There seems to be a lot of confusion and the belief that paperwork starts on 1st February 2020. That is NOT the case. Assuming there are no bumps in the road, between now and end of January, then UK will leave the EU and enter the transition/implementation period. This period is until at least 31st December 2020 with the possibility to extend until the end of 2022 providing that extension is requested by July 2020. The UK Prime Minister ‘Boris’ is not keen on extending.

So, nothing changes during 2020 but expect lots of discussions about FTA’s (Free Trade Agreements), Rules of Origin and ‘level playing fields’.

You should note that an FTA does not remove the need for paperwork. In fact it makes paperwork even more important as the Customs document is used to prove eligibility to the terms of the FTA.

Our prediction of the next phase is as follows:

  1. Boris WILL NOT go beyond 31st December 2020
  2. FTA will not be finalised by that time
  3. GATT XXIV will be used to ‘postpone’ tariffs until final deal is agreed
  4. Paperwork starts 1st January 2021 (with or without tariffs).

Don’t be fooled in to thinking that you have ‘a year off’. Time flies and businesses need this time to make sure that processes and data flows are set and tested to make paperwork as free flowing as possible.

We are often asked about the difference between a HARD Brexit and a SOFT Brexit (in terms of paperwork and process). Our answer is always the same. The only difference is the start date! Not being in the EU Single Market creates the need for paperwork (even if in a Customs Union). A planned and tested start to this process is considered to be a SOFT Brexit.

Interesting year ahead even if Brexit might drop of the news radar for a while.



What happens now? We’re already receiving emails asking what happens next. Although it is too early to confirm anything, it is highly likely Parliament will approve the Withdrawal Agreement, and the UK will leave the EU in December 2020.

However, there will not be any immediate changes. Over the past couple of years, Amco have undertaken considerable preparations for a potential Brexit. Although there is still lots more work to be done, we will continue working closely with internal stakeholders, suppliers and customers to help ensure a smooth transition.

To summarise the key developments following Boris’s win:

  • Conservative majority win (363 versus Labour 203 seats) backing Boris’s ‘Get Brexit Done.’
  • Significant majority means that it is highly likely Parliament will now pass the Withdrawal Agreement.
  • The UK would then enter into an implementation period which means nothing changes until at least the 31st of December 2020
  • The UK could still leave with no deal if the withdrawal agreement is not approved by 31 January 2020, or at the end of a transition period.

We are in an excellent position to support both our existing customers and potential new customers with the impending Customs changes brought about by Brexit.

Amco is one of the founder members of the Customs Consortium and able to offer 24/7 Customs support. For more information, click here.

We are Customs Bonded Authorised, Authorised Economic Operator Customs accredit and Amco has 35+ experience of supporting customers’ with International customs requirements and train our people to be best in industry.


Your business should already have received a letter from HMRC advising what you need to do to be ready, with the following advice:

  • Obtain an EORI number
  • Appoint a freight/clearing Agent to handle the customs processes and provide them with the information they need to complete declarations

Don’t worry, if you have not yet appointed a freight/clearing Agent. We can support your requirements and offer a full import/export customs declaration service. Please contact our team as soon as possible discuss so we can ensure everything is in place before the leaving date.

If you have already appointed an Agent, please contact us with their information. We shall need to know their details to help avoid potential delays at the Port/Airports.

Once you have your EORI number and have appointed and Clearing agent, the following further actions are also recommended:


Last year our advice to Importers was to apply for the Government scheme Transitional Simplified Procedures (TSP), allowing traders to handle clearances away from the Port. However, the UK government appears to have now shelved the programme. The new advice is to appoint an expert, reliable Customs Agent in readiness for full customs declarations!


  • You need to make customs declarations for your goods. Decide who will do this. It could be a transport company, agent or yourself. If you decide to appoint an agent, they will need instructions.
  • Check that your customer is ready to bring your goods into their country and are following the country’s customs processes.

If you need support preparing for Brexit, or simply wish to let us know your plans:
Please contact us on our email, or register on our website –

We shall continue to update this page with important changes. In the meantime, if you have any questions or would like help preparing your business for Brexit please don’t hesitate to contact us or complete the form below.