New rules for doing business with Europe have arrived

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

The UK has left the EU and the Transition Period will end on 31 December 2020. As we transition to our new relationship with the EU, businesses need to take action.

The United Kingdom and the European Union have agreed a Trade and Cooperation Agreement, an Agreement on Nuclear Cooperation and an Agreement on Security Procedures for Exchanging and Protecting Classified Information. These Agreements are designed to honour the instruction of the British people – expressed in the referendum of 2016 and the general election last year – to take back control of our laws, borders, money, trade and fisheries. It changes the basis of our relationship with our European neighbours from EU law to free trade and friendly cooperation.

The current rules on trade, travel, and business changed on 1 January 2021. Make sure you know how this will affect your business and how you can prepare plans in advance.

You need to act now if you’re:

The main sources of business planning information can be found on .

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Webinars and Podcasts

  • Webinars for organisations that trade with the EU: Click here to view a list of webinars you can sign up to watch live or on demand.  
  • The Department for International Trade are hosting a webinar of the UK’s Generalised Preference Scheme (GSP) on 12 January 2021 at 2pm. This webinar is targeted for businesses and other organisations that have an interest in importing goods from countries that are classified as low income and least developed countries. To sign up, click here.
  • HMRC customs declarations webinars: have launched multiple editions of this live webinar covering how to complete customs import declarations and explaining how to make import declarations when importing goods between the EU and Great Britain. To register and find a date, click here.
  • HMRC webinars: Get help on UK transition with online webinars from HMRC by registering for webinars on:
    • Importing: staged controls and how to prepare to use them 
    • Exporting: actions you need to take to prepare for 1 January 2021 

           To register, and for more information. Click here.

  • The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is hosting a series of free podcasts to help businesses that make, use or supply chemicals, understand what actions they should take as independent GB chemical regimes are now in place. To listen to the podcast, just search ‘The HSE Podcast’ on your chosen platform. Audiences can also register to receive notifications for each episode released, to do so, click here.
  • HSE and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) hosted a webinar on Wednesday 20 January at 10am. The event will cover the actions businesses need to take now an independent GB chemical regimes is in place. To register, and for more information, click here.


Other sources of information 

The  Business Growth Hub are running a number of webinars over the next two weeks, fully funded for Greater Manchester Businesses.



There is also a range of useful information and guides available here,

The Greater Manchester Chamber also have a resource hub available at

Latest News

Government announces NEW £20 million SME Brexit Support Fund

The £20 million SME Brexit Support Fund, offers support to help small businesses adjust to new customs procedures, rules of origin, and VAT rules when trading with the EU.

Eligibility: 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 trade only with the EU, and are therefore new to importing and exporting processes, 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.

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

Full guidance on how you can use the grant, who can apply and how to apply, click here.

The eCommerce Directive and the UK

The eCommerce Directive no longer applies to the UK, now that the transition period is over.

Rules relating to online activities in European Economic Area (EEA) countries, may newly apply to UK online service providers who operate in the EEA, now that the transition period is over. If you are a provider of online services, you should take steps in response to these changes.

Guidance, outlining what has changed and what checks you need to make, has been issued.

For more information, click here.

Letter from Minister Scully on Covid testing for Hauliers

Paul Scully MP, wrote to businesses yesterday, about Covid testing for hauliers before leaving the UK for France.  The letter urges businesses to discuss with any haulage companies that they work with, that they have  plans in place, to ensure that hauliers have tested negative within 72 hours prior to travel.

To view the full text of the letter, click here.

An introductory guide to Lateral Flow Device (LFD) testing in workplaces has been published and is available to view here

Traders must act now

Michael Gove, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, urges traders to ensure that they are fully ready with the  new rules for trading with the European Union.

Traders are urged to ensure that they are fully ready with the new trading rules, as lorries expected at the GB-EU border, are expected to reach pre-Christmas levels this week. While compliance with the new rules remains high, an increase in border traffic raises the possibility of disruption.

Exporters must provide the right documentation to hauliers,

  • including export declarations and the extra certificates needed for products, like plant and animal products,
  • hauliers heading to Kent must get a negative Covid test and
  • obtain a Kent Access Permit before heading to port, or risk facing a fine and being turned away.

For more information, click here.

Data protection and Copyright law

UPDATED: EU business: data protection and copyright: Guidance on what EU businesses need to do with data protection, intellectual property and copyright in the UK, has been updated with the latest information on transferring personal data to the UK. For more information, click here.

Business Support Helpline

To help you, a helpline has been set up.  The Business Support Helpline can help you identify the actions you need to take.

Businesses in England, call 0800 998 1098, for more information, including opening hours, click here.

New financial support for the UK’s fishing businesses that export to the EU  

£23 million to support businesses affected by the COVID pandemic and adjusting to new export requirements.  


Published: 12th February 2021