Ahead of a potential no-deal Brexit, the Government has announced that it is automatically enrolling UK firms in the customs system.
This should enable UK businesses to continue to trade with European Union (EU) members after the UK leaves the EU.
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has confirmed that all VAT-registered firms in the UK who have not already signed up to the customs system will receive their Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number.
An EORI number is a unique ID code used to track and register customs information.
At present, a business only requires an EORI number if it sells goods to, or imports goods from, outside the EU. However, if there is a ‘No Deal’ Brexit, businesses will not be able to continue to trade in goods with the EU without an EORI number.
For importers, an EORI number is required to obtain evidence of importation, which could allow the recovery of VAT paid when the goods enter the country. For exporters, the number is needed for customs declarations.
So far, over 72,000 companies have registered themselves for an EORI number, meaning that as of 31 October, if the UK has left the EU, these companies will be allowed to continue trading with customers and suppliers in the EU.
The government have said its auto-enrolment scheme would register 88,000 more businesses, also allowing them to trade with EU member states after Brexit.
Chancellor, Sajid Javid said: “The move would help ease the flow of goods at border points and support businesses to trade and grow.”