Doing business with the UK after 31 December 2020

On 1 January 2021 will end the transition period and the UK will be leaving the EU single market and customs union. The UK Government will operationalise import controls on goods moving from the EU to GB, in a manner similar to the UK’s current treatment of Rest of World (RoW) goods.

These controls will be introduced in three stages: January 2021, April 2021, and July 2021. It is expected that the EU will also operationalise full import controls on goods moving from GB to the EU from 1 January 2021. As a result, there will be significant changes to the process for moving goods between GB and the EU. All businesses moving goods across the GB-EU border will need to take account of these and adapt accordingly.


These changes will take place, regardless the outcome of the ongoing talks between the UK and EU to secure a trade deal. For the countries listed as part of the Customs Union with the EU, the future trade arrangements would be linked to the outcome of the UK/EU free trade agreement negotiations.


The UK Government, recognising the impact of coronavirus on businesses’ ability to prepare, has taken the decision to introduce the new border controls in three stages up until 1 July 2021. This flexible and pragmatic approach will give industry extra time to make necessary arrangements.