At Bat and Bottle we’re specialist
importers of fine Italian wine. We’re based on Oakham Enterprise Park
in Rutland. We sell directly to the public as well as to restaurants around the UK.
We sell by mail-order on the Internet and we have been doing this since
1998, importing ourselves from Italy. We were founded in 1994, so I’ve got 20 years
of importing Italian wine as my experience. First thing I recommend is that you check
that you have an EORI number. This is probably your VAT number, so if you’re VAT
registered you probably do already have one. The EORI number is essential, once we’ve left the
European community, for clearing goods into the UK, with or without duty. But you will not be allowed to import goods into the UK
unless you have an EORI number. You also need this EORI number
if you’re not VAT-registered. It’s easy to do, it’s free to apply for – go to the
Government website and make sure that you have applied and are registered
for an EORI number. The next essential number you need is a TSP number.
This is a Transitional Simplified Procedure. It’s created for small importers, like me.
You need to register and you will be able to bring your goods into the UK from the EU,
and it will allow your duty to be deferred and should allow for the smooth
flow of goods into the UK without everything being stopped at Customs. Another new part of the admin of
importing, once we’re not in the EU, will be Commodity Codes and Customs Procedure
Codes. All of these codes will be different for each one of us
individually according to what we’re importing and under what Duty scheme
we are importing it. They all exist on the Government website. Personally, I’m saving
myself a lot of time – it’s quite hard to identify your codes with some products.
Talk to your shippers – there’s a really good chance they’re already doing this
for a lot of people in your industry and they can probably help tell you your
Commodity Codes and your Customs Procedure Codes far more easily than
you can probably identify it yourself. At Bat and Bottle we’re going to give
authorisation to our shippers to clear our Duty for us. I don’t know what the
new systems are going to be, but I’m pretty certain our shippers are going to
be better at it and know what to do faster than I do and then I’ll take it
back up myself afterwards. But I really recommend talk to your shippers, talk to
your fulfilment warehouses. They are going to be doing this for a lot of
people in different industries. They’re going to know far faster, and far more
accurately, what needs to be done than we are as the little people. I can’t emphasise enough – make the time
now to prepare. Check you’ve got your numbers, make sure that you know your
Commodity Codes and your Procedure Codes, but most importantly, just keep looking
at the Government website. You’ll find everything there. And also, just keep
talking. Keep talking to your suppliers, keep talking to your shippers, keep
talking to your friends, even to your competitors. We’re all in the same boat,
we all have to do the same thing. We will get through this together!