As at February 2021

With post-Brexit enterprise now underway, businesses that deal in international trade are beginning to acclimatise to the new rules of engagement laid out in the UK-EU Free Trade Agreement. 

We understand that for many of you, this will include reviewing processes, pricing and suppliers as you negotiate both the opportunities and challenges it presents.

Today’s bulletin is focused on ensuring you have as much information as possible to support you in making the crucial decisions that lie ahead.

Whilst we cannot offer specific, individual advice we have laid out links to the people who can, and have aimed to provide key facts in an easily digested format.

Quick Links

Get the complete list of what you need to do for you, your business and your family.

Business Support and Updates

Brexit

As part of their Year of Trade webinar series, British Chamber of Commerce are running a series of webinars on the Future of UK-EU Trade Relations.  

Save the dates for this upcoming series of webinars from the British Chambers of Commerce which will explore the new EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement. These interactive events will provide guidance for businesses in the short term and over the coming months.

Services and Data

Tuesday 2 March  | 13:30 – 14:30

Look further into the understanding of what the new arrangements mean for service providers and businesses reliant on using data, both under the agreement and the potential for an adequacy agreement (with possible legal implications).

Chaired by James Martin, Director of Policy, British Chambers of Commerce our speakers include:

  • Sally Jones, Partner, EY LLP
  • Alex Altman, British Chamber of Commerce in Germany
  • Lyne Biewinga MBA, Executive Director Membership, The Netherlands British Chamber of Commerce
  • Jenny Hall, Deputy Director International Data Team, Cabinet Office

Register Now >

Looking at VAT implications

Tuesday 9 March | 14:30 – 15:30

Look further into VAT, how we can make sure we are on the right side of guidelines and what these arrangements mean for business.

Chaired by James Martin, Director of Policy, British Chambers of Commerce. Speakers to be confirmed.

Register Now > 

Building on the Deal

Tuesday 16 March | 14:30 – 15:30

The final event in this series will look at the UK/EU deal which contains a range of provisions under which the deal might evolve, whether because of suspected breach or as the basis for building up the relationship in key areas. Here they will look at how trading relationships might change over time.

Chaired by James Martin, Director of Policy, British Chambers of Commerce our speakers include:

  • Adam Marshall, Director General, British Chambers of Commerce
  • Charles Grant, Director, Centre for European Reform)
  • Suren Thiru, Head of Economics, British Chambers of Commerce

Register Now >

TalentScotland is running webinars and tutorials to help Scottish based SMEs to understand and navigate the changes in the UK immigration system, which now apply equally to EU and non-EU citizens.

Never used the immigration system?

What you need to know if you are planning to recruit from Europe and beyond.

Changes to UK immigration system, which now apply equally to EU and non-EU citizens, may affect your access to talent and recruitment plans going forward.

As a Scottish based SME, TalentScotland can support your business in a number of ways and this session will particularly focus on:

  • Overview of the new UK immigration system
  • Who is exempt from sponsorship
  • Why and when companies will need a sponsor licence
  • What actions you can take
  • Potential costs and time associated with the process
  • Brief overview of Skilled Worker sponsorship duties
  • Additional business immigration support and guidance available from TalentScotland

Are You A Sponsor Licence Holder?

What’s changing in Jan 2021 and how this impacts current sponsor licence holders.

With the introduction of the new Points Based System which now applies equally to EU and non-EU citizens, there are changes that affect the sponsorship process and your sponsor licence going forward.

This webinar, aimed at Scottish based SMEs, is presented by Brodies LLP, TalentScotland’s immigration specialists. The webinar will cover the following:

  • Overview of the new Points Based System and the Skilled Worker Sponsor Licence
  • Who is exempt from sponsorship
  • New salary thresholds and tradeable points
  • Changes to RLMT
  • Changes to the Certificate of Sponsorship process
  • Additional business immigration support and guidance available from TalentScotland
  • Q&A

Find Out More & Book >

HMRC are running a series of webinars which are aimed at helping you navigate the new rules around trade and customs.

The webinars will cover exporting, importing, customs declarations and trader responsibilities and will also be available as on demand YouTube videos after the virtual event.

However, if you register for a webinar, you can ask questions directly using the on-screen text box which is hugely advantageous should you have specific challenges you’d like addressed.

What are customs import declarations?

  • how to make import declarations to import goods between the EU and Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales)
  • how to use simplified and supplementary declarations
  • key terminology
  • new processes

Register for the next live webinar on what are customs import declarations?

Exporting: what to do to keep your goods moving

This webinar explains what actions you need to take to export goods from Great Britain to the EU and move goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

We will provide a run through of the main export processes, including:

  • staged border controls
  • zero-rated VAT
  • customs declarations
  • using an intermediary
  • what licences, certificates and authorisations you may need

Register for the next live webinar on exporting: what you need to do to keep your goods moving.

Importing: what you need to know about Staged Controls

The webinar explains what actions you need to take to export goods from Great Britain to the EU and move goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. We will provide a run-through of the key export processes that you will need, including:

  • staged border controls
  • zero-rated VAT
  • customs declaration
  • using an intermediary as well as licences
  • certificates and authorisations

Register for the next live webinar for importing: what you need to know about Staged Controls.

