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End of transition: free support on changes to Northern Ireland trade

10 November 2020: The UK government has created the Trader Support Service to help firms involved in the movement of goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It provides support on adapting to new processes, including issuing XI EORI numbers which are mandatory from 1 January 2021.

The Northern Ireland Protocol is designed to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland, while ensuring the UK, including Northern Ireland, can leave the EU as a whole.

It means that UK authorities will apply EU customs rules to goods entering Northern Ireland. From 1 January 2021, electronic import declarations, as well as safety and security declarations, will be required for goods moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.

The government’s free Trader Support Service (TSS) is designed to support businesses with the changes. For example, businesses moving goods to or from Northern Ireland from 1 January 2021 will also need an Economic Operators Registration and Identification number (EORI number) that starts with XI.

To obtain an XI EORI number, the business must already have an EORI number that starts with GB. If the business does not already have a GB EORI number (which might be the case if they are not VAT-registered), they should apply for an EORI number that starts with GB as soon as possible.

If a business signs up to the TSS before 23 November 2020, they will automatically be allocated an XI EORI number.

Chartered Accountants Ireland’s Ulster Society is hosting a free webinar on Monday 16 November 2020 from 13:00 - 14:00 (GMT) covering:

  • What the TSS does (including what it doesn’t do), and how it will work as a customs intermediary service for trade.
  • What a business needs to do to be ready to keep their goods moving from 1 January 2021.

Register to attend the webinar.