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Exporting into the UK from a non-EU country

Guidance for traders seeking export goods from outside of the EU into the UK

Global trade

Alinea provide commercial services to entrepreneurs, including the provision of customs declarations services and legal agreements for contractors; including suppliers, consignors, and distributors. 

If you are seeking to export goods from a country outside of the EU into the United Kingdom you are advised to complete the following administrative processes:

1.)Ensure the UK receiver has an EORI number - An EORI number is used within the United Kingdom and the European Union to quantify trade, and move goods in and out between borders. 

2.) Classify your goods -  Members of the World Trade Organisation use the Harmonised System Nomenclature (HS or HSN) code to classify goods. The HS code is used for: Collection of international trade statistics; provision of a rational basis for a Customs tariff and uniform classification and will be applied to classify the goods at the border of the country that you are exporting from. Within the UK this is known as a Commodity Code. Check HMRC's: Trade Tariff Tool to find the right code for your goods

3.) Calculate the customs value of your goods and include a Commercial Invoice for customs. This could be based upon the price that you have paid to bring your goods to the border, and a seller's invoice may be required. The value of the goods should include:

  • delivery to the EU border
  • commissions (except buying commission)
  • royalties and licence fees you have paid on the imported goods as a condition of sale
  • containers and packing
  • any proceeds of resale the seller will recieve
  • goods and services you give to the seller for free or at a reduced cost - for example, parts you use in the imported goods, or development and design work carried out outside the EU and needed to produce the imports

In addition to this, include

  • Include all incidental expenses you incur up to the goods' first destination in the UK, for example, commission, packing, shipping & transport and insurance
  • All incidental expenses that result from transporting the goods to a further destination with the EU
  • Any customs and excise duties payable on levy

Alternatively, it can be calculated on the similar costs of goods within the EU.

3.) Calculate the customs value of your goods for import VAT for HMRC on your goods


4.) Add the UK import duty owed for goods imported from outside of the EU, for instance, precious jewellery imported from outside of the EU are subject to a commodity duty of 2.5%. Add this rate to the Commercial Invoice, then add UK VAT payable to HMRC at 20%. 

5.) Arrange a courier - A freight and logistics supplier to handle the collection and delivery of your goods.

6.) Enlist an agent to complete a CC88 Import Declaration form to HMRC, or if you are handling multiple exports, enlist a with a trade organisation that uses third party software to handle import and export of goods. CSPs are commercial entities that directly interface with HMRC frontier systems including Customs Handling Import & Export Freight (CHIEF). Please find a list of HMRC approved suppliers: CHIEF: trade and commercial contacts for Community System Providers

For more information and guides to import and export, please see the following resource pages:

Finding Commodity Codes (
The British Freight Association
HMRC official Tariff Classification Service: 01702 366077

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