As the European Union (EU) is a customs union, you can buy most goods from other member countries without restrictions - although VAT and excise duty can still apply. Read more about trading in the European Union.
If you import from outside the EU, you may have to comply with import licensing requirements and with common customs tariffs that apply across the EU. Read more about importing your goods from outside the EU.
HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) runs the Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) scheme. While the scheme is not compulsory, companies that meet the requirements of the scheme will be registered as AEOs and can take advantage of simplified customs procedures that relate to the security and safety of their goods in transit.
Under Registration, Evaluation, and Authorisation of Chemicals (REACH) legislation, importers or manufacturers of more than one tonne of chemicals a year must register and work with the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA). Read more about REACH legislation.
Import restrictions can be product-specific or trade-specific. Many products are subject to product-specific standards and need to be supported by applicable certificates, product-specific licences and documentation.
Quite separately, quantitative restrictions or limitations and anti-dumping duties may apply to certain imported commodities.
You need a licence to import most iron and steel products. There are also a small number of quantitative quotas against a few exporting countries, for which you will need to apply for an import licence.
Find out if you need an export or import licence.
Certain raw materials can be imported duty-free if adequate supplies can't be sourced from within the EU. Under a temporary duty suspension, unlimited quantities can be imported. Under a tariff quota, duty-free imports are limited - once the quota is used up, payment of duty resumes.
Goods imported to the UK must comply with domestic business standards, including those relating to health and safety, standards compliance, environmental protection, planning permission and tax.