What would Brexit mean for UK consumers?

Just a year after the 2016 referendum which led to the UK leaving the EU, our consumer adviser staff were helping prepare for the UK’s EU Exit. Discussions were being held cross-border and with trading standards across the UK about the potential impacts for UK consumers.

Now, in 2021, perhaps one of the most noticeable effects of EU Exit for UK consumers is being felt when buying goods from abroad.

Almost five years after the referendum, on 1 January 2021, the UK left the EU and became a ‘third country’ – in other words, a country outside the EU economic structures, the Single Market and the Customs Union.

This means that the rules previously applying to goods imported from non-EU countries also now apply for incoming goods from the EU, albeit with some differences. From a consumer’s perspective, as soon as UK residents buy a product from an EU country, which will be shipped to the UK, consumers now become importers and are liable for Customs and Excise Duty as well as Value Added Tax (VAT) charges levied on the shipment.

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