UK - European Union Trade and Cooperation agreement
key update from John Bridge OBE DL

As you will all be aware by now the United Kingdom and the European Union have agreed a Trade and Cooperation Agreement governing future trade relations from 1 January 2021, that will see no tariffs or quotas on the movement of goods produced between the UK and the EU.

I do not propose to comment on this at the present time as we are currently examining the complex and extensive detail other than to say by leaving it this late it does not give businesses much time to understand the detail let alone be able to implement it within 24 hours of it being approved by Parliament.

In order to ensure you have access to the necessary information I am providing here, and below, further details and a summary explainer document which are available here  including a link to the 1,246 page Trade and Cooperation Agreement.

One of the key ways you can get support and information about the changes is at GOV.UK/transition which includes a transition checker tool, so businesses can get a personalised list of actions.  

All of the information provided below is by necessity very extensive.


United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland – European Union Trade and Cooperation Agreement

The United Kingdom and the European Union have agreed a Trade and Cooperation Agreement governing future trade relations from 1 January 2021, that will see no tariffs or quotas on the movement of goods produced between the UK and the EU. 


Further details and a summary explainer document are available here


Goods movement spanning the end of the Transition Period

Guidance has been issued about the movement of goods which span the end of the Transition Period:

Value Added Tax EU Exit Transitional Provisions: Find out about the VAT treatment of transactions or movements of goods which span the end of the Transition Period. For more information, click here .  

Ongoing customs movements and procedures at the end of the Transition Period: Guidance on what to do if you are moving goods or have goods in customs procedures at the end of the Transition Period has been updated in respect of moving goods from GB to NI. This explains that if your goods have Union status and the goods movement started ahead of 11.00pm (GMT) 31st December 2020, you will not need to create or provide a Goods Movement Reference (GMR) for a period of seven days after the 31st December. For more information, click here


New and Updated Guidance

Importing and Exporting


NEW: Rules of Origin: Check your goods comply to trade tariff-free with the EU: With a trade deal in place, UK businesses can trade tariff-free with the EU from 1 January if their products meet agreed Rules of Origin. UK traders need to check if their products comply and how to prove they originate. For more information, click here

NEW: Changes to approved exporter authorisations from 1 January 2021: Guidance has been issued about approved exporter authorisations which are issued in the UK no longer being valid in EU countries from 1 January 2021. For more information, click here .

NEW: Declaring reusable packaging for Great Britain imports and exports from 1 January 2021: From 1 January 2021, reusable packaging will require an import or export declaration. You may be able to make a declaration at the border (known as a ‘declaration by conduct’) instead and provide information to HMRC on a quarterly basis. For more information, click here

UPDATED: VAT and overseas goods sold directly and online to customers in the UK from 1 January 2021: Guidance on how sellers will deal with VAT for goods from overseas that they sell to customers in the UK from 1 January 2021 has been updated to include information about selling goods to Northern Ireland. For more information about selling goods directly to customers click here . For more information about selling goods in the UK using online market places, click here .  

UPDATED: Check what declarations need to be made for goods you send from the UK or bring or receive into the UK from 1 January 2021: From 1 January 2021, if you are a UK-based business sending goods from Great Britain or Northern Ireland or if you’re a UK-based business bringing or receiving goods into Great Britain or Northern Ireland check what declarations may need to be made. For more information about goods you send, click here . For more information about goods you bring or receive into GB or NI, click here

UPDATED: Check when you can account for import VAT on your VAT return from 1 January 2021: Guidance has been updated with information added about accounting for VAT if you do not know the full customs value of goods and using someone to import goods on your behalf. For more information, click here

UPDATED: Carry out international road haulage from 1 January 2021: Guidance has been updated to include information about the journeys you can make in the EU, including cross-trade and cabotage jobs, what you'll need ECMT permits for, and vehicle insurance green cards. For more information, click here

UPDATED: EU business: Taxes, tariffs and importing from the UK: Guidance has been updated to show that from January 1 2021, the EU and UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement establishes zero tariffs or quotas on trade between the UK and the EU, where goods meet the relevant rules of origin. For more information on taxes and tariffs click here . For more information for EU businesses importing from the UK, click here

UPDATED: List of customs agents and fast parcel operators: For more information, click here

Moving Goods

NEW: Claiming preferential rates of duty between the UK and EU from 1 January 2021:
Guidance has been added explaining how to claim preferential rates of duty on goods covered in the UK's deal with the EU and how to declare goods imported into the UK on your import declaration. For more information, click here .  

