As the top Manchester Chartered Accountants, we deal with not only local businesses, but international clients as well. We will use our tax knowledge to save you money wherever possible.

Getting the right licences for international traders is critical because it will not only make it easier for you to trade but will also eliminate delays. Proper documentation allows you to take advantage of tariff quotas, enjoy preferential treatment and join trading schemes that boost trade between the UK and China.


Notice that unlike home trade, there are stringent regulations that must be met if you choose to engage in international trade. Failure to adhere to them may result in penalties and lead to the seizure of your goods.  For instance, the lack of proper documentation will make HM Revenue seize your goods. Similarly, you will be susceptible to criminal proceedings if you are found trading in prohibited goods or trading with countries under sanctions. So obtaining relevant documentation will help you avoid these pitfalls.

Typically, if you are importing goods into the UK from China, you will need permits and certificates depending on:

  • The product code
  • The type of product

You will also need commodity codes before being allowed to import goods into the UK. Commodity codes can be found online at UK Trade Tariff.  The UK Trade Tariff will also help you check if importing specified goods require permits. It will keep you posted on rules that must be followed in China and those that must be adhered to in the UK. 


Important Documents If You Are Importing Goods from China:



Licenses and Declaration

Imports to the UK must be declared through the CHIEF (Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight System). This can be done electronically via the National Export System (NES). CHIEF is connected to Community Service System Providers (CSPs), which are independent trade systems that serve freight forwarders, transit sheds, and carriers. Its job is to record and track the movement of goods within airports and ports.


Import Licences, Certificates, and Permits

If importing Common Agricultural Policy commodities from China, licences are required to help the authority to control and monitor the market. The licences are issued by RPA (Rural Payment Agency)

If you are importing textile, nuclear material, textile, firearms, and ammunition, Iron and steel, you need licences from innovation and skills department for business as well as licences from Import licensing Branch (ILB).

If you are importing products such as blood, milk, poultry, meat, plant products, fur, endangered species, and other plant foodstuffs, you need to secure licences from Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs). 

The following products require licences from specified bodies before they can be imported into the UK.


Plant Products

You will need a QRC (Quarantine Release Certificate) licence to import vegetables, fruit and plant products. Also, you need to check if importing certain plants require plant health movement documents.

If you are importing products whose chief raw materials are endangered animal species or plant, you must secure Licences from Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. 


Refrigerators and Firefighting Equipment

Businesses that plan to import products that utilize ozone-depleting substances such as those found in firefighting equipment and refrigerators, which include solvent and aerosols must obtain licensing from Defra.


Carcinogenic Substances

Importing ODS products require that you obtain a licence from ODS Europa website database. On the other hand, if you are planning to import carcinogenic substances and chemicals including animal hair, it is necessary that you obtain a health and Safety Executive Exemption certificate. While businesses that import over a tonne of chemicals in one year must register with European Chemical Agency. Other products such as textiles may require surveillance import licence.


Medicine and Medical Devices

Importing medical devices and medicine is regulated by the Healthcare Product Regulatory Agency. Notice that by October 24th, 2018 the body had netted fake devices and medicine worth £2 million. It implies that anyone planning to import medical devices and medicine from China must obtain relevant licences from MHRA before placing the order.  Also, REACH legislation stipulates that anyone contemplating to import chemicals in excess of one tone must register with the European Chemical Agency. They must also declare and make public any chemicals that they have placed on the market but which are dangerous.  Importers of biotechnology products should comply with the BIS especially if the chemicals involved can be used to manufacture warfare artilleries.


Importing Timber

To import timber or wooden packaging materials into the UK, it is necessary that you register with Defra and that you must notify the Forestry Commission of your intentions in advance. You must adhere to plant health regulations.  Also, it is mandatory that you obtain a quarantine Release Certificate from China before you bring the products into the UK.


Importing Toothfish

To import toothfish, you must secure a health certificate from EHD (Environmental Health Department) of your local authority. They will issue you with a letter stating that the seafood you will be bringing into the country meets the UK hygiene requirements.  If you plan to import live shellfish, Cefas will work in conjunction with LAS to guarantee that critical aspects of health certificate are met.


Import Licence quotas and Tariff Quotas

Although Britain has exited EU, you may still have to obtain licence quotas when importing certain agricultural commodities into the EU. The licenses impose quantitative restrictions and may only be issued upon fulfilling specified financial security requirements.

So to save tax contact the leading Manchester Accountants on Tel; 0161-278-2714 today and request your free tax and business review.