Dream big with trade to EU and global markets

We are the West of England Combined Authority's Growth Hub. We provide free 360-degree business support for small and medium sized businesses in all sectors.

Talk to us today about finding new opportunities and growth avenues for your business.

What you need to know to trade successfully with the EU

If you are thinking about expanding your business by trading with the EU or other countries, have a look at this FAQ document. There's also a simple one pager which outlines the key information you need to know.   

In short, you'll now need to:

  • make customs declarations for any goods moved between Great Britain and Europe;
  • pay the relevant tariffs on any goods moved between Great Britain and Europe; and,
  • follow new processes for moving any goods into Northern Ireland from Great Britain.

Internationalisation Fund now open

The Department for International Trade has launched its new Internationalisation Fund for eligible businesses in England. Match-funded grants of between £1,000 and £9,000 will be available for future activity (subject to eligibility and availability). To secure a grant, you’ll need to fund a proportion of your costs yourself. This varies according to where your business is based and will be either 40 or 50% of the total cost.

The fund can be used to support areas including (but not exclusively limited to):

  • Market research
  • IP advice
  • Translation services
  • International social media/SEO
  • Trade fairs (where no TAP funding is available)
  • Independent market visits
  • Consultancy and other international commercial services

Contact us today to find out more.

Fear not, help is on hand. Let's get your business set up to trade

A pilot Export Academy scheme has been introduced to support smaller businesses in the South West begin their exporting journey. Applicable to a wide range of businesses, whether you want to start exporting, or you’re aiming to enter new markets, we’ll help you overcome many of the common challenges that small businesses can face.

The Export Academy will deliver a series of activities that will build your capabilities, creating a new cohort of confident businesses ready to trade. This pilot programme is designed for owners and senior managers of businesses, and to qualify your business must:

  • have a turnover of up to £500,000
  • be located in the Midlands, North of England or the South West of England

Find out more and register today.

3 key things you need to do now we're in new ways of working

Check what you need to do differently if you’re:

  1. importing goods from the EU
  2. exporting goods to the EU
  3. moving goods to or from Northern Ireland

Get the complete list of what you need to do for your business.

Customs can be a minefield but our expert partners are here to support you

When you export goods to any country, you now need to submit a Customs Declaration. It can be complicated but ChamberCustoms delivers a Customs Declaration service that takes the hassle out of exporting and importing goods.  

If you want to be able to accurately complete your own simple Customs Declaration, Business West offers Customs Declarations training to highlight how you need to do it. Read about the full offer from ChambersCustoms here.   


Advice and training

Border controls

  • Controls will be placed on the movement of goods between Great Britain and the EU, with new border controls being introduced in three stages up until 1 July 2021. Details can be found on the Border Operating Model website.

Points-based immigration

  • Further details on the new points-based immigration system from 1 January 2021. You can find that information on this webpage.

Trade toolkit

Download the Government's toolkit to find out about trading with the EU and Northern Ireland. 

Exporting to Japan

Listen to Rhydian Pountney, former Director of Group Commercial Services at Renishaw, to hear his tips on successfully exporting to Japan.

If you export to the EU or you're thinking about exporting, check out these helpful links

  • Department for International Trade’s Check How to Export Goods online tool, where you can find information on the UK border, and duties and customs procedures for over 160 markets around the world.
  • VAT guidance about the conditions for zero rating VAT on the goods you export, and what you should do when you export goods in specific circumstances.
  • The free Trader Support Service that you can sign up to, if you move goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
  • An online guidance package developed by DEFRA with HMRC to guide fish exporters through each step of the export journey. There’s a range of information and support available to help you make sure you’re following the new rules including the MMO One Stop Shop.
  • HMRC’s Customs & International Trade Helpline which you can call and speak to an advisor on 0300‌ ‌322‌ ‌9434. The helpline is open from 8am to 10pm Monday to Friday and from 8am to 4pm at weekends. Or you can send HMRC your questions or use their webchat service.
  • View the new on demand videos which focus on priority topics for businesses, such as exporting.

Trading with Northern Ireland

Click through to find out more about trading with Northern Ireland.

For Great British businesses moving goods into Northern Ireland, it’s important to act now to comply with the new rules. There are five key actions for businesses to take:

  • Register for the Trader Support Service
  • Get an EORI number
  • Check Commodity Codes
  • Check whether the UK Trader Scheme could help 
  • Check goods regulation: Manufactured and Agri-food Goods


For further information on each of these actions, as well as additional guidance and support for business, check the Government's ‘Moving Goods from GB to NI’ Explainer here.

The Explainer also includes a link to a Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy video which further unpacks key changes to the movement of goods into, out of, and through Northern Ireland, and the support available to traders.


Spotlight on Customs

Declaring goods

You must declare any goods you send to the EU, providing details about what you’re sending and what it’s worth, using a customs declaration form. You can get a customs intermediary to help you do this.

What's an EHC?

You will need an Export Health Certificate (EHC) to export food or drink that contains products of animal origin such as meat, dairy or eggs.

Duty payments

Check to see whether you might be able to delay your declarations and duty payments; you may be eligible for this if your goods are not on the controlled goods list and you do not have a poor compliance record. 

Northern Ireland

Register for the free Trader Support Service if you plan to move goods into Northern Ireland.