Around 24,000 companies in the South West that export to Europe are being warned they need to take urgent action as the prospect of a no deal Brexit looms larger.
The warning comes from James Monk, Business West’s international trade services director.
He says it is vital that those companies currently exporting to the EU must have an EORI number which stands for Economic Operator Registration and Identification. It is issued free of charge by the British government.
“While we recognise there is lots of uncertainty going forward about Brexit, one of the proactive things companies can do is to get an EORI number and get it now," said James.
“If we leave without a deal and your company is exporting to Europe you will have real problems if you haven’t got an EORI number.”
Companies trading outside the EU, like the United States for example, will already have an EORI number and do not need to apply for another one.
“Lots of companies are probably burying their heads in the sand. They don’t know whether we are leaving or not leaving," said James.
“We totally understand that, but one of the things you can do to safeguard your company in the future is to get this EORI number.
“In the South West, we are probably looking at around 24,000 companies currently trading in Europe which will need their special numbers.
“Business West is simply trying to protect the businesses in this region whether they are our members or not.”
An EORI number allows a company to import and export goods when trading with third countries.
If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, it will effectively become a third country and an EORI will be required for any shipment to and from the EU.
Business West has produced a video to explain how to apply for an EORI number. It can be viewed at www.businesswest.co.uk/campaigns/trading-through-brexit/trading-through-brexit-resources/apply-eori-number