Under no deal, the UK can set its own rules and procedures for imports, provided they apply equally to everyone. However, the EU will expect us to comply with their existing requirements for non-EU countries.

The government have created a series of flow charts to help businesses understand what they need to do to carry on exporting if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. Each map sets out the key steps to follow in order to ensure the export goes successfully.

Yes, in the event of no deal, processes at the border will change and new duties will be applied. It is important to understand who would be legally liable for these charges. To establish this, refer to the Incoterms within your contracts.

If you are not satisfied, you would then need to consider renegotiating your contracts:

There is a further issue concerning the General Data Protection Regulations GDPR which the UK government plan to incorporate into UK law post Brexit.  There is more information and recommendations in the GDPR question however it is important that your contracts contain a section on GDPR. 

For non European customers it is believed that there will be little change.  For more details please check here.

In the vast majority of cases this is best done by putting in place a contract between you and the sender on EU approved terms known as standard contractual clauses (SCC). If the UK leaves the EU without a deal you need to put the contract in place before that date.  Here is a tool to help you find which SCC’s you need to use. Keep data flowing from the EEA to the UK – interactive tool

More information is available from the ICO website Data protection and no-deal Brexit for small businesses and organisations

The Rules of Origin laws determine the “economic nationality” of traded goods and their components.  Trade agreements can include preferential tariffs for goods of a certain origin. In days where businesses used locally produced raw materials, establishing and proving the origin of a product was fairly straightforward, but has become more complex as both raw materials and processed parts and ingredients are traded around the world.  In its trade agreements, The European Union usually has some of the most demanding Rules of Origin for agrifood goods.

Further information is available at

Once the UK leaves the EU, unless it remains part of a Customs Union which includes agrifood products, exports from the UK will be subject to tariffs if there is no future trade agreement (i.e. trading on ‘WTO terms’).  If there is a trade agreement, reduced tariffs will apply only to goods which satisfy the agreed Rules of Origin.  Taking the EU-Canada agreement as a model, that could for example mean that goods made with flour milled in the UK would have to pay a full tariff, if any USA wheat had been used in making the flour.  Similar restrictions would apply in relation to goods containing sugar, dairy products, cereals, meat etc.  

A fuller explanation of this, and suggestions of how the problem might be addressed in UK-EU negotiations, are set out in a report commissioned by UK food sector organisations, which can be found here:

That is difficult to estimate. It would depend on many factors including the state of relationships after Brexit and the type of trade deal sought by the UK.

Purpose built trade deals usually take several years to negotiate and ratify. For instance, the deal between the EU and Canada took five years, however conversations began in 2009. However, the EU and UK have previously been trading without barriers, making it a different start point to any previous trade negotiations.

Yes, provided you supply the goods into Ireland. If your customer takes ownership of the goods in the UK and then moves them on to Ireland, dealing with customs would be their responsibility.

The UK will become a ‘third country’ for EU VAT purposes, subject to the same rules that rest of the world countries are now. The changes this would bring are summarised in this document:

For buying goods from the EU, the summary of changes from the UK government is available here:

This includes a system of postponed accounting so that companies can account for import VAT on their regular VAT returns rather than at the point of importing. If in doubt, seek advice from a tax expert.

The Institute of Export and International Trade maintains a list of customs agents (also known as brokers) here:

After a no deal Brexit, whoever is legally responsible for importing your goods into the EU will need to complete an EU customs declaration. It will be their choice whether to complete the administration themselves or to employ an agent to do this on their behalf. 

If they are buying products of animal origin from you (meat, dairy etc) they will also need to pre-notify their customs authority using the EU’s TRACES system.

Please note that although we are developing FTAs with a number of new countries this is not a guarantee that we will be able to sell them meat, dairy or potatoes. It is important to disaggregate FTA’s from Phytosanitary checks.

You need to follow special rules to export animal products that will be used as food, for example:

  • frozen or fresh meat and fish
  • dairy products
  • honey
  • gelatine, lard or blood

What you need to do depends on if you’re exporting within the EU or outside the EU. You will usually need to complete an export health certificate (EHC) and some supporting documents to be able to export your product.

There also needs to be a bilateral arrangement on a product by product basis. For example we have approval from China to ship certain pork products from specified factories, however this does not currently include trotters nor other meats.  At the same time we do not have a Free Trade Agreement either directly or through the EU. We have been told that all countries that we currently trade with under EU certification will be transposed to UK certification.

This link will bring you to a  government look up site to see the countries and the specified products for which we have agreed EHC’s.  

The new digital platform is going to help enormously when it comes to generating EHCs in comparison to producing the current watermarked paper copies. This was intended to be ready by October 31st however a date has not yet been announced. We have been told there is a potential 3 week delay. Look out for any news on this and we will then also update this site.

The latest government advice on export health certificates is maintained here:


  1. Check that you have an EORI number. If not; please contact HMRC
  2. Check your commodity/tariff codes
  3. If eligible, register for Transitional Simplified Procedures
  4. Check processes for imports of high risk goods
  5. Decide if you will use a customs agent

For further information please refer to the FDF guide:

UK Government has issued guidance to businesses importing plants and plant products from the EU and third countries:

After the UK leaves the EU, plants and plant products (for example, vegetables, seeds and fruit) that are currently managed under the EU plant passport scheme will be subject to UK import controls. There is a new process that businesses must follow for which details can be found here:

Further information on plant passports can be found here:

UK Government has issued guidance to businesses on importing animals and products of animal origin from the EU and third countries:

Check the port you use has the correct authorisation and identify the EU Border Inspection Posts (BIPs) you may need to use when exporting certain products especially those of animal origin.

