Despite the ever-increasing possibility of a no-deal Brexit, it seems that UK exporters are not adequately prepared for the difficulties this would cause them. The Liberal Democrats obtained alarming information from HMRC which highlighted that only 3 in 10 UK companies who export to the EU have obtained an Economic Operator Registration & Identification (EORI) number.
Without an EORI number, UK companies will be lacking the necessary paperwork and documentation needed to export goods to the EU. There are currently 245,000 UK businesses exporting to the EU but as of December 2018, only 66,000 of them have acquired an EORI number. At the current rate, it will take until 2021 before all UK businesses are covered, a date well beyond the no-deal deadline.
These worrying figures show that few companies are doing enough to prepare for a hard Brexit. An EORI number will be crucial in a post-Brexit UK as companies cannot trade with the EU without one in a no-deal scenario. There are limited exceptions to this rule, with the most notable excluding its application to businesses that trade solely across the Irish border and those that already have an EORI number.
Securing an EORI number for your company could not be easier too. Using the UK government’s website, applying for an EORI number is a free and simple process taking no more than 15 minutes. Successful applicants will have received their EORI number within 3 working days. For the UK’s exporters, there will be a lot of information to take on board over the coming months, and an EORI number is the first step towards getting Brexit ready.
For more information on securing an EORI number, read our step by step guide on getting an EORI number.
Robert McConnell, NI Chamber