UPDATED: Goods Vehicle Movement Service: If you are a haulier that moves goods through one or more ports that uses the Goods Vehicle Movement Service, you should apply to use Goods Vehicle Movement Service. To register for the Goods Vehicle Movement Service click here . To get a goods movement reference using the service, click here . To check that a goods movement reference is valid and if goods can be moved, click here

UPDATED: How to use your ATA Carnet: Guidance about how the ATA Carnet works, what to do at customs, and what happens if your goods are lost, destroyed, or stolen, has been updated in respect of UK Transition. For more information, click here .  

UPDATED: ECMT international road haulage permits: Guidance has been updated to explain why you need ECMT permits in 2021, and how to buy short-term (30-day) permits to use in January and February 2021 if you want to make a third cross-trade movement. For more information, click here .  

UPDATED: Export or move horses and ponies to the EU and Northern Ireland from 1 January 2021: Updated guidance on the documents required to move equines from GB to NI and the journey logs needed to transport unregistered equines from or through GB to the EU. For more information, click here

Marketing Goods

UPDATED: Product safety and metrology:
Guidance has been updated with new guides for Great Britain and Northern Ireland added on Regulation 765/2008 on Accreditation and Market Surveillance. For more information on Great Britain guidance, click here.  For more information on Northern Ireland guidance, click here


Guidance has also been updated to include a guide on ‘UK product safety and metrology: What’s changed from 2 January 2021 in relation to Great Britain?’ For more information, click here

UPDATED: Placing manufactured goods on the EU market from 1 January 2021: Guidance has been updated to note that the UK conformity assessment bodies will no longer be able to carry out mandatory conformity assessment for products being placed on the EU market. For more information, click here .  

Personal Data

UPDATED: Using personal data in your business or other organisation from 1 January 2021:
Guidance has been added to include information on the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement interim bridging mechanism for personal data. For more information, click here

Business Services

NEW: Complying with Provision of Services Regulations for Businesses and Competent Authorities from 1 January 2021:
Guidance has been published for service providers and Competent Authorities explaining how the Provision of Services Regulations will operate from 1 January 2021. For more information, click here

UPDATED: Providing services and travelling for business from 1 January 2021: Guidance has been updated to reflect the changes created by the UK and EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement for the following countries: Norway , Bulgaria , Latvia , Belgium , Italy , The Netherlands , Ireland , Malta , Switzerland , Iceland , Austria , Hungary , Greece , Germany, Slovenia , Romania , Denmark , Luxembourg, France , Finland , Estonia , Sweden, Spain , Slovakia , Czech Republic , Portugal , Cyprus , Poland , Croatia , Lithuania and Liechtenstein.

Professional Qualifications

NEW: Recognition of professional qualifications: Technical guidance for regulatory bodies from 1 January 2021:
Guidance has been issued for regulatory bodies explaining how the recognition of professional qualifications operates. For more information, click here

Designated Standards

UPDATED: Information for businesses about designated standards from 1 January 2021:
Guidance has been updated to include links for air conditioners and comfort fans, circulators, dishwashers, domestic ovens and range hoods, electric motors, power supplies, radio equipment, standby and off mode, transformers, tumble dryers and vacuum cleaners. For more information, click here .

Northern Ireland

NEW: Claiming a waiver for duty on goods that you bring to Northern Ireland from Great Britain:
Guidance has been issued so that you can find out how to claim a waiver if you are bringing goods into Northern Ireland from Great Britain which might otherwise incur ‘at risk’ tariffs. For more information, click here

NEW: Starting and ending transit movements in Northern Ireland using common and union transit: Guidance to assist you in finding out what you need to do if you start and end transit movements in Northern Ireland using common and union transit has been published. For more information, click here

NEW: DEFRA update on GB-NI authorised trader self-identification: DEFRA are working to compile a list of businesses that can take advantage of the authorised GB-NI trader three month grace period. The grace period will only cover certain goods: products of animal origin (POAO), composite products, food and feed not of animal origin, and plants and plant products. For more information, including how to assess if your business can be added to the list, click here

NEW: Using CHIEF for declaring goods into or out of Northern Ireland: From 1 January 2021, find out when you will still be able to use CHIEF (for a limited period of time) for declaring goods into or out of Northern Ireland. For more information, click here

UPDATED: Moving qualifying goods from Northern Ireland to the rest of the UK from 1 January 2021: Guidance has been updated with information added about goods for which specific conditions apply when moved from NI to GB, and placing qualifying goods on the market in GB. For more information, click here .  

