Brexit briefing | Brexit, Supply of goods and/or services, Governance & Trade Risk, Commercial Law, Trading Law, Commercial & Technology |

Brexit UK importer checklist


Brexit is likely to have a major impact on goods supply chains, whether or not a trade deal can be reached with the EU. This checklist sets out the key issues that UK importers need to consider. 

If there is no trade deal with the EU, the following should be considered:

  • Tariffs: do you know how much more the goods you import will cost if they were to be subject to tariffs (as is likely in the event of no deal)?  Note that, unless otherwise agreed, tariffs are usually paid by the importer. The UK has published the tariffs it expects to apply in the event of no deal and we can help you work out how much more you would have to pay.

If there is a trade deal with the EU, the following should be considered:

  • Proof of origin: have you checked that your suppliers will be able to prove that their goods originated in the EU so as to qualify for preferential tariff treatment? Click here for guidance.

All the issues listed below should be considered whether or not there is a trade deal with the EU:

  • Imports from non-EU countries: do you rely on goods from non-EU countries which are imported via the EU and have you considered whether these are vulnerable to Brexit-related disruption? Have you assessed the impact of COVID-19 on UK ports dealing with imports from outside the EU? Is there a risk that higher tariffs could apply due to a failure to roll over EU-negotiated trade agreements? Click here for guidance.

  • Phasing in of border processes: do you understand what will be expected of you on the following dates: 1 January 2021, 1 April 2021 and 1 July 2021? Click here for guidance.

  • Risks of non-compliance: do you understand the risks of getting border-related paperwork wrong? Click here for guidance.

  • Preparing for new border processes: are you ready to comply with new border processes? Click here for guidance. 

  • Product conformity: do you understand what is required to prove that the goods you import meet relevant standards? Will your product labelling need to be amended? Click here for guidance.

  • Risks of disruption and mitigation strategies: do you understand the risks of Brexit-related disruption at Channel ports in particular? Click here for guidance. Have you made contingency plans to mitigate these risks? Click here for guidance.

  • Contracts (including Incoterms): have you reviewed your contracts with suppliers and customers? In particular, are you using the appropriate Incoterm and have you considered the impact on pricing and performance? Click here for guidance.

  • VAT: do you understand what VAT is payable and when?  Do you also understand the implications of the VAT position for your contractual terms? Click here for guidance.

  • Record-keeping: have you amended your record-keeping processes? Click here for guidance. 

Finally, if you also export goods to the EU, see our Brexit UK exporter checklist.

Key contacts

Read Jonathan Rush 's Profile
Read Rachel Woodburn's Profile