How far will auto-enrolment go in turbocharging No Deal Brexit preparations?

Tue 20 Aug 2019
Posted by: William Barns-Graham
Trade News

eori enrolment

Much has been written in the media this week about leaked government papers showing the potential impact of a ‘No Deal Brexit’ on British businesses and society. The government nonetheless continues to go about ‘turbo-charging’ no deal preparations, with the BBC reporting that a decision has been made in principle to ‘auto-enrol’ VAT-registered businesses with EORI numbers.

Businesses that export are required to have an EORI number in order to complete customs declarations forms. Business exporting only to the EU will therefore be required to have an EORI number for the first time should a no deal occur.

HMRC has previously pushed for businesses to voluntarily apply for their EORI number so that they would begin to properly engage with exporting processes that they will need to become more adept in post Brexit. However, of the 250,000 businesses identified by HMRC as needing to apply for EORI numbers to continue exporting to Europe after Brexit, only around 71,000 have so far taken the step to do so.

Importantly, attaining an EORI number is only a first step. As Faisal Islam, Economics Editor at BBC News, points out:

“The bigger point here is that the EORI number really is just the first step. There are Common Transit Convention barcodes, actual customs declarations, animal origin and plant health checks, and export health certificates too.”

Regardless of whether businesses automatically or voluntarily enrol with an EORI number, there is a pressing need for businesses to learn and do training in vital export skills – including completing customs declarations, working with customs agents, weighing their goods for shipment and mitigating risks of delays at the border during what could be a difficult period for the UK’s ports.

The IOE&IT provides training in several of these key Customs processes, so don’t delay, start preparing today, because if you don’t prepare for the worst, the worst really could happen: