The end of next month, 31 October 2019, is the latest deadline for our exit from the EU and the recent hiatus seems to be pushing the UK ever closer to a no-deal outcome.
Accordingly, if you are involved in buying or selling goods to EU countries, you should apply now for an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number. Without an agreed withdrawal with the EU, you will need an EORI number that starts with GB to move goods in or out of the UK. Additionally, if you want to trade with an EU country you will also need an EU EORI number. It will start with the country code of the EU country you got it from. You should apply for one from the customs authorities in the EU country you will trade with. Apparently, you do not need an EORI number if you are only moving goods between Northern Ireland and Ireland.
If you do not apply, you may be faced with increased costs and delays. For example, if HMRC cannot clear your goods you may have to pay storage fees. Clearly, these delays could have serious repercussions if your exported goods are mired in red-tape at border crossings – your EU customers may look elsewhere for supplies – or your production and delivery in the UK may be affected if you cannot affect delivery of supplies from the EU.
There is a simple online application process to apply and there is no obligation to use the number if by some miracle we agree withdrawal terms with the EU before 31 October.