International trade

Where can my Sandwell business get support with trading overseas? How do I find international opportunities for my Sandwell company?

Britain has left the European Union and new rules have applied for businesses and citizens since 1 January 2021. This page outlines the changes and signposts you to useful support. It also highlights new opportunities for trading overseas.

International trade banner with Think Sandwell logo and colourful shipping containers

Get support with post-Brexit changes

National government
The Department for International Trade has produced a useful handbook on the EU exit, which summarises all of the new rules when trading with EU countries.

The UK government’s website includes a number of useful tools, including an interactive checklist where you can answer questions about your particular circumstances and generate a personalised list of suggested actions. There are also straightforward explanations of changes relating to importing, exporting, travel and living and working in the EU.

There are also online services to find commodity codes for products – one for goods being imported into the UK and one for exporting. There is also a regularly updated list of existing UK trade agreements with non-EU countries. The government put out this tweet with a video from Paul Hull, co-director of Tipton’s KMB Shipping, explaining how they’re working with their customers to navigate the new legislation requirements.

For EU citizens wanting to stay in the UK, the EU settlement scheme ended on 30 June 2021, however some people may still be able to apply. Find out more here.

You can stay up to date with the latest developments by signing up to receive a weekly email bulletin.

Local Government Association
The LGA has compiled a selection of Brexit transition actions for business, including a number of sector-specific actions for the aerospace, automotive, chemicals, construction, consumer goods, electronics and machinery, life sciences, metals and minerals, professional business services and retail sectors.

West Midlands Growth Hubs
The West Midlands Growth Hubs can support businesses by offering one-to-one consultations with a growth hub account manager, providing access to grants and funds, signposting useful resources and making referrals to the Department for International Trade. To access this free support, visit the website.

Black Country Growth Hub
The Black Country Growth Hub has a Brexit page with links to a variety of resources, including a checklist for businesses.

Chambers of Commerce
The Black Country Chamber of Commerce offers a range of services to its members to help make international trade as smooth as possible, such as translation services, export documentation services, currency exchange advice. It sends out an International Trade and Export Update email newsletter. Visit the website for more information. You can also watch short Brexit support videos on YouTube.

The Chamber also runs training courses on a range of topics relating to international trade, such as customs procedures and documentation, export documentation and understanding the Incoterms 2020 rules. For more information, dates and prices, visit the website.

As well as localised Black Country Chamber resources, the national British Chambers of Commerce website has a Trade Hub with information and links, including a wealth of research and analysis on how Brexit is expected to affect British business.

There is also ChamberCustoms, a customs advisory, training and brokerage service delivered through the Chambers of Commerce across the UK. Find out more about the service on the website.

Black Country International (BCI)
BCI has been authorised by ChamberCustoms Ltd to deliver the new Customs Declaration Service. For customs declarations enquiries, email The BCI team also has a newly updated export documentation price list, which includes UK Certificates of Origin and Preference Movement Certificates.

Federation of Small Business
The FSB has a Transition Hub designed to help small businesses and self-employed people understand and adapt to the new trading arrangements.

Crowe UK
This accounting, consulting and technology firm has set up a Brexit hub with links to a range of clear, practical articles written by their experts. Topics include VAT implications for professional services firms, accounting for import VAT and the EU settlement scheme.

Make a note of these other post-Brexit considerations

Hiring people from the EU
If you’re thinking of hiring people from the EU in 2021, the new points-based immigration system includes job, salary and language requirements. You may also need to register as a licensed visa sponsor. Read more on this government website.

Citizen’s Advice also offers advice and information about staying in the UK if you are from the EU.

Northern Ireland
There are special provisions which only apply in Northern Ireland, so if you move goods into, out of or through Northern Ireland, make sure you read up on the UK Trader Scheme and check the latest guidance.

Rules of Origin: tariff-free trade
Rules of Origin concerns where a product was manufactured and determines the ‘economic nationality’ of a good for international trade. If your produce meets the relevant Rules of Origin, you can trade with the EU without paying tariffs. To confirm the requirements for your goods, and to find out more about the support available:

The Department for Transport has published guidance on a number of ways in which railways and road haulage have been affected by Brexit.

On 1 July 2021, The EU implemented changes to the VAT obligations for businesses selling directly to customers. There are two major reforms: the end of Low Value Consignment Relief (LCVR) and introduction of the Import One-Stop-Shop (IOSS), and the launch of the One-Stop-Shop (OSS). For more information, visit the FSB’s website.

Wood packaging materials (WPM)
Businesses that import or export any goods using WPM (pallets, boxes, crates), or supply WPM to businesses, now need to meet ISPM15 international standards. Without this, businesses will not be able to move these goods between the UK and the EU. Read the government’s guidance page for more details.

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This page was last updated in November 2021.