It is great news for Kent’s exporters that the Government have listened to the voice of business and will be automatically issuing exporters businesses with an EORI number. Many of our Exporters who trade exclusively with the EU at present have not had to apply for an EORI number, therefore may not be aware of the importance. But if they wish to continue to import or export goods to the EU or rest of the world in a no-deal, then it will be needed to simplify customs processes.
This step is long overdue, yet welcome, nonetheless. We have campaigned for many months for the government to issue EORI numbers to businesses, rather than simply wait for them to apply. This common-sense step will prompt more of our businesses to prepare for change and consider what else they need to do to be ready for an unwanted ‘no deal’ scenario.
Businesses do not want a messy and disorderly ‘no deal’ Brexit on 31 October, but given the ticking clock, it’s prudent that both government and industry be as prepared as possible. The proportion of firms applying for EORI numbers was concerningly low, and automatic issuance will help ease the administrative burden facing companies in the weeks and months ahead.
Sorting EORI numbers is only a first step. For many firms, it will trigger more questions. Businesses still need clarity on many other cross-border trade issues, such as customs procedures at borders following a no-deal exit and when the Government will launch an official database to provide ease of access to information on tariffs and quotas. The government must urgently provide answers to these questions and ramp up both guidance and support for businesses.