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Because the situation is fluid, we will be keeping this page up to date over the coming year as new developments occur. We'll be doing our best to help you navigate your way through the changing landscape. Remember, government guidance is summarised here.

Domestic trading

If you only trade domestically then it's expected that Brexit will have reasonably little impact on your eCommerce sales process. 

However, if you trade internationally, or have international suppliers, you may need to think about your online processes. This will be especially important if your website automates actions related to international transactions, whether related to supplier management or customer-facing eCommerce. 

International eCommerce within the EU

Charging VAT

The way VAT is charged has changed, unless you are shipping from Northern Ireland. Previously VAT was chargeable on all sales shipped within the EU that were despatched from the UK. Now the that UK has left the European Union, it is treated as a 'Third Country'. 

That leaves retailers on the mainland United Kingdom with a simple set of rules:

“If you sell, send or transfer goods out of the UK you do not normally need to charge VAT on them. ”

However, if you are despatched from Northern Ireland, VAT is still chargeable. If you are a Northern Irish retailer, we would recommend that you investigate the government website for more information. 

IXO Commerce is ready for your export needs, but if you have any questions, why not contact us?

The rules for exporting to the EU are changing. Some examples are below, but if you have particular concerns or queries, we recommend that you seek specific legal advice. 

The eCommerce Directive and Brexit

The EU has released an eCommerce Directive which dictates the ways in which eCommerce companies trading within its boundaries should behave. If you sell to customers within the European Economic Area (EEA) this may apply to you, and you may wish to seek legal advice. 

Some of this directive extends the already existing data law, but other parts may have more far-reaching consequences. 

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Exporting to the EU

The current government advice for exporting to the UK has changed a lot.

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Get an EORI number

You will not be able to move your goods into or out of the EU without one.

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Dealing with European suppliers after Brexit?

Importing from the EU

Make sure your suppliers can reach you. The guidance is changing, but you'll need a constant flow of goods to fulfil your orders. 

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Pay tariffs on imports

You risk penalties and your goods not getting through customs if you do not pay the correct tariff.

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Register for transportation

You can register to get quicker movement between the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein. 

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Importing chemicals?

If you buy chemicals from the EU, you will need to register on the new UK REACH system, which takes up to six weeks. 

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“The UK will become a third country and will need to meet EU third country import requirements to export regulated plants and plant products to the EU from 1 January 2021.”

Being a Third Country exporter of plants has an effect on delivery time and cost; this needs to be reflected in the checkout. 

Obviously, this is a very specific example, but we would strongly recommend that you investigate your industry for similar regulations as they will affect your business and your website. 

International eCommerce outside the EU

In addition to the rules which govern trade with the EU, you should also review rules for individual countries. A full list of existing UK post-Brexit trade agreements are available here


The British goverment had taken a leading role in the creation of the GDPR legislation; if you were hoping it would go away, you've probably got a long wait to look forward to. 

As part of the European Withdrawal Agreement, the UK government agreed to incorporate GDPR equivalent legislation into future lawmaking. The Information Commissioner's Office predicts that there will be little change to the rules and guidance already in place. 

However, its worth remembering that if at the end of the transition period, the UK does not have equivalent legislation, the EU may rule that it is not a safe or responsible place to hold customer data. In that case, organisations will need to have sufficient processes in place to ensure the uninterrupted flow of customer data. 

Can you still access data?

If you access personal data from an EU member state (e.g. customer information) check to make sure your contrast and T&Cs are up to date. 

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Appoint an EU representative

For an online business, you may need a EU based representative to handle your GDPR requirements. 

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This does not constitute legal advice. If you have any concerns, please speak to a solicitor.