Trader responsibilities when using an intermediary

This webinar explains your responsibilities as a trader if you choose to use an intermediary from 1 January 2021.

Register for the next live webinar for Trader responsibilities when using an intermediary.

Sign up for HMRC email alerts >

Scotland’s enterprise and skills agencies are urging all companies to actively learn how to adapt to the new business environment.

Scottish businesses can access the latest information and guidance at www.prepareforbrexit.scot, an online resource dedicated to helping companies understand what Brexit means for them.

Services include the following:

  • Brexit A-Z which helps companies navigate the website quickly and easily, and find the search terms they are looking for
  • An FAQ section which covers a wide range of topics such as customs processes and documentation, EORI numbers, Northern Ireland, regulations, supplying services to the EU and importing.
  • A 10 point Brexit Checklist with essential actions businesses should be taking now to ensure they’re in the strongest position possible to continue operating. 
  • Support for export and customs documentation – providing information to help companies decide how they’re going to deal with customs documentation now.

The Brexit Helpline In Scotland
0300 303 0661

The Customs Grant Scheme has been set up to help businesses cover the costs of training in order that they might be better prepared. 

HMRC has made over £80 million available through this grant scheme. Provided you meet certain eligibility criteria, HMRC can provide funding towards the costs of a new training project, investing in your IT, training your staff, and the costs associated with recruitment to improve your organisation’s capacity and efficiency. Check Eligibility >

Please note that the Grant Scheme is nearing full allocation of funds. If your application cannot be fulfilled due to funding, it will be placed on a waiting list to have funds allocated if and when funds are returned. All applications are considered on a first come first served basis.

What is the Customs Grant Scheme?

The Customs Grant Scheme has been set up to help businesses prepare for new customs arrangements from 1 January 2021.

This includes supporting businesses who trade with the EU to undertake training to improve their understanding of customs requirements and working with customs intermediaries.

It also helps customs intermediaries increase their capacity to complete customs declarations and accelerate growth of the sector in order to meet the increased demand. 

What grants are available?

There are three different types of grant available through the Customs Grant Scheme:

  • Grants for Trader Training: up to £1,000. 
    To be eligible you need to be an importer or exporter who will be new to customs as a result of the UK leaving the EU and do not plan to complete your own declarations.
     
  • Grants for IT, Training and Recruitment: up to 200,000 Euros.To be eligible you need to be a trader or customs intermediary (such as a customs broker, fast parcel operator or freight forwarder) who completes or intends to complete customs declarations for your own goods or on behalf of others.Organisations which recruit, train and place apprentices into customs intermediaries or other organisations which undertake customs declarations activity are also eligible to apply.
  • Grants for a Co-Funded Training Project: up to 2 million Euros.To be eligible you need to be a trader or customs intermediary (such as a customs broker, fast parcel operator or freight forwarder) who completes or intends to complete customs declarations for your own goods or on behalf of others.Organisations which recruit, train and place apprentices into customs intermediaries or other organisations which undertake customs declarations activity are also eligible to apply.

Visit grants available to find out more about each grant, or use the grant checker to find out which grants you can apply for. 

Find Out More >

The UK and EU secured a free trade agreement (FTA) on Christmas Eve 2020 which came into play one week later, on 31st December 2020 at 11pm.

The following is a summary of the key details affecting businesses and trade.

  • No tariffs.  In principle, the FTA allows traders to move goods between the UK and EU without paying duties. However, they must comply with ‘Rules of Origin’ included in the deal.
     
  • Rules of Origin. This determines the economic nationality of goods. Under the agreement, the country where the processing takes place counts towards this. 
     
  • New customs procedures will apply. New customs and VAT rules will apply for UK and EU trade – including the requirement for companies to complete customs declarations.
     
  • Independent SPS rules.  Companies trading affected goods – agri-food producers and grocery retailers in particular – must now attain new certification and comply with border checks.
     
  • Uncertainty remains for services.  While the agreement gives clarity for most goods traders in the UK, it doesn’t shed as much light on the future of UK-EU services trade, particularly financial services.
     
  • UK led standards. The UK can now set its own rules in areas such as environmental standards or labour law.  However, both the UK and EU can implement tariffs should it find the its own businesses are put at an unfair disadvantage by too wide a divergence.
     
  • Independence on state-aid. The UK government can now set its own subsidies for its domestic industries and businesses.  However, companies in the EU can challenge government state-aid in the UK’s courts and UK companies can do the same in the EU.
     
  • Mutual recognition for AEO. The UK and EU will recognise each other’s AEO (Authorised Economic Operator) schemes, allowing for AEO-approved firms to move goods more easily between the UK and EU.
     
  • Changes for hauliers.  Road haulage operators moving goods between the UK and EU will continue to do so without new permit requirements and will still be subject to similar standards for driver hours and professional qualifications. However, British truckers will nowbe limited to a single drop-off and a single pick-up when in Europe.
     
  • Short term visits allowed.  Short-term business visits to the EU will be allowed for up to 90 days in any 180-day month period. (In typical, non-restricted times).