Until December 2020, I was happily in a customs union with a lot of other countries.

If I needed to buy a hard disk for my computer, it was often cheaper (including shipping) or more likely available in specific models, to buy from the Netherlands or Germany than the UK. The few times I upgraded my PC or other things, and had old computer parts spare that I didn't need any more, to sell, one went to Spain, the other to Greece.

None of these were trade, and none were items bought in order to sell. They were all occasional bona-fide personal purchases, and disposal of used personal possessions 2nd hand. Total value might be £2000 or something, each way, in a year. Could vary in future. Say 70% eBay (purchase and occasional sale), 20% Amazon (purchase only) and 10% individual vendors (purchase only), if that gives an idea. Assume for this question that it's self evidently not trade.

Now that we are post-brexit, what has changed? What do I need to know next time I buy from or sell to an EU country?

I'm thinking broadly here, because I can imagine everything from forms and declarations, to different courier procedures, taxes and duties and how and who they are paid to. Ditto for whatever I need to make sure a seller does, or a buyer knows to expect. All the things I take for granted until now.

What do I need to know/do?

  • This story went around, just yesterday bbc.com/news/business-55734277 Commented Jan 23, 2021 at 13:56
  • 1
    Yes. I saw stories like that,but they're very anecdotal. All they say is, "be aware it could be less great". But import/export is quite rigorous, driven by states rules and policies. This question is asking what exactly I need to know and do, and what exactly now happens, as a small scale occasional buyer and as small scale occasional seller, of items in the £10 - £1000 range relevant to myself (and probably also to the vast majority of private buyers/sellers), to anticipate the new processes and regimes I now live under.
    – Stilez
    Commented Jan 23, 2021 at 17:25

1 Answer 1


Whilst its true that there are potentially duties bringing in goods from the EU, they are typically low around 4.5% also the duty rates for non-EU countries is potentially less, as the UK has joined other trade areas CPTPP for example and has new trade agreements in place.

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