Brexit Changes Coming in 2021

Author - Tom Kennedy

Date published:

In January 2021, the UK left both the European Single Market and Customs Union and the new UK-EU relationship began under the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement. This is not, however, the end of the changes in this relationship. The full implementation of the new relationship will be phased in over the next several years, as different grace periods and easements are ended, while negotiations in other areas may well result in further changes.

This page hopes to outline the key changes and deadlines associated with the continued implementation of the new UK-EU relationship this year, and will be updated and circulated to Chamber members as things change.

June 2021

June 30 – Deadline for applications to the EU Settlement Scheme

  • EU Citizens and families will need to apply to remain in the UK before the end of 30 June 2021. 
  • The application link can be found here.
  • You can read Chamber policy advisor, Niamh Corcoran’s, primer on the scheme and what employers need to know here.

June 30 – End of grace period for trade in selected meat products between Great Britain and Northern Ireland

  • New checks and customs formalities are expected to come into place on 1 July 2021.
  • These checks would stop the import of chilled (non-frozen) meat to Northern Ireland.
  • This has been a source of much controversy, with the UK wishing to avoid these new checks from the previously agreed date – this has been known as the “sausage war” in the media.  
  • Negotiations over this and further aspects of the Northern Ireland Protocol are ongoing, with the terms of trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland possibly changing as a result in the future. The UK has requested for this grace period to be extended.

June 30 – End of data ‘bridge’ allowing free transfer of data between the UK and the EU.

  • The EU has, as of 28 June 2021, granted the UK an ‘adequacy decision’, and data will be able to travel between the two parties. You can read more about the agreement here.
  • This ‘bridge’ formed part of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement and allowed for data from the EU and the UK to flow between the two territories seamlessly.
  • The bridge was initially intended to last for 4 months but was extended until the end of June.
  • This bridge served as mechanism to allow business continuity and stability while the European Union decided whether or not to grant the UK a ‘data adequacy decision’, deeming that UK data protection measures are stringent enough to meet EU standards.

June 30 – Expiration and replacement of current UK steel Tariff Rate Quotas (TRQs)

  • Secretary of State, Liz Truss, made the decision on 1 July 2021 to extend 15 of the 19 measures. This is a greater level of protection for the domestic steel industry than the Trade Remedies Authority recommended.
  • The full steel safeguard notice and justification for this decision can be found here.
  • Tariff rate quotas determine how much of a single product can enter the UK market tariff-free – in this example, steel. Once this limit has been reached, a tariff will be applied to further imports of steel. These measures act as safeguards for domestic steel manufacturers.
  • There were previously 19 different measures in place related to steel imports. These measures expired on 30th June.
  • The UK Trade Remedies Authority recommended that 10 of these measures should be replaced, while 9 measures should be removed.

July 2021

1st July – Introduction of the European Union’s ‘Import One-Stop Shop’ (IOSS) for Import VAT.

  • This forms part of changes to the EU VAT system on Business to Consumer (B2C) sales.
  • Rather than registering in each individual EU member state, the One Stop Shop allows businesses, including those in the UK, to register with one tax authority within the EU through an intermediary, and file VAT returns for all of their EU sales.
  • Further guidance and information is available from Royal Mail here.  

1st July – Six months since the implementation of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement.

  • If businesses used simplified or delayed import declarations, they may be required to submit additional information about their imported goods up to six months after import. If goods were imported on January 1st 2021, their deadline for this additional information would be July 1st.
  • It is important that businesses are aware of whether their imported goods were imported under full, simplified or delayed declarations, so they do not fail to present their required information or paperwork.
  • Guidance on delayed and simplified import declarations can be found here and here respectively.

October 2021

1st October – Import controls on Sanitary-Phytosanitary Products (SPS) entering Great Britain.

  • This grace period has already been extended from March 2021.
  • UK importers will require Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) certification – Export Health Certificates for Products of Animal Origin and a Phytosanitary Certificate for plants and plant products.
  • Importers will also need to pre-notify the goods movement to IPAFFS (Import of products, animals, food and feed system) – guidance on this is available here.
  • A note from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on the extension of this grace period is available here.

December 2021

31st December – End of Rules of Origin easement for supplier’s declarations.

  • Since 1st January 2021, UK manufacturers have not been required to provide supplier’s declarations from business suppliers, to prove that goods going into their final products are of UK origin upon export.
  • From 31st December 2021, businesses will have an increased burden of paperwork when proving that their goods meet the Rules of Origin set out in the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement. Businesses will need to demonstrate that their suppliers’ products are compliant with the Rules of Origin, as well as their final products.
  • Guidance on Rules of Origin is available here and guidance on supplier’s declarations is available here.

31st December – End of grace period for medicines entering Northern Ireland from Great Britain.

  • This grace period was put in place to ensure that supplies of medicines between Great Britain and Northern Ireland were not strained.
  • From January 1st 2022, medicines supplied from Great Britain to Northern Ireland will require increased importation controls including certification by a ‘qualified person’.
  • Full guidance on moving medicines between GB and NI is available here.

31st December – Deadline for CE mark for goods on the UK market.

  • The CE mark, which signifies that a product has met the required standards to be placed on the market in the EU, is still being accepted in the UK for most products.
  • This will no longer be the case by the end of December 2021 and the UKCA will be required to place goods on the UK market.
  • The UKCA mark will not be recognised on the EU market.
  • Guidance on using the UKCA mark is available here

31st December – End of the grace period for UK import controls on non-SPS goods from the EU.

  • The full UK customs border has not yet been implemented.
  • From the beginning of next year, full import controls will begin on goods entering Great Britain from the EU.
  • This will mean full declarations become a requirement for importers and may mean an increase in the number of checks on goods entering Great Britain.
  • This grace period was intended to end in July 2021 but has been extended by six months to grant businesses more time to get ready.

Further changes to come…

End of the Trader Support Service (TSS) for goods movements in and out of Northern Ireland (expected 2023).

The end of the Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system and the introduction of the Customs Declaration System (CDS) (expected 2023).

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