Outbound livestock and animal products from the UK into EU 27 will have to pass through a designated Border Inspection Post (BIP) at the point of entry. You can’t just turn up at a BIP; every consignment has to be booked in advance. For cross-Channel shipments, there are BIPs at Dunquerque, le Havre and Caen, but current throughput at the Dunquerque BIP is already at two thirds total capacity.

Ports such as Rotterdam and Calais have made significant preparations for a no-deal Brexit. Importantly, Calais is launching a ‘smart border’ scheme that will prevent delays using a combination of pre-clearance of goods, number plate recognition and away-from-the-border checks.

UK guidance to French customs in the event of a no-deal Brexit can be found here. French Guidance (in english) can be downloaded here.


  1. Check that you have an EORI number. If not; please contact HMRC
  2. Check your commodity/tariff codes
  3. Know what health certificates your products need
  4. Check your product labelling
  5. Decide if you will use a customs agent

For further information please refer to the FDF guide:

The French customs authority’s advice to companies preparing for Brexit is available here:

This confirms that the French government will introduce the full set of inspections currently required for non-EU imports entering the EU.

However, it has developed a ‘smart border system’ to support the flow of trade.

Drivers will need to carry a barcode linking the number plate of the vehicle with the customs declaration. Based on this information, vehicles will be directed into lanes, depending on the type of inspection required.

In a no-deal scenario, the UK will become a third country and will need to meet EU third country import requirements to export regulated plants and plant products to the EU. UK Government has made guidance available to businesses exporting plants here:

There will be significant changes. In a no-deal scenario, the UK will become a third country and will need to meet EU third-country imports requirements on all animals or products of animal origin exported to the EU. 

UK meat plants will no longer be able to use an EU registration mark and will need to obtain a GB or UK licence. This will need to be put on all carcases and labels. Products of animal origin will need an Export Health Certificate and must enter the EU via a Border Inspection Post (BIP). Most fish products will need a catch certificate.

Further detailed guidance on the UK Government website can be found here:

Yes, this was in doubt for a while because the port of Calais didn’t originally have a Border Inspection Post required for inspecting these products. However, that is now constructed and is ready to operate, when necessary.

These are not subject to any special inspections, certification or controls. You will however need to adopt the procedures required for all food exports:

The following will be either useful or essential:

This will need to include a breakdown between ex-works goods price, freight and insurance. It will also need to include the HS code(s) for the goods concerned.

The UK regulator, the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA), says that phytosanitary certificates are not required for the export of grain or grain products to the EU, and that it will not issue them.  Should your EU customer insist on a phytosanitary certificate for these products, please contact the APHA.

Export Health certificates (EHC) and other documentation currently used for imports into the EU will be accepted for 6 months after the UK leaves the EU with no-deal. New UK certificates will be available at some stage and users should stay alert for new developments.

The most up to date health certificates are available online. As the forms are subject to constant revision, users should ONLY use the online version of the EHC. If an application is submitted on an older version the export will not be valid. Please click here and input the destination country you wish to export to and the commodity type.

Those exporting Pigmeat may wish to use UKECP’s detailed site here.

No.  The UK will not have third-country equivalence from exit day. The UK will need to reapply to the EU for ‘third-country equivalence’ on plant reproductive material certification and DUS testing if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

However, the UK has transposed the list from the EU and will allow all EU varieties to be imported.

The UK government can only apply to the EU for the British catalogue to be recognised once it has left the EU.

More guidance can be found at

Groupage rules between Defra and the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) have been agreed and this will make the process for getting your Export Health Certificates (EHCs) approved easier, should the UK leave the EU without a deal. To take advantage of this, exporters will need to become a member of the Trusted Supplier Scheme, which will allow you to use support attestations to facilitate the provision of information from upstream suppliers to the Certifying Officers.

In order to apply for TSS, please see annex 111 in the guidance on the following link. Full groupage guidance for suppliers, exporters and certifying officers can be found  here.

Note: This scheme is limited to exports of specific categories of products which have been processed in approved food establishments to the EU.

Trade with the rest of the world

Leaving the EU will affect the UK’s trade with the rest of the world in a variety of ways.

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal it will introduce a new tariff schedule. See the section on Tariffs on this site for more details.

These tariffs would apply to imports from all countries, except for those where a trade deal is in place.

The UK currently participates in around 40 trade agreements negotiated by the EU with more than 70 countries, representing c11% of the UK’s total trade. All of these would legally cease to apply as soon as the UK leaves the EU.  

However the UK is seeking to negotiate “continuity agreements” with as many of these countries as possible. A list of the agreements agreed to date is kept here:

Under these continuity agreements, the tariffs applied to imports entering the UK would be unchanged, unless the new default UK rate is lower, in which case that would apply.  

For exports from the UK, there will be no difference when sending goods to countries that do not have a trade deal with the EU. The UK already trades on a WTO ‘Most Favoured Nation’ basis with these countries and will continue to do so.  

For those that do have a deal and have signed a continuity agreement, the changes will probably be minimal apart from the Rules of Origin. To qualify for a preferential tariff, products will need to meet the criteria as UK-produced, and not just EU-produced as currently.

However, there may be additional technicalities within some agreements that could affect you, so seek advice if you’re not sure.

For those countries that have a trade deal with the EU but have not signed a continuity agreement with the UK, exports from the UK will become subject to each country’s default WTO tariffs and rules.  

There may also be some gaps between the UK leaving the EU without a deal and certain continuity agreements coming into legal force. If so, there would be a limited period of trading under basic WTO rules with these countries. Check for information on this at the time.

Extra complications will apply for any trade between the UK and the rest of the world that is routed via the EU. Again, seek expert advice if you are unclear about this.