UPDATED: Apply for authorisation for the UK Trader Scheme if you bring goods into Northern Ireland from 1 January 2021: Guidance has been updated with information about if you supply goods to a business in Northern Ireland but do not have a fixed address in Northern Ireland. For more information, click here

UPDATED: Supplying authorised medicines to Northern Ireland from 1 January 2021: Guidance has been updated with information which provides assurance that licensing requirements for medicines containing controlled drugs from 1 January 2021 will not be changing. For more information, click here .  



Trade with non-EU Countries

After 31 December 2020, EU trade agreements will not apply to the UK. This is the case regardless of the agreement with the EU. The UK has signed trade agreements with various countries and trading blocs.

For more information on signed trade agreements and trade agreements still in discussion, click here


Sector Specific Guidance

Legal Services

Guidance has been updated following the UK-EU trade and cooperation agreement.

NEW: Guidance for Legal Services Business owners: For more information applicable to legal services business owners from 1 January 2021, click here

NEW: UK lawyers practising in the EU, EEA-EFTA and Switzerland from 1 January 2021: For more information, click here

Audit and Accounting

UPDATED: Accounting for UK companies from 1 January 2021:
Guidance has been updated following the Free Trade Agreement with the EU. If you list on an EEA regulated market, you will need to check the reporting requirements in the relevant jurisdiction. For more information, click here

UPDATED: Auditing for UK auditors and audit firms operating in the EEA from 1 January 2021: Guidance has been updated to include the Free Trade Agreement with the EU. For more information, click here

UPDATED: Auditing for EEA auditors and audit firms operating in the UK from 1 January 2021: Guidance for what EEA audit firms, EEA auditors, and those with EEA qualifications need to do from 1 January 2021 has been issued. For more information, click here

Life Sciences

NEW: Exceptions and modifications to the EU guidance on good pharmacovigilance practices that will apply to UK MAHs and the MHRA from 1 January 2021:
Guidance has been published clarifying the expectations on the application of the EU guidance on good pharmacovigilance practices (GVP) from 1 January 2021. For more information, click here

UPDATED: Registering to make submissions to the MHRA from 1 January 2021: Guidance on submissions related to human medicines needing to be submitted directly to the HMRA from 1 January 2021 has been updated with more information. For more information, click here .  

Food and Drink

NEW: DEFRA updates in agri-food and environmental matters:
A round up of the latest news from DEFRA related to agri-food and environmental matters has been produced. To view this, click here

UPDATED: Export or move live animals and animal products to the EU or Northern Ireland from 1 January 2021: Guidance has been updated to amend the sections on other export requirements and trade agreements to remove references to tariffs for exports to the EU. For more information, click here .  

UPATED: Export or move fish to the EU or NI from 1 January 2021: Guidance has been updated about moving fish from NI to the EU and NI to GB. For more information, click here

UPDATED: Importing and exporting wine from 1 January 2021: Guidance has been updated on how to comply with the rules from 1 January 2021 and information has been added on labelling wine imported from EU and non-EU countries. Details have also been updated on importing and exporting wine between the UK and EU and non-EU countries. For more information, click here

UPDATED: Trading and labelling organic food from 1 January 2021: Guidance has been updated to include the EU recognising the UK for the purpose of exporting organic products to the EU until 31 December 2023. For more information, click here

UPDATED: Protecting food and drink names from 1 January 2021: Guidance has been updated to include information about existing EU products registered under the EU GI schemes before 1 January 2021 being protected under the UK GI schemes. For more information, click here

We will over the coming days, be regularly providing further comments and updates on all aspects of this and particularly in relation to the practical implementation.


Contact the Chamber

01223 237414 •  chamber@cambscci.co.uk
Cambridgeshire Chamber of Commerce
Clifford House • 2 Station Yard • Oakington • CB24 3AH • United Kingdom
www.cambridgeshirechamber.co.uk