Brexit, One week on 

Brexit, One week on 


The first week of trading outside of the EU single market and customs union has highlighted the specific matters below as being critical for our sector.

Northern Ireland

All goods which are shipped from GB to NI (either direct or via Ireland) will have to submit a customs entry as part of the shipment process. This is because for all practical purposes NI remains part of the EU and therefore remains subject to EU requirements including Plant Health and due diligence.  The buyer in NI will in most cases be named as the Importer and their unique EORI reference which will start with XI will need to be recorded on the customs entry as the party being responsible for any EU duty to be paid.

We are fortunate in the wood sector as most of our products are duty-free on a global basis so in most cases there is no action necessary for duty purposes.  However, where EU duty would be necessary, as in the case of wood-based panels if the NI Buyer wishes to avoid such duty then under the Northern Ireland protocol they have the opportunity to do so by confirming as part of the customs entry that the goods are NOT “At Risk” of crossing the border and being sold in the EU.

More information on trade with NI can be found here:

This includes the three options available to avoid paying tariffs and when bringing goods into Northern Ireland from Great Britain, you will pay no duty if you are:


Plant Health

Summary of Plant Health requirements:

The Forestry Commission published a newsletter in December which provides a good summary of the changes to Plant Health controls that have been introduced as a result of Brexit. A copy of the newsletter can be found via the TTF website here:

Coniferous declarations issue

For coniferous imports from Europe, most trade is in square-edged bark-free materials that require no additional controls. However, there are no separate commodity codes for similar products which include bark and require phytosanitary certificates. An issue has been identified with the customs system which is stipulating phytosanitary certificates are required for all Coniferous products declared against specific commodity codes regardless of whether they are bark-free or not. HMRC is getting the system corrected but in the meantime, any importers affected should use this temporary fix to allow clearance, HMRC’s statement on the CHIEF system.

Canadian Mill Certificates

European plant health requirements permit, in specific circumstances, Canadian Mill certificates as an alternative to Phytosanitary certificates. However, the UK does not currently have legislation in place to allow this. UK and Canadian authorities are engaged in a further exchange of information this week. Until this situation is formally resolved shipments in transit will continue to be accepted with mill certificates. We will keep members informed of the resolution achieved.

Export Phytosanitary Certificates

Third country goods from outside Europe that require phytosanitary certificates to enter the UK will need UK export phytosanitary certificates if some of these goods are subsequently sold to Europe or Northern Ireland. It is currently taking up to 5 days to obtain such export certificates. The only exception is where the entire parcel remains intact and “transits” through the UK. In which case the original Phytosanitary certificate should be sufficient.

Coniferous Plywood Quota

The UK has its own quota in place for 167,000 m3 of duty-free Coniferous Plywood which meets the strict definition set out in the UK Trade Tariff (reference 050013). Members should not make declarations against the quota where other duty-free trade arrangements are already in place. Examples for declarations NOT to be included in the quota would be:

  • EU Coniferous Plywood
  • Chilean Coniferous Plywood
  • South African Coniferous Plywood
  • Canadian Coniferous Plywood


More information can be found here:

A facility has been set up via the UK Trade Tariff to allow progress against the UK quota to be monitored. We hope this information will be updated daily by HMRC but as yet this has not been the case.

Monitoring the new UK Coniferous Quota

Within the UK Trade Tariff, view the import section of the specific commodity code page related to the quota – 44 12 39 00 10. Here is the direct link

Scroll down until you see the tariff quota section as below:

Click on the tariff quota Order No. 050013 and details appear in a pop-up box as below. At the moment this displays the balance as the same as the initial amount, but I am assured it will be updated regularly as customs entries are submitted against the quota.

If TTF members have encountered other issues that are causing difficulties for your business, then please let us know so that we can lobby the UK government to achieve prompt and effective resolutions.

For more information on Brexit, visit our Brexit page

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