Importing to the UK

Today’s Tip: Importing to the UK. References and Guidelines

Buying goods and bringing them into the UK from other countries involves working with government agencies and conforming to regulations. It can seem a daunting task to those new to the process. Here are some helpful guidelines to keep in your “regulations” folde.

Determining Tariffs:

These general figures are used when tariffs are charged to countries that do not have a preferred trading status with the UK or to nations that may be awarded partial relief from paying duty.

  • Raw materials – most are free of duty but some are taxed up to a 4.5% of the material’s value. Some metals are assessed at a higher rate.
  • Semi-finished articles – rates range from 2% to 14% of the value.
  • Finished items – rates are calculated from 3% to 20% of the import’s value.
  • Agricultural products – these vary significantly and are difficult to summarize.

Specific information on any item that may be imported into the UK can be found in Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) publication Integrated Tariff of the United Kingdom, which may be read in Revenue and Customs and Inland Customs Advice Centres or may be purchased for about £250 from the Stationery Office by calling 020 7873 0011. You can also reach HMRC by contacting 0845 010 9000.

Key Considerations Regarding Importing:

  • Every import comes under a specific classification and must be properly identified and described. Failing to do so could result in fines that would be reflected in a higher tariff, license and VAT rate being levied.
  • There are 140 nations that send goods into the UK tariff free or at a reduced rate. However, quantities of specific items from some of these countries are restricted.
  • To attain a reduced or a zero tariff rate, the shipment must have a certificate of preference.
  • The European Community’s Common Customs Tariff (CCT) is published annually. It includes set tariff rates that member nations charge.
  • Member nations of the European Union (EU) share the same rates, regulations and privileges when importing items.

Importing to the UK may seem a daunting process, however over the last decade the UK has simplified the process for all nations, including non-EU members. The EU’s New Computerized Transit System (NCTS) moves imported goods more efficiently and quickly. This coordinated network connects customs offices directly to each shipment via the Internet, utilizes paperless records and incorporates electronic tracing of shipments.

With fewer trade restrictions, a commitment to NCTS and a desire to encourage economic growth, trading across borders continues to become less burdensome and intimidating for UK companies like yours.

For in depth information on importing into the UK remember to contact Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) on 0845 010 9000.

For your success,

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