Trading arrangements between the UK and Malta, like the rest of the EU, will remain unchanged until the end of the year, even though Britain leaves the bloc at the end of the month.

The Customs Department explained on Wednesday that an 11-month transition period kicks off at the end of January and lasts until December 31.

"Although the UK will cease to be an EU member, the trading relationship during this period will remain the same and it will continue to follow the EU's rules. This means that there will be no Customs border between the UK and the EU until the 31st December 2020 and the current free movement of goods between the UK and the EU will be maintained," the department said. 

The purpose of the transition is to enable the UK and the EU to define their future relationship.

The department pointed out that a future free trade deal will not necessarily eliminate all checks between the UK and EU once the the transition period expires.

Preparations by the trade sector

The Customs Department urged economic operators who trade with the UK to register and obtain an Economic Operator Registration Identification (EORI) number to be able to lodge declarations for their imports and exports (post-transition period). Economic operators can initiate the EORI registration process by sending an e-mail to: eori.customs@gov.mt .

Further details may be obtained through the following link - https://customs.gov.mt/bus/economic-operators-registration-identification

 Authorised Economic Operator

Operators were also urged to apply for an Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) status. There are several trade facilitation incentives that AEOs can benefit from. Additional information can be found on the Customs Department’s website – www.customs.gov.mt under the ‘Businesses and Trade’ tab, ‘Authorised Economic Operators’ tab.

Training

The Customs Department is offering training to operators.  Applications should be made by e-mail to the Customs Training Unit on customs.training@gov.mt.