Brexit: Automatic EORI allocation overdue but much more to do

Brexit: Automatic EORI allocation overdue but much more to do

Logistics groups and businesses have broadly welcomed today’s Government announcement that all companies in the UK will be automatically given an EORI (Economic Operators Registration & Identification) number, which allows firms to continue trading with EU businesses after Brexit, but warned it still has much to do to get businesses ready for Brexit.

EORI numbers are a unique ID number allocated to businesses that enables them to be identified by customs authorities when doing business with other traders. More than 88,000 VAT registered companies across the UK are set to be allocated a number in the next two weeks – 72,000 companies have already registered for their numbers. If businesses do not have an EORI number post-Brexit, they will be unable to continue to trade with EU member states.

RHA Chief Executive, Richard Burnett said RHA has long called on the government to take this action but warns that firms still don’t have the clarity they need to fully prepare for a no-deal Brexit. 

“This is a long overdue move that will keep UK businesses trading with customers and suppliers in the EU – but it’s only the beginning of the process. Traders still aren’t getting the information and support they need to tackle the customs formalities they’ll be facing after Brexit.”

Baxter Freight’s Chairman Ian Baxter added: “This is a significant step but there are many other things the Government and businesses need to address to prepare for a no-deal Brexit. For example, companies need to familiarise themselves with all tariff codes applying to their goods to ensure customs declarations can be properly made. If they need help with Brexit, companies should get in touch with their logistics provider as soon as possible.”

After receiving an EORI number, businesses will need to decide whether to complete customs declarations themselves, or employ a customs agent to do this. Traders also need to decide whether to apply for Transitional Simplified Procedures (TSPs) to make it easier to import goods from the EU. More information on TSPs is available here 

The Government has recently stepped up its efforts to ensure the UK is ready for Brexit. The Chancellor, Sajid Javid allocated an extra £2.1 billion for government departments last month to prepare for no deal, doubling Brexit funding for this year.

As part of the cash injection, the government said it will provide border and customs operations with an additional £344 million to be ready for Brexit “by hiring more border officers, doubling the support available for customs agents, and improving transport infrastructure around ports”.