UK Trade Tariffs, Tax & Customs

UK Trade Tariffs, Tax & Customs

how to navigate UK trade regulations.

UK Trade Tariffs, Tax & Customs

Selling to the UK offers considerable opportunity, but businesses should be aware that importing goods into Britain is a highly regulated area.

While the UK is in the Brexit transition period, import laws and regulations differ depending on whether you are based in an EU or non-EU country.

The UK is currently still part of the EU Customs Union and applies the EU common customs tariff, known as the TARIC.

The main areas to consider for businesses importing to the UK include:

Commodity codes

If you’re importing from a non-EU country, one of the first steps is to find the correct commodity code to classify your goods for taxes. Businesses can use the Government’s Trade Tariff tool to find the relevant code.

The codes are used to complete document such as declarations and to check if there is any VAT or duty payable or any duty reliefs available.

Importing from an EU country still requires a commodity code and an EORI code but you will not pay duties on trade within the EU.


VAT will need to be paid in most cases on the goods you wish to bring into the UK.

Obtain an EORI number

You will also need an Economic Operator Registration and Identification scheme (EORI) is a number you must have if you trade or carry out customs activities in the European Union.

Duties & customs procedures

Depending on how your goods are classified, you may need to pay a duty tax on your goods or services entering the UK. Goods produced in the European Union do not incur a duty but still require a commodity code and an EORI code.


EU regulations are more thorough than many other countries. You will need to check if the goods you import into the UK are restricted.

Divergence in UK policy

It’s also important to know that while the UK trades as one nation, it comprises four individual countries – England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales – each with their own parliaments, and given current political momentum, we are likely to see more divergence in laws and approaches between the different nations.

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