A range of regulations must be complied with by businesses trading internationally, including those in this sector. The key issues relate to the Tariff, duties, Intrastat and intellectual property.
Using the Integrated Tariff
A common customs tariff is applied across all European Union (EU) countries on goods imported from outside the EU, while details of specific duties and measures are contained in the Integrated Tariff of the United Kingdom. See an introduction to the Tariff.
Read more about the classification of goods.
The Tariff is used to determine the specific classification code of your goods and to find:
any licensing requirements that apply
the rates of duty and import VAT that apply
any additional charges, such as anti-dumping duties
any available preferential duty rates
Preferential rates of duty
The Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) allows originating products from a wide range of developing countries to be imported into the EU at a reduced or zero rate of duty. For more information on how to determine whether a product is an originating one, read Notice 830 - Tariff Preference: New GSP rules of origin.
Read more about using trade preferences.
The European Community has a number of other preferential trade agreements with third countries, as a result of which goods may attract preferential rates of duty.
If you are VAT registered and the goods you acquire from or supply to VAT-registered businesses in other EU countries reach the Intrastat exemption threshold for the year, you must submit monthly supplementary declarations to HMRC. The current thresholds are £1.5 million for Arrivals and £250,000 for Dispatches.
Intrastat is the method of collecting information and producing statistics on goods traded between EU member states. See Intrastat - reporting the value and volume of intra-EU trade. Intrastat is only applicable to VAT-registered traders.
Intellectual property (IP)
You should ensure that imported goods do not breach the IP rights of other businesses, eg watch out for counterfeit goods and design infringements. Infringing goods can be seized and destroyed by HMRC. You can ask HMRC to check for imported counterfeit versions of your goods. Read how HMRC can help protect your IP rights.