Businesses are being urged to sign up to the Trader Support Service as Brexit transition period ends next month.
More than 7,000 businesses have now signed up to the new Trader Support Service (TSS), which will support traders moving goods under the Northern Ireland Protocol from 1 January 2021.
In the past 10 days alone, registrations to the TSS have increased by around 50%, but with fewer than 50 days to go until the end of the Brexit transition period, more traders are being urged to register now and take advantage of the scheme’s wide-ranging package of customs support and guidance.
The TSS launched on 28 September, providing a free-to-use digital platform to help businesses and traders of all sizes navigate the upcoming changes to the way goods move.
The comprehensive service will complete digital processes on behalf of all businesses moving goods into Northern Ireland under the Northern Ireland Protocol and is backed by up to £200 million in funding.
As part of the government’s investment in the TSS, a new contact centre went live on 2 November, creating 150 jobs in Northern Ireland. The contact centre is now available to support traders over the phone with the registration process.
The TSS, which is already providing guidance and training to help businesses prepare for 1 January, will:
Traders who sign up before 23 November will also be automatically issued a unique identifying number that will be required from January to move goods to or from Northern Ireland. Those who register later may need to apply separately to be issued with this number.
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove MP, said:
"It’s very encouraging that over 7,000 businesses have signed up to the new free-to-use Trader Support Service, which will provide crucial support and guidance to firms moving goods under the Protocol. Backed by up to £200 million of UK government funding, the TSS reflects our deep commitment to support the Northern Ireland economy and protect the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement. With fewer than 50 days to go until the end of the Brexit transition period, it is vital that traders sign up and take advantage of the scheme, so that they can continue to trade seamlessly and seize new opportunities on 1 January 2021."
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Brandon Lewis MP, said:
"While it is good news to see more than 7,000 businesses signing up to the Trader Support Service, I really would encourage more traders to act now and take advantage of this free-to-use service. Creating 150 jobs in Northern Ireland, the Trader Support Service contact centre will directly assist businesses with queries on the movement of goods and provide guidance on what steps they need to take to prepare for the end of the Brexit transition period. There will be changes to the way goods move between Great Britain and Northern Ireland in fewer than 50 days – that’s why I urge more traders to sign up to this service and get ready."
Since the TSS website launched at the end of September:
As of 16 November 2020, 7,267 business had registered for the Trader Support Service.
Traders can sign up for the Trader Support Service. They will receive full guidance and support on the next steps to take ahead of 1 January 2021.
Under the Northern Ireland Protocol, all Northern Ireland businesses will continue to have unfettered access to the whole UK market.
Led by Fujitsu, the consortium delivering the TSS has expertise across the range of services needed to make the Trader Support Service effective and successful. This includes the Institute of Export & International Trade, an existing provider of customs education, and the Customs Clearance Consortium, an established customs intermediary.
From 1 January 2021 traders will need an Economic Operators Registration and Identification (EORI) number number that starts with XI to: