In this latest Newsletter of our Brexit series, we turn to the subject of selling goods to businesses in the EU.

From 1st January 2021, all businesses that are exporting goods to businesses in the EU are required to make Customs declarations via the National Export System (NES), under the same rules that currently apply to exporting goods to the rest of the world.

Here is a step by step guide to ensure that you comply with these rules;

  • You must have an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number.  You can apply for EORI here;
  • You will need to know the commodity codes for the goods you are exporting.  These can be found here;
  • Check whether any special licences or certification is required to export your goods.  For instance military goods, firearms, animals and plants all require licences;
  • Ensure you will have the necessary evidence of export to satisfy VAT zero-rating conditions e.g. obtain a certificate of shipment, airwaybill, bill of lading, copy of official Customs declaration. Further guidance is available here;
  • Register for NES and obtain access to Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF). Register here;
  • Complete export declarations via web, email or XML data file.

In order to make the Customs declarations, you can do this yourself, hire someone else such as a courier, freight forwarder or Customs agent, or use a community systems provider or specialist Customs software.

You can read our previous editions here.

If you have any queries, please contact our Brexit Team at or on 0330 088 7111.