The UK formally left the EU on 31 January 2020, and has entered a ‘transition period’ – an 11-month period ending on the 31 December 2020. During the transition period the two sides will negotiate a new free trade agreement. If an agreement cannot be agreed in time, then the UK faces the prospect of having to trade with ‘no deal’ in place.
Regardless of whether a trade agreement is put in place between the UK and EU, from 1 January 2021 Timber Trade Federation importer members will need to complete import procedures and due diligence when importing timber from the EU.
The first step all our members should take is to assess their EU purchases, identify the products involved and understand how these changes will affect them.
While we note there are a few circumstances where other companies may be responsible for these new procedures, as detailed below, these instances are very limited.
While there does remain some uncertainties around Brexit, the UK’s future trading relationship with Europe and the rest of the world is becoming clearer. Even in the case of a comprehensive free trade agreement, the Government has made clear the UK will no longer be a part of the custom union with the EU.
This means VAT and excise procedures will need to be applied to goods traded with the EU, in the same way that already applies for goods traded outside of the EU, and new due diligence requirements will be in place as a result of the adoption of UK Timber Regulations, with many timber businesses trading in the customs union who were previously classed as ‘Traders’ to become ‘Operators’.
From 1 January 2021 the new UK Global Tariff will apply to all imports unless (a) the country or region has a trade deal with the UK, (b) the developing country has GSP status with the UK, or (c) an open Product Quota has been registered with the WTO. You can find out more about how these tariffs will be applied on our website.