How the new UK-EU trade relationship will affect your marketing event plans

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New rules on transporting marketing materials into the EU will mean extra paperwork must be submitted before your marketing event. Brexit will certainly mean a few more items will need to be added to your checklist. For those that have managed marketing events outside the E.U. they will already be familiar with ‘Export Invoices‘, ‘Packing Lists‘ and the unbelievably expensive ‘ATA Carney‘ forms.

Getting your marketing materials into the EU

Assuming that no UK / EU trade deal is in place by 1st of January 2021 your marketing materials (pop up stand, brochures, promotional items etc) will be treated as an EU import. As such, each individual item that you are importing will attract an import tax at various rates. This is assuming, of course, that you have completed your Export Invoice and Packing List correctly. If you haven’t, then your import will be impounded by E.U. customs and this can take weeks to rectify.

If it is your intention to leave the WHOLE consignment in the EU once the marketing event is over, say with a regional office or local representative, then it is a genuine import and all you need to send to your chosen carrier (DHL, TNT, UPS etc) is the Export Invoice and Packing list. Well done, you have just become a global exporter.

TOP TIP: If possible, take the marketing materials with you if it can fit into a car or can be taken with you on an aeroplane. You can avoid all forms doing it this way.

What if I want my marketing materials returned to the UK?

Before you go down the time consuming and expensive path of importing your marketing materials back to the UK, you need to ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Do you really need to ‘ship’ anything back?
  2. If you do, can it be carried in a private car or carried onto an aeroplane?
  3. If you are planning to use it again in the EU is it worth leaving it with a friendly supplier, friend or at low cost storage facility?

As a general rule of thumb if your entire consignment (fancy term for stuff you wish to send somewhere using DHL, TNT, UPS etc) is valued at less than £1,000 after the event, then you should seriously consider disposing the materials in the EU. This is due to the fact that the return cost of your consignment plus the cost of UK import taxes or an ATA Carney and your time can easily add up to £1,000.

If you really do want your materials back in the UK, can it transported by aeroplane as personal luggage? You can have it stowed as hold luggage, but you will need to pay extra if it is over your personal luggage allowance. Alternatively, you can save yourself a whole lot of hassle if it can be safely transported in a private car. Beware though, that the time and cost of you or one of your employees driving to the event may well be more expensive than paying for shipping or flying, especially to more distant European destinations.

I definitely want my marketing materials return to the UK.

If your consignment is too big to fit in a car or to big to be taken as personal luggage then you will need to import your consignment back to the UK. This will require a new set of Export Invoices and Packing Lists and will attract import taxes, depending on the tax payable it might be financially worthwhile completing an ATA Carney form. As a general rule of thumb if your export and import taxes total over £400 then you should consider using an ATA Carney form.

How do I get hold of an ATA Carney form?

The ATA Carney form is a process in it’s own right and I will cover this in my next blog.

Published by Andre Alford

As a registered Chartered Marketer since 2013, Andre has supported the growth of four businesses totalling £61m in combined additional revenue. He has full service marketing experience ranging from product definition to organizing tradeshows, PR campaigns and advertising campaigns. Previously a Chartered Engineer too, Andre is a person of considerable vision that has enabled him to come up with multiple innovative ideas and patents. His management experience comes from managing large teams, large projects and from being a director on the board of a web-directory service. Andre’s management style is a coaching-type one, where he enjoys helping others to discover and exploit their natural talents.

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