Exports, imports and shipping

Exports and imports

How will Brexit affect my sales in Europe and the US?

Delays are anticipated for export goods leaving the UK, especially at point of entry to the EU. Now is a good time to map out your supply chain and customer base across the EU nations. With the right planning, delays can be mitigated.

On the shipping front, there could be extra costs for publishers depending on the Incoterms with each customer. For example, if a UK publisher sells DDP to a European customer, they would then need to have an EU EORI number and entity to be the importer of record in the EU, including some VAT registration. If that is not the case, the consignee would need to be happy to accept DAP terms and deal with entry costs and administration.

Brexit potentially creates a lot of extra work and charges for consignees. This could encourage booksellers to buy from a source within the EU, rather than having to deal with the customs complication of sourcing from the UK.

The UK is seeking a free trade agreement with the US. Until that is reached, the UK will trade under World Trade Organisation rules.

How will Brexit affect imports of stock from Europe to sell in the UK?

A UK VAT registration will be required from first sale if the seller is non-established. If they are established in the UK then the normal VAT registration threshold of £85,000 will apply. In a no-deal Brexit environment, HMRC has indicated there will not be any import VAT payable at the point of import. Rather it will be accounted for like acquisition tax is now (ie a paper entry).

To avoid any bottlenecks for shipments from the EU at popular ports like Dover, you may consider asking for deliveries to be sent through other ports in the north of England. Should you need to track deliveries, your shipper should be able to provide delivery compliance reports.

What are the VAT and duty implications for selling print books via our distributor to vendors in Europe?

Check with your distributor, who should be able to explain the current position and keep you updated with any changes. There are likely to be customs clearance costs, and current advice is to pay no more than £30 per clearance.

What will be the best way to ship and return goods for display at events and conferences in the EU?

Once we leave the EU, it will be the same as shipping to a non-EU country—via an ATA Carnet or a Duplicate List. Check the government’s advice for taking goods out of the UK temporarily. Cost will be a consideration, as an ATA Carnet currently costs £325.96.

Shipping

What can I do to help minimise any shipping delays to European customers?

If you haven't already, contact your distributor to learn what plans they have in place to overcome delays at ports and points of entry into the EU. Ask them to send you regular updates. Check your distributor has all the necessary EU shipping and customs information for your products to continue supply to EU customers, like the country of printing origin for all your books.

It is vital to apply for an EORI number, or check if your company has been auto-enrolled and been sent it already. An EORI is like having an EU VAT number, and it only takes ten minutes to apply and secure one. Without it, your books won't be able to leave the UK.

There could be real issues around consolidated orders being held up by one order that doesn't have with the right information and paperwork for EU customs. It is worth checking with distributors if they will make sure that each order or element of every shipment complies with EU customs and shipping requirements.

To avoid this, consider no-consolidation instructions for large or urgent orders. Also consider exploring the viability of weekly consolidated shipments with your distributor, to mitigate customs costs for some customers. Current just-in-time ordering practices could increase the costs of customs clearance.

If you undertake deliveries yourself, consider opening up discussions with a reputable UK-based customs broker that understands EU flows, including the consolidations of books.

If you want to continue to sell on a DDP basis, ensure that you have EORI and EU VAT registration for where you are delivering to. Otherwise, look to effect an Incoterm change to DAP. This is critical or you will get customs delays.

Ensure that the Port compliance envelope at Calais has been complied with so that your import / export entry is linked to the truck. If your goods are moving under CTC Transit documentation, ensure that at destination the transit document is discharged. If in doubt, speak to your customs broker. Map out the flows to ensure everyone in the chain understands what their role will be.

What should I do about HMRC TSP numbers?

Some publishers have received a letter from HMRC to notify them of their unique Transitional Simplified Procedures (TSP) number. This to ease imports over the next 12 months if we leave the EU without a deal. This will make customs easier for an initial period of one year, and allow businesses time to prepare for future import processes.

Once businesses are registered for TSP, they will be able to transport goods from the EU into the UK without having to make a full customs declaration at the border, and will be able to postpone paying any import duties. The new procedures reduce the amount of information importers need to give in an import declaration when the goods are crossing the border, by deferring full declarations until after the goods have crossed the border. If tariffs apply to imports businesses with TSP registration can defer paying any import duties by setting up a direct debit.

Links

General government advice about imports

Current government advice for exports to the US

Country-by-country trading guide in the event of a no-deal Brexit

Proposed trading arrangements with non-EU countries

Government advice for taking goods out of the UK temporarily

Registration for TSP

Registration for EORI numbers

Step-by-step export planner