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CMR Notes and Customs Declarations - EU Traders Will Need New Documentation in Case of No-Deal Brexit.

We urge EU importers and exporters to look at their processes and documentation for trading with the bloc and align them with the documentation already needed for traders who trade with nations elsewhere.

What are the critical steps that businesses trading with the EU need to take to keep business-as-usual after a potential no-deal Brexit?

David Johnson, managing director of Tudor International Freight, based at Horsforth, Leeds, urges importers and exporters to collectively arrange their processes and documentation for trading with the bloc into line with the documentation already needed for traders who trade with nations elsewhere.

He said: “The possibility of a no withdrawal agreement being concluded in the talks involving the EU and UK seems to have risen sharply up the list of possible outcomes in recent weeks. If this happens, the free circulation of goods between the two will cease in March 2019 and there’ll be immediate changes to importing and exporting procedures, as the envisaged 20-month transition period won’t apply.”

Mr Johnson said these system changes will include tariffs being imposed, import and export declarations being required, customs checks, VAT, and customs duties to be paid on the spot.

He said: “There are several steps Yorkshire businesses should take now that could help reduce shipping delays and other problems they may encounter after a ‘no deal’ result.

“These include ensuring comprehensive CMR notes are used for all consignments transported by road to and from the EU. Such documents should contain detailed and precise content concerning shippers and consignees, for example.

What Is A CMR Note?

A CMR note – the abbreviation being a derivative of its French name – is the standard expected contract for forwarding items internationally by way of road. A CMR note is a piece of documentation confirming the carrier has successfully acquired the goods and has a contract of transportation with its client. CMR notes have a set passage of terms and conditions, and as a result, individuals have no need to create their own.

Mr Johnson added: “We’d also advise Yorkshire’s traders with the EU to ensure they now prepare full and accurate commercial invoices.

“It’s important that all descriptions of goods are sufficient for the appropriate customs commodity codes to be identified and applied. These classify items for import and export, so businesses can complete declarations and other paperwork correctly, check if there’s any duty or VAT to pay, and discover whether any duty reliefs apply, for instance.”          

Mr Johnson said that not only should precautions such as the above be taken, but all enterprises affected should also be communicating with other companies in their supply chain, be certain any preparation needed in the case of a “no deal” Brexit, is in progress there too.

He said: “We’d also advise relevant Yorkshire traders to start considering how they’ll handle important tasks likely to become necessary later if no deal is agreed. These include whether they should enlist specialist support from organisations like ourselves for submitting customs declarations or assisting with documentation checks.”

Why Choose Authorised Economic Operators (AEO)?

Mr Johnson would also like to remind those seeking the aid of international freight forwarders that the very few forwarders who are Authorised Economic Operators (AEO) can offer advantages that traders and export/importers will find nowhere else. Some advantages being faster application process for customs authorisation, and reduces the number of financial guarantees required.

 He said: “Effective contingency planning involves preparing for the worst-case scenario and we’d, therefore, urge affected Yorkshire businesses to seek advice where necessary and take the steps we’ve outlined now, so they’re protected to the greatest extent possible from the adverse consequences of a ‘no deal’ Brexit.”

If you have any queries about what documentation you may need to prepare to continue importing and exporting in the EU after a potential ‘no-deal’ Brexit, please get in touch with us at

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