Peak Translations

How to navigate the UK’s new trading rules with the EU and beyond

At Peak Translations Ltd, we’ve always kept a watching brief on export issues. It means we can plan ahead for the types of projects clients are likely to ask us about, and maintain our reputation for working at pace.

Never has this been the case more than now, when so much has – and continues to change – in how the UK does business internationally.

The UK may well now have a new trading agreement with the EU but there are elements still under discussion. There are also trade agreements with non-EU countries that have either been fully ratified, or have provisional application or bridging mechanisms in place to ensure continuity of trade. As each day comes, businesses are learning of a new area where their business might feel the impact. If you haven’t already, you might find it useful to access the UK’s Brexit Checker to learn more about actions necessary for your particular business.

It’s clear there will be many issues to navigate over the coming months and, of course, opportunities to be seized. Whilst we are not legal, tax or export experts at Peak Translations, we do have in-depth experience in how businesses can react and adapt to changing international conditions.

As such, our team, and particularly our MD, Helen Provart, actively participate in webinars and discussions with the Department for International Trade, the local Chambers of Commerce and HMRC, with a view to gathering and imparting the information we think is most relevant to our clients. Keeping a watchful eye on the latest policy changes, along with engaging with our customers to better understand the challenges and opportunities they face as part of the new trading arrangements, means, together, we’re in the strongest position to thrive in business in the months ahead.

Here’s some of the most immediate points we wanted to bring to your attention, along with links to useful reading:

Internationalisation Fund for businesses in England

The Department for International Trade’s new Internationalisation Fund offers match-funded grants of between £1,000 and £9,000, at a rate of 50% to 60%. Eligible businesses are SMEs in England, with support offered to areas such as: market research; IP advice; translation services; and international social media/SEO.

Useful reading: Internationalisation Fund.

Thinking of applying? Contact us for a quote on our translation services and international social media/SEO.


UK professionals may only work in EU and associated countries if their qualification has already been officially recognised by the relevant regulator in that particular country. Identifying which profession is regulated can be done through the European Commission’s Regulated Professions Database (REGPROF).

Different rules apply for auditors and lawyers.  

Useful reading: The European Commission’s Regulated Professions Database (REGPROF).

Business travel

You may need a visa, work permit or other documentation if you’re planning to stay in the EU or an associated country for longer than 90 days in any 180-day period, or if you’re transferring to a branch in a different country, even for a short period of time, or providing a service to a client in another country in which your business has no presence.

UK visitors to the EU will be required to have at least six months left on their passports (the same is not required of EU citizens visiting the UK).

Whilst it is not obligatory, you may wish to consider carrying a letter from your employer when you travel, explaining the nature of your work and reason for visit, as well as the duration of your trip. It may help to facilitate entry at the relevant border; particularly if written  in the language of the country being visited.


The EU’s general data protection regulation has already been written into UK law. However, for personal data to freely flow from the European bloc to the UK, the UK’s data protection laws must be deemed to meet the EU’s required data protection standards. The European Commission has now approved the UK’s standards, pending a decision by Member States.

Useful reading: The Information Commissioner’s Office GDPR guidance.


Duty free entry for goods shipped from the UK into the EU is now limited to ‘originating goods’ i.e. their origin must be in accordance with the rules of origin in the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA). Exporters are expected to show proof of this.

Whilst it does not appear to an official requirement to translate such documentation, it would seem the new rules are being interpreted differently by officials. It may be only a teething problem at certain points of entry but it may help to expedite the shipping of your goods if you take the time to translate the documentation beforehand.

Peak Translations often steps in to support clients on very immediate translation requirements. This was indeed the case when we translated a Declaration of Conformity certificate, which helped to facilitate the prompt release of a machine being held at Customs at a French port.

VAT and e-commerce

A less immediate change but an important one, nonetheless, is the change to VAT  obligations for e-commerce which will be implemented on 1 July 2021. The new rules will simplify online cross-border sales of goods or services, ensuring supplies are paid in line with the principle of taxation in the Member State of destination.

Already in place are the new VAT rules on non-UK clients, which apply regardless of whether or not they are based in the EU. Since these clients are now outside the scope of VAT, there is no longer a requirement for a reverse-charge system. A welcome change for any business that has, until now, had to maintain an EU or international sales list.

Useful reading: Modernising VAT for cross-border EU commerce.

Business Beyond Brexit survey

Finally, our own survey. Whilst it is too early to share the overall findings, we can report the feedback so far is that shipping, custom requirements, and finding suitable in-country partners, are the three top challenges experienced by Peak Translations’ community.

We’ll report back once we’ve closed the survey. If you’d like to participate in the meantime, it can be accessed here: Business Beyond Brexit.




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