EU Transition and
International Trade

Doing business with Europe has changed. You need to follow new rules on exports, imports, tariffs, data and hiring. Act now to keep your business moving. 

Visit and use the Brexit checker tool to get a personalised list of actions that your business needs to take, and sign up to receive updates on these.

To help businesses adapt to these changes, a range of information has been made available:

You can contact the government’s helplines for free business advice: 


Business Support Helpline (England) 

0800 998 1098 

Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm 


HMRC Customs & International Trade Helpline 

0300‌ ‌322‌ ‌9434 

Monday to Friday, 8am to 10pm and from 8am to 4pm at weekends. 

You can also send HMRC your questions or use their webchat service. 

York businesses can access free advice and guidance from Enterprise Growth Solutions (EGS). This is funded by Leeds City Region and York and North Yorkshire Enterprise Partnerships.


The Yorkshire & Humber EU Transition Support Service provides quick access to EU Transition support requirements to help businesses navigate the UK’s new trading relationship with the EU.


Businesses can discuss the new rules, regulations or trading environment, or access support to create new opportunities.


Contact or 0300 365 1000. 

Delivered by the global law firm, Squire Patton Boggs, the EU Exit Legal Clinic provides SMEs in the Leeds City Region in West and North Yorkshire with free expert guidance on EU Exit-related legal issues.  Available until 31 March, businesses can access up to one hour of support, covering matters related to:

  • Contracts and other legal agreements 
  • Data protection 
  • Regulatory compliance  
  • Intellectual Property 
  • Employment law
  • Any other legal matters presented by SMEs

Contact the LEP Gateway on 

BEIS webinars


To support business preparations the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is hosting free webinars to help you check the new rules and understand the actions to take. Following the live events, the webinars are available to watch on demand. 

These webinars are tailored to different sectors, including:

  • life sciences
  • aerospace
  • construction
  • consumer goods 
  • metals and other materials 
  • retail
  • automotive
  • electronics and materials

Register or watch on demand here and for the latest updates on webinars for businesses visit  


Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) webinars

The LEP is working with Greenborough Management Ltd on a series of webinars from January - March 2021 to support SMEs around the implications of the UK’s new trading relationship with the EU. Topics include: 

  • EU Exit – What Now?
  • 5 Key Factors to Propel your Business Internationally
  • Employment Law and Brexit
  • Funding Supply Chains
  • Multilingual Copywriting

See the full programme and booking information here: ERDF and EU Exit Webinars

Updated 16 March 2021 - The £20 million SME Brexit Support Fund is now open for applications. The fund will help smaller businesses with changes to trade rules with the EU, enabling traders to access practical support, including training for new customs, rules of origin and VAT processes.


The SME Brexit Support Fund could give you up to £2,000 if your business has up to 500 employees, and no more than £100 million annual turnover. SMEs who import or export goods between Great Britain and the EU, or move goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, can apply for grants of up to £2,000, to pay for practical support including training and professional advice to ensure they can continue trading effectively with the EU.


To be eligible, your business must:

  • be established in the UK
  • have been established in the UK for at least 12 months before submitting the application, or currently hold Authorised Economic Operator status
  • not have previously failed to meet its tax or customs obligations
  • have no more than 500 employees
  • have no more than £100 million turnover
  • import or export goods between Great Britain and the EU, or moves goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Your business must also either:

  • complete (or intend to complete) import or export declarations internally for its own goods
  • use someone else to complete import or export declarations but requires additional capability internally to effectively import or export (such as advice on rules of origin or advice on dealing with a supply chain)

For more information on the SME Brexit Support Fund, and to apply, click here


Applications will close on 30 June 2021 or earlier if all funding is allocated before this date.

Are you or anyone you work with an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen, resident in the UK before 31 December 2020?


To continue living in the UK beyond 30 June 2021, you and any family members need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.


For more information and to apply, visit

As the Transition period has now ended, businesses involved in international trade need to be ready for new customs arrangements. Guidance on import licences and export licences for 2021 has also been updated. 


Four steps for importers and exporters to take now:

HMRC has published guidance on applying for grants for recruitment, training and IT improvements if businesses complete customs declarations. In addition, the following information has been updated:


List of customs agents and fast parcel operators   

Draft and final notices to be made under the Customs Regulations 

The Northern Ireland Protocol came into force on 1 January 2021, and specific guidance and training is available on moving goods into, out of, or through Northern Ireland.


Sign up for the free Trader Support Service which:

  • will help if you move goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, or bring goods into Northern Ireland from outside the UK
  • is free to use and will guide you through any changes to the way goods move between Great Britain and Northern Ireland
  • can complete declarations on your behalf

It can help if you:

  • are moving the goods yourself
  • act on behalf of someone
  • send parcels between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, or bring parcels into Northern Ireland from outside the UK



sign up for the free Trader Support Service which:

The Northern Ireland Protocol came into force from 1 January 2021The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy has issued guidance on using the new UKNI conformity marking required when placing goods on the market in Northern Ireland. 

Updated 19 November -  Letters from the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy have been sent to UK businesses about the specific actions their sectors need to take from 1 January 2021.

Click on the links below to read the sector-specific guidance:

Advanced manufacturing sector

Agri-food and biosecurity sector

Consumer goods sector

Metals and other materials sector

Life sciences sector

Chemicals sector

Retail sector

Professional and business services sector

Construction sector

Letter to businesses

UK intellectual property law has changed from 1 January 2021 to ensure the smooth departure from EU IP systems, affecting how the Intellectual Property (IP) system and the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) will operate. These changes affect:

Find information about the key changes here: Intellectual Property after 1 January 2021

Help is available to ensure your business is ready:

  • Consider carefully where to disclose your designs to ensure they have adequate protection in their most important market. 
  • If you export IP-protected goods on the secondary or parallel market, contact the rights holder in the EEA to see if you have permission to continue to parallel export.
  • Consider if you want exports to continue if you are a business that owns the IP rights for goods currently parallel exported from the UK to the EEA.


New service available to search and classify, trade mark goods and services


When applying to register a UK trade mark, use the new search UK trade mark classes service on to specify the goods and/or services you are seeking protection for.


This service will allow you to search for the goods and services you intend to use your trade mark on before you apply.


Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT)


The PCT fee structure has also changed and a new fee structure for PCT applications is in effect from 1 January 2021. Find out more about the changes here.


If you do not take action, there is a risk your business operations will be interrupted. You can find out what other actions you may need to take by using the checker tool at and signing up for the Government’s business readiness updates.

International Trade:
news and opportunities

The Department for International Trade (Yorkshire and Humber) is running programmes to support local businesses with their export ambitions. 

  • The brand new Export Academy is for small businesses to raise confidence and grow sales. Through a series of webinars, roundtables and mentoring sessions, you will graduate from the programme with a completed export action plan, enabling you to take your business direct to international customers. Register now 

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