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Exporting Goods and Services

The rules and regulations for exporting goods and services from the United Kingdom to international destinations and the EU changed in January 2021.

The information in this help guide explains how to move goods from Great Britain and Northern Ireland to other countries outside of the UK and the European Union.

Moving Goods Out of the United Kingdom

Exports are products or services that are produced in one country and then sold to overseas buyers. Often, international trade:

  • Fosters domestic economic activity and creates employment.
  • Increases sales and profits by reaching out to new markets.
  • Occurs on a large scale between different nations.
  • Presents additional opportunities to capture a significant share of the global market for any given good or service.

Note: Exporting can expose companies to a higher degree of financial risk (e.g. debt and bankruptcy). Another section explains more about the new rules for importing goods into the United Kingdom.

Exporting into Foreign Markets

There are noteworthy advantages for companies that export their products overseas. For example, an expansion in operations usually results in a demand increase – reducing the costs per-unit.

Yet, these particular companies also need to be aware of any trade barriers and limitations that may exist. As a rule, a trade barrier is a government-imposed measure or policy that restricts, prevents, or impedes international exchanges of products and services.

Hence, a selection of unique challenges will present themselves for most large corporations during any intentions of creating an economic powerhouse.

Conducting due diligence about foreign markets and having to modify products to meet local regulations creates extra expenses for the business.

This is the important part:

The journey of building a successful business presents many hurdles to overcome. But, the extra complexities of exporting goods from the United Kingdom after Brexit will also involve:

  • Dealing with prepayments and the processing of new consignments for non-domestic customers.
  • Handling different methods of payment collection (e.g. acquiring letters of credit, opening new accounts).
  • Deciding whether to complete the relevant customs declarations yourself or to hire the services of an intermediary to carry out the legalities on your behalf.

Note: The main section contains more advice and information about business regulations and finance laws in the United Kingdom.

Customs Agents and Brokers

The help guide explains why appointing a customs intermediary or broker to handle HMRC declarations is not essential – but it usually keeps the goods moving smoothly.

Economic Operators Registration and Identification

Check who needs to get an EORI number (e.g. for moving commercial goods around the United Kingdom or to other international destinations).

Fast Parcel Operators

The section explains the rules to follow when using a fast parcel operator for importation and exportation to and from the United Kingdom.

Intrastat Guide

This section contains instructions about registering for Intrastat and providing the required information – including areas where special arrangements may apply.

Researching Export Markets

Use this resource guide to research export markets, find overseas customers, check barriers for trading abroad, and the current duties and customs procedures.

Note: First established in 1919, UK Export Finance is an export credit agency that provides finance and insurance for exporters to help them win, fulfill, and get paid for export contracts.

Special Rules and Licences

Animal By-Products (ABP)

A help guide for businesses that are trading in animal by-products (ABP) from Great Britain (England, Scotland, and Wales).

Art, Antiques, and Cultural Goods

This section explains the special rules for exporting cultural goods (e.g. archaeological items, antiques, furniture) from the United Kingdom.


Even though you do not need a licence to export jewels, gold, and other precious metals, you must use the KPCS scheme when exporting uncut (rough) diamonds.

Food, Drink, and Agricultural Products

A section for GB businesses that export food, drink, and agricultural products to (or through) Northern Ireland, the EU, and non-EU countries.

Taking Goods to Sell Overseas

You can take goods to sell outside the United Kingdom (e.g. inside accompanied baggage or in a private vehicle), but you must complete a customs declaration form.

Temporary Exports

There is a special process for businesses that need to take goods temporarily out of the United Kingdom and then bring them back in at a later date (reimport).

Help Guides: Exporting Goods and Services

Note: This short video presented by HMRC explains more about the new customs and tax rules when exporting goods from Great Britain to Europe.

Help Guide for Exporting Goods from the United Kingdom