Antiques Trade Post Brexit - Getting items from France to the UK

Discussion in 'International Business' started by molarsmith, Feb 24, 2021.

  1. molarsmith

    molarsmith UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    3 0
    Hello there,

    I would be so grateful if someone can help me! For the last six years, we have had a business importing French antiques and vintage clothing from France to the UK. Pre-brexit, we used to travel to France via ferry about every two weeks, and then spend 3-10 days travelling around France visiting French antique dealers and flea markets and purchasing goods. We would load items into the van as we were going along and then drive them back with us over the border to sell on in England.

    For the last six years, this has been absolutely fine. But now, post-brexit, we are at a total loss of how to continue to run our business. We have spoken with a customs agent to get the necessary clearance for our goods and in terms of import I completely understand the process. However, the custom agents we have spoken to has asked us about whether we are able to produce a commercial invoice for the goods - the issue here seems to be that as we purchase multiple items from different suppliers, and transport the goods in our own van, we are unsure who is responsible for the export.

    We are solely UK based up to this point. And I am unsure of the legalities or how to continue with our role so am reaching out to anyone with experience in a situation similar to this on how to proceed. Can a customs broker act as an intermediary in places like this? Or a freight forwarder? Please forgive me if I have completely misunderstood any legislation... We've never had to deal with anything like import/export before! Open to any suggestions on the best way to proceed, registering a business in the EU... anything works! I'd love to still have a business six months from now.
    Posted: Feb 24, 2021 By: molarsmith Member since: Feb 24, 2021

    JEREMY HAWKE UKBF Legend Full Member

    5,810 2,117
    Stick with it on here More to follow but I dont have everything together as I have been busy and not enough dealers are demanding this at present but your not the only one with this question
    Posted: Feb 25, 2021 By: JEREMY HAWKE Member since: Mar 4, 2008
  3. apricot

    apricot UKBF Regular Free Member

    427 43
    I haven't imported goods from France to UK but we've been importing from Turkey to the UK and as the import would work the same way, I can explain how we do.

    We have exactly the same issue, we collect goods from different suppliers and not all of them have can provide invoices.

    However, we have one supplier who can provide us with the invoice. We collect all the goods from different suppliers and pile them at this one specific supplier, he creates the invoice for us and deals with all customs then send goods to the UK.
    We buy most of the product from him so he is happy to do this for us for free of charge.
    If your volume is large if might be best if you open a company there so your company can buy all the goods and ship over the UK.
    Posted: Feb 25, 2021 By: apricot Member since: Apr 7, 2012
  4. Mike Godwin

    Mike Godwin UKBF Regular Free Member

    162 42
    You'll just need someone to prepare export paperwork in France for you to enable you to ship out of France. Then you'll need someone to prepare import paperwork for you on arrival in the UK to clear customs. This will all add to your costs of course but once you've set this up it will become routine. The essential document from your point of view will be a 'commercial invoice' that must shown full details of the items with respective values if only 'for customs purposes'. A reputable UK freight forwarder will be able to arrange all this for you including the French documents.
    Posted: Feb 25, 2021 By: Mike Godwin Member since: Mar 27, 2018
  5. Rosette Passion

    Rosette Passion UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    3 0
    Having had a business in France for 20 years, don't even begin to think about registering a business there unless you want your shirt stolen off your back! You are welcome to ask more.
    Posted: Mar 3, 2021 By: Rosette Passion Member since: Mar 3, 2021
  6. Mike Godwin

    Mike Godwin UKBF Regular Free Member

    162 42
    You will need to register a company in France or another EU country and apply for an EORI number in that country. French Customs will acknowledge EORI numbers issued in other EU states, as they are unique within the bloc.
    Posted: Mar 4, 2021 By: Mike Godwin Member since: Mar 27, 2018
  7. Gill Courage

    Gill Courage UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    27 6
    A couple of things spring to mind.
    1. A commercial invoice is not actually an invoice, in the sales sense. It is a document that lists what is in the consignment, with details of sender and receiver, customs commodity codes for the items, country of origin (manufacture) and values. This is for statistical analysis by the exporting country and taxes/duties in the country of import. It's not difficult to do once you have researched and done it a few times. The value may not always be what you paid.........
    2. Self transport is always a problem in these situations. Import/export is historically predicated on the seller delivering or the buyer sending a shipper to pick up. Once you have the goods in your hot, sticky hand you have "taken delivery" and they are yours. If you are not established in that country, you don't have the infrastructure to export from there. You may need to set up an arrangement with a shipper who can receive lots of little deliveries and put them all together to get them to the UK.
    3. You will have to pay VAT on import - which may hike your overheads. Check VAT exemptions and reductions rules carefully in case there are certain classes of "thing" you can import with less than 20%. Historical artefacts etc may qualify in some cases.
    Hang in there. If you think in enough circles, an answer usually turns up.
    Posted: Mar 4, 2021 By: Gill Courage Member since: Jun 25, 2019