The United Kingdom left the European Union on 31 January 2020

Update 3 February 2020: The United Kingdom (UK) formally left the European Union (EU) at 11pm GMT on 31 January 2020 and entered an 11 month transition period until 31 December 2020.

During this transition period, the UK remains part of both the European single market and customs union and the existing conditions of trade access to the UK for third countries, such as New Zealand, continue.

The UK will now have the 11 month transition period to negotiate its future terms of trade and its political and security relationship with the EU and is now free to formally negotiate Free Trade Agreements with third countries.

New Zealand and UK agencies have developed advice sites that will assist you to cope with any changes.  Visit each of the sites below. Use the checklists and note the information.

Whilst it is ‘business as usual’ for 2020, continue to be aware of the following issues especially towards the end of 2020 to ensure business continuity for imports and exports:

 Watch for updates and keep in touch with the MPI, MFAT or NZTE Brexit desks – they have people who can help

  • Don’t expect any change for goods exported to an EU port for import into the EU or for goods exported to a UK port for import into the UK
  • Don’t expect any change for goods landing in the EU and transhipped to the UK (or vice-versa)
  • Expect reduced warehouse capacity late 2020 and early 2021
  • Check your importer is registered on IPAFFs for pre-clearance (see link below)
  • AVOID transiting goods by truck (RORO/Chunnel) between EU and UK (in either direction) for at least 6 weeks once the current transition period expires.   Operational issues which are anticipated to create congestion and lead to extraordinary delays:
    • No turn-around capacity on roads leading to ferries, for trucks with inadequate paperwork to ‘turn around’
    • Border papers review
    • No Road capacity to ‘fast track’ goods on trucks in queues, even with diplomatic intervention.


Brexit information pages

NZ Customs: Customs issues

MPI: for all primary industries exports 


UK Government


British Chambers of Commerce

British Chambers of Commerce: Customs clearance service