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International trade compliance

flag United Kingdom International trade compliance

The information in this section is subject to change and regular updating during the UK's post-Brexit transition period. We will publish the updated information as soon as it becomes available.
International Conventions
Member of World Trade Organisation
Member of OECD
Party to the Kyoto Protocol
Party to the Washington Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
Party to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal
Party to the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer
Party to the Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls For Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies
Party of the International Coffee Agreement 2007
International Economic Cooperation
The United Kingdom is a member of the following international economic organisations: IMF, Commonwealth, G-5, G-8, G-10, G-20, ICC, WHO, OECD, among others. For the full list of economic and other international organisations in which participates the United Kingdom click here. International organisation membership of the United Kingdom is also outlined here.
Party of the ATA Convention on Temporary Admissions and Use of the Carnets

As a Reminder, the ATA is a System Allowing the Free Movement of Goods Across Frontiers and Their Temporary Admission Into a Customs Territory With Relief From Duties and Taxes. The Goods Are Covered By a Single Document Known as the ATA Carnet That is Secured By an International Guarantee System.
Party of the TIR Convention

As a Reminder, the TIR Convention and its Transit Regime Contribute to the Facilitation of International Transport, Especially International Road Transport, Not Only in Europe and the Middle East, But Also in Other Parts of the World, Such as Africa and Latin America.
Accompanying Documents For Imports
- Bill of Lading
Consular Invoices
Certificates of Origin
Commercial Invoices
Dangerous Goods Certification
Valuation Declaration and General Valuation Statement (GVS)
Further information on the website business link.

To go further, check out our service Shipping Documents.

Free Zones
With the 2021 Budget, the UK government identified eight sites as post-Brexit freeports to boost trade, investment, innovation and economic recovery. The eight sites are: East Midlands AirportFelixstowe and Harwich, Humber region, Liverpool City Region, Plymouth, Solent, Thames, and Teesside.
In order to make use of a UK Free Zone, an authorisation for a so-called "Freeport customs special procedure" is required.
For Further Information
Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs
The Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR)
Non Tariff Barriers

Several goods are subject to specific controls and requirements. Goods subject to import controls under the Open General Import Licence (OGIL) include firearms, anti-personnel mines, and certain nuclear and chemical goods. Some industrial goods need import licences as a result of controls imposed at national or UN level, which are issued by the Department for International Trade’s Import Licensing Branch(firearms, goods subject to import sanctions, etc.). The ILB also issues Certificates of Free Sale (CFS) to UK exporters, mostly for products that come into contact with humans (e.g. cosmetics), from countries that have lower product safety standards and enforcement than the UK. Other government departments issue CFS for certain products including the:

  • Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs for goods that come into contact with animals (such as veterinary medicines)
  • Department of Health for medicines
  • Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) for medical devices
  • Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for biocides
  • Rural Payments Agency (RPA) for food, drinks or supplements.


Consult the dedicated page on the UK government’s platform to check whether goods need to be declared to UK customs. For a list of goods subject to import controls, click here.


Furthermore, from 1 January 2021 Brexit became effective and therefore trade relations between the EU and the UK are governed from now on by the Trade and Cooperation Agreement. To preserve their mutually beneficial trading relationship, the EU and the UK have agreed to create an ambitious free trade area with no tariffs or quotas on products, regulatory and customs cooperation mechanisms, as well as provisions ensuring a level playing field for open and fair competition, as part of a larger economic partnership. The Agreement prevents unnecessary technical barriers to trade, e.g. by providing for self-declaration of regulatory compliance for low-risk products and facilitations for other specific products of mutual interest, such as automotive, wine, organics, pharmaceuticals and chemicals. However, all UK goods entering the EU will still have to meet the EU’s high regulatory standards, including on food safety (e.g. sanitary and phytosanitary standards) and product safety. FTA conditions are not the same as those of the EU Customs Union and the Single Market. In particular:

  • Rules of origin will apply to goods in order to qualify for preferential trade terms under the agreement;
  • The Agreement includes a Technical Barriers to Trade Chapter which builds on the WTO TBT agreement and addresses regulatory barriers to trade between the UK and EU (provisions on technical regulation, conformity assessment, standardisation, accreditation, market surveillance and marking and labelling);
  • The Agreement includes a Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) Chapter which ensures that the UK and the EU can maintain fully independent SPS rules to protect human, animal and plant life and health, preserving each Party’s right to independently regulate, while not creating unjustified barriers to trade.

For the list of goods imported into Great Britain from the EU that are subject to customs controls, click here.

Sectors or Products For Which Commercial Disagreements Have Been Registered With the WTO
The United States have registered a complaint against the United Kingdom regarding the Customs classification of certain computer equipment. Further information on WIPO website.
Assessment of Commercial Policy
UK's commercial policy, as seen by the WTO

Learn more about How to Export to the United Kingdom on, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

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Latest Update: June 2022