The northern European country of Estonia is an international centre for manufacturing, business and most remarkably as a global leader in the IT industry. Estonia has produced companies including Transferwise (now called Wise), Skype, Playtech, and Taxify who have revolutionised the sectors they operate through online. These innovations have made Estonia a fast-growing economy with oodles of exports that are in demand in the UK. In addition, importing from Estonia is even easier as English is extensively used for trade, making imports to the UK by production companies even easier. Plus, it’s a great location from which to trade with Scandinavia, the Baltics, Central Europe and Asia.
As the UK is now no longer an EU member, importing from Estonia to the UK is more complicated. There is far more paperwork and there have been more than a few rule changes when it comes to customs obligations. Imports are deemed as any would be from any other foreign “third” country, which means customs declarations must be completed and clear, plus licences and permits may be required on a host of goods. Be sure to do your research on conditions for your specific cargo before sending. EORI (Economic Operator Registration and Identification Number) for both the UK and EU is mandatory so take a look at our blog on What is an EORI Number for more. We always advise any business importing from Estonia to work with a customs clearance agent who is knowledgeable of Estonian customs export requirements and can smooth the way into the UK.
Post-Brexit, the fact that the UK is now classified as a “third country” means that there will be additional duties and VAT to pay on Estonian goods. One way around this is if goods are recognised by the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement, allowing tariff-free imports. However, the exporter on the Estonian side must make an official declaration for customs and swear to the manufacture of the goods within the country. There is a VAT agreement in place between the UK and EU countries, so it may be possible to get zero-rate importing into the UK. However, VAT is usually charged at 20%. For more direction or information, speak to your customs agent or freight forwarder, who will know all the official information to help your goods transit.
Transit time frames from Estonia to the UK vary but ordinarily take goods 7-9 days for groupage, 3-4 days for a full load, and 2-3 days for express shipments. Accurate times depend on the length of time customs clearance takes and other factors – many of which can be mitigated if handled before shipment.