it is still a part of their customs union. This has implications for all UK businesses outside of Northern Ireland because part of the Brexit arrangements that were made between Britain and the EU meant that Great Britain withdrew from the customs union as well as the political institution of the EU. In short, there is a customs border that has existed from the start of 2021 between Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland. The same border also exists in the other major trade routes between the UK and the EU, such as the Dover-Calais crossing.

In theory, customs checks are needed for any goods that are sent across the Irish Sea by air or sea. The British government has decided to not make many checks on imports from Ireland to keep the flow of goods as rapid as possible but all EU states have started to make them for goods moving the other way. The only exception to this is when goods flow across the border from Northern Ireland to the Republic because of the political situation with regard to hard customs infrastructure there. That said, in Dublin Port and Rosslare – the two Irish ports which receive goods being shipped from mainland Britain – such checks are being made. What do British businesses need to do to ensure their shipments don’t get held up there?

To begin with, opt for an experienced freight company which makes deliveries into the Republic of Ireland every day. If you try to arrange a one-off delivery yourself or use a courier which is unused to international shipments, then you could fall foul of the system. What you will need to do is to make a customs declaration on any goods that constitute part of your shipment. This is the case whether or not tariffs apply to such goods. 

To do this, you will need to register with the UK government as an exporter which means obtaining an EORI number. Certain exporters of controlled goods will need to go through a further registration process but this won’t affect most businesses. With this number on your customs declaration, your shipment will be traceable back to you.

You will also need to provide customs officers with a commercial invoice which will include any VAT element. This is an important part of shipping to Ireland because it demonstrates that the tax the UK government thinks is due has been properly accounted for. If your annual turnover is anything close to the VAT threshold of £85,000, then register for a VAT number without delay so you can handle this requirement. Bear in mind that any export licences or certificates that are needed for your goods will also need to be enclosed with the shipment.

Goods without the proper paperwork are likely to either be held up by UK or Irish customs officials. This means that they must be truthful and accurate descriptions of the items you are sending. Although it is possible to contact the customs clearance officer handling your case and resolve minor issues, such delays can be commercially damaging so getting things right the first time is preferable. Of course, the same rules affect all road freight modes, groupage, full load and Express.