Movement of goods - Irish traders

If no deal is reached between the UK and the EU, essentially all of the current rules and regulations could in theory fall into the abyss.  Free trade between the EU and the UK would no longer be possible and trade would operate under World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules where tariffs and border checks would become a reality. 

What does this mean for Irish traders if there is no Brexit deal?

If you trade with the UK after a no deal Brexit, the rules of trade with a non-EU country will apply.  In order to trade with the UK, you must apply for an Economic Operators' Registration and Identification  (EORI) number.  You can apply on  The European Commission has also provided a 30 minute online learning tool to find out more about EORI. 

Importing goods from UK after Brexit will require:

  • an import declaration
  • customs controls
  • may incur VAT and customs duties
  • may require a licence if importing prohibited or restricted goods

Exporting goods to the UK after Brexit will require: 

  • an export declaration
  • customs controls
  • may require a licence if exporting prohibited or restricted goods 

Moving goods through the UK when transporting from one EU country to another 

Goods under this scenario will move under transit.  Transit is a customs procedure that allows goods to move across international borders and customs controls and checks only take place in the country of destination. The UK has indicated that it will remain a transit country after Brexit so this practice should continue where Irish traders transit goods through the UK to get to mainland Europe for example.  Read more about the transit procedure in Series 6 of our Back to Brexit Basics guidance.

Reducing the customs burden

There are a number of mechanisms that can help in reducing the customs burden and some may apply to your business.  There are conditions and rules that must be adhered to in order to qualify and some mechanisms might not be suitable for your business:

For information on customs procedures and rules for trade with non-EU countries go to or download a copy of our Brexit customs guide.


Movement of goods - UK traders

The UK government has been issuing several technical notes throughout the past few weeks on several different issues that will affect businesses and citizens if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.  

For trade with other countries in a no-deal scenario, the UK has said that trade will take place under WTO rules and tariffs.  The UK is currently working on agreeing independent trading schedules with the WTO to determine how trading quotas and tariffs will apply.  All guidance can be found on

Preparing for a no-deal Brexit – letters to traders

If you are an EU-only trader based in the UK or Northern Ireland, you should have received a letter from HMRC asking you to take three actions to ensure that you are prepared for a possible no-deal Brexit.  Separate letters will issue to UK and Northern Ireland traders. It’s important to note that if you only import or export goods with Ireland across the Northern Ireland-Ireland land border, you do not need to take any of the actions set out in the letter.

The actions listed in the letters tell you to:

  1. Register for an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number using this link.Traders will need an EORI number to continue importing and exporting goods with the EU after 29 March 2019 if there is no deal agreed. Traders will also need an EORI number to apply for simplified customs procedures. We looked at EORI status as part of our Back to Brexit Basics series.
  2. Decide if you will make customs declarations yourself or hire an agent to do so on your behalf.If you make declarations yourself, you will need to ensure that you have the correct software.
  3. Make contact with the organisation that moves your goods (e.g. a haulage firm) to find out if they need any further information from you to make safety and security declarations for your goods. You may need to make these declarations yourself.

Read the text of the letter to UK and Northern Ireland traders.

More information on these changes can be found at and you can register to get updates on the UK’s exit from the EU using this link.

Simplified UK customs procedures if no deal

HMRC will introduce simplified customs procedures for 145,000 UK importers who trade with the EU in the event of a no-deal Brexit.  This will give traders a chance to prepare to apply the same customs processes when trading with the EU that already apply when trading with the rest of the world.  These simplified procedures will be in place for at least a year from 29 March 2019.

HMRC have written to affected traders telling them about the Transitional Simplified Procedures (TSP) for customs which will make importing easier for a year after Brexit in the event of a no-deal.

Businesses must register for TSP to be able to transport goods from the EU into the UK without having to make full customs declarations at the border. Traders are able to postpone paying import duties for a month after import.  Import VAT will be due on the next VAT return rather than when the goods arrive at the UK border.

Businesses can register for TSP from 7 February 2019 if they are established in the UK, import goods from the EU and have an EORI number.  

More information on the TSP can be found on and you can also read a copy of the letter sent to traders.

Roll on roll off ferries

Traders who use vehicles to drive onto ferries or trains to transport goods into or out of the UK will face additional customs obligations from 29 March 2019 in the event of a no-deal Brexit.  Traders using roll on roll off locations such as Dover port or the Channel Tunnel will have to submit customs declarations and pay any customs duty, excise duty or VAT that’s due.

Importing from the EU

If a trader imports goods into the UK from the EU using a roll on roll off listed location, they must make customs declarations before putting the goods on the ferry or train in the EU.  This is done by completing a Single Administrative Document (SAD) and filing it electronically. Customs declarations cannot be made when the goods arrive into the UK.

To prepare for these declarations, traders need to get an EORI number and decide whether they will use a customs agent or do the customs declarations themselves. If they decide to complete the customs declarations themself, they will need to buy software to make the declarations using CHIEF or the new Customs Declaration Service.  

Traders can apply for HMRC’s simplified customs procedures (TSP) to make sure that they can carry on transporting goods and to make customs processes easier to complete.

Once a customs declaration is made, a master reference number will be generated to show that a full or simplified customs procedure has been made.

Traders must then tell the HMRC that the goods have arrived and HMRC will take a direct debit for duties and taxes on the 15th day of the month after the goods arrive in the UK.

HMRC have provided further detailed information on these procedures as well as guidance for haulage companies, ferry operators and Channel Tunnel operators along with export procedures that should be adhered to for goods leaving the UK.  All information can be found on

Northern Ireland / Ireland trade

Different procedures will apply to trade between Ireland and Northern Ireland and more information will be provided as the procedures become known.