Exporting to EU countries post “Brexit”


We are a UK business currently selling goods to EU countries, and would like to find out what the implications are to us with the exit from the EU by the UK.
We currently ship a lot of our goods into European countries and with the exit from the EU I would like to find out what we will require to continue to do business with these countries?

Will we require export documents when we leave the EU to ship to EU counties?


Wow – that was quick off the mark.

Yes there will be some changes to the easy movement of goods, but we won’t know that until negotiations take place. Its very early days to try and guess. Today and next week nothing changes. However it will be in the interests of everyone that things are kept to a minimum.
If you look at your exports to Switzerland and Norway today you can see there is some documentation. So expect something as you will need to prove to customs in other countries where the goods come from and vice versa. But since you produce an invoice and a packing list today for your customer, you will simply adapt that for any extra documentation is required by the importing country or bloc of countries.



At present it is difficult to give precise information, although little is expected to change in the immediate future. Today’s referendum vote is simply a decision by the UK people, and does not trigger any changes. The first stage of a formal exit from the EU will be by the UK government invoking “Article 50 of the Treaty of Rome”. Thereafter there will be a negotiating process of up to 2 years, during which time the UK will remain part of the EU, and goods will continue to move free of customs clearance formalities or import duties .

What happens after the negotiation phase and the formal UK exit will depend on the terms of the negotiations between the UK and the European Council, and there have been a lot of discussions and speculation about what free trade agreements might be possible. However, regardless of the outcome of the discussion, it is highly likely that goods will have to undergo some form of customs clearance process both when goods leave the UK and on arrival in the destination country, regardless of whether any import duty would be chargeable. All of the free trade agreements currently in place with the EU do have this requirement, so it would be prudent to plan in the longer term for this.

With regard to documentation, this will also depend on the outcome and detail of the exit negotiations.

In the meantime, it would be wise to communicate with your EU clients anyway, to reassure them of your continuing commitment, and calm any nerves or fears that they may have.


As the Prime Minister announced in his statement of 24 June 2016, there will be no immediate change to the movement of goods and people in and out of the United Kingdom (UK) from the EU.

We are still a member of the EU. Until Article 50 is invoked, we will continue to engage with EU business as normal and be engaged in EU decision-making in the usual way. Once it is invoked, we will remain bound by EU law until the terms of our exit have been determined but we will not be involved in decision-making. The period between invocation of Article 50 and our eventual exit from the EU is expected to last at least two years.

Further information can be found in Customs Information Paper (CIP) 42 (2016). Please see the following link:-


Alternatively a copy can be viewed on our website at www.gov.uk > by typing “Customs Information Paper 42 2016” in the saerch box.

HM Revenue & Customs

Customs International Trade & Excise


Export Action Plan