UK Transition Hub

UK Transition Hub

Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce Brexit Hub

The UK left the EU, including the single market and customs union, on 31 January 2020, and entered an 11 month transition period.

On 24 December 2020, the UK and EU negotiators reached an “agreement in principle” on the text of a new trade and cooperation agreement to govern their relations now that the UK has left the EU. The provisional application of this agreement went live on 1 January 2021 following the ratification of this agreement by both the EU and UK.

On the 31st December 2020 the ‘transition period’ ended and for some businesses, this is the first time that the practical effects of leaving the EU were experienced.

Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce is here to help businesses to understand and navigate the changes, to campaign for further clarity on our future trading relationship with the EU, and to make sure that Edinburgh thrives outside of the EU. Please see below some links to useful guides to help businesses prepare for and understand Brexit:

  • Find out more about Sector specific guidance here.
  • Read the 10 point Brexit Checklist to help your business with the changes
  • Brexit A – Z 
  • Read the Brexit FAQ’s which cover a range of topics, from documentation, to exporting of services, to VAT, tariffs and tax.
  • Use the Brexit Helpline for any queries from import and export documentation, tariffs, VAT to logistics – 0300 303 0661

The Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce has created a new Customs Declaration Service

ChamberCustoms is our new customs brokerage service.  (Please note our service does not include warehousing or logistics.)  Uniquely, it has been created to clear goods for import and export at every port in the UK.

Please visit our page Customs Declaration Service

Make sure your team is equipped for changes from 1st January by attending the Chamber’s range of international training courses. Visit our calendar here.


Brexit Hub FAQ

Once the transition period ends on the 31st December 2020, frictionless trade between the UK and the EU will come to an end, and a wide range of changes are likely to take effect. These are currently being negotiated by the EU and UK Government. There are however a few things you can be doing now to prepare to export after Brexit, and Edinburgh Chambers of Commerce will be able to help you with this.
Tariffs, also known as customs duties, are a tax levied on imports. Whilst The British Chambers of Commerce has been advocating for zero tariffs on trade between the UK and the EU after Brexit, tariffs may still be applied. What these will look like will depend on what trade deals the UK can negotiate.
If your business only trades within the EU then you may have no experience of customs duties, but in the future, you will need to consider the implications of these for pricing, purchasing decisions, and contracts. You may also need certain documents to make sure the right customs duties are applied to your goods. From 1 January 2021, you may need to make customs declarations when exporting goods to the EU. These rules currently apply to exporting goods to the rest of the world, including Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. Completing a customs declaration can be complicated and you may need specific software.
You may want to consider what percentage of your UK-based workforce is from the EU27, and make sure that your staff know the steps to take to register as an EU citizen working in the UK. EU nationals and their family members who have lived in the UK for at least five years by 31 December 2020 will be able to apply for UK Settled Status. Those who have been here for less than 5 years can apply for Pre-Settled status until they meet the full criteria. However, the application deadline for this – the 31st December 2020 – is fast approaching. Your workforce may need support with this. There may also be changes around the recognition of qualifications, both for UK professionals operating in the EU, and for EU professionals in the UK. You will need to check how these changes may affect the ability of your workforce to continue operating in the country they are currently based in. From January 2021, there will be a new UK immigration regime. The British Chambers of Commerce is advising the Home Office on this, using feedback from across the UK Chamber Network, so please get in touch with any thoughts, queries, or concerns around how immigration rules may best benefit your business via  
The rules for exporting and importing some types of goods will be changing on 1st January 2021. You may need to get a licence or certificate, and things like marketing, labelling, and declaring excise goods may be changing. You can check these here:  
If you move goods between the UK and EU, from 1st January you will need an EORI number that starts with GB. If you do not have one, you may have increased costs and delays. For example, HMRC cannot clear your goods you may have to pay storage fees. The British Chambers of Commerce successfully campaigned for the government to automatically issue VAT registered businesses that currently trade with the EU with an EORI number rather than making businesses apply. However, businesses that are not VAT registered and trade with the EU will still need to register for an EORI number, and it may take up to a week to get one. It only takes 5-10 minutes to apply and you can do so here: