Selling To Eastern Europe

How To Efficiently Export Your Goods To The Continent

Advice and regulatory information to assist UK companies who wish to export their goods out to the growing markets in Eastern Europe.

In recent years, UK businesses have seen the potential in investing in Eastern European countries such as Romania and Poland. Not only does this region provide a gateway to the CIS markets of the former Soviet Union, but it also offers a young, skilled workforce who speak English widely. There are upwards of 4,700 UK businesses operating in Romania. However, to do so successfully and affordably, it is vital to know the intricacies of exporting to this part of the world.

Exporting To The EU

When you are considering shipping goods to Eastern Europe, it is important to determine whether your export destination is an EU member state. Of course, with the recent Brexit vote, the UK will be leaving the EU in the next couple of years, so this may change export rules somewhat. However, for now, it is a reasonably straightforward process if your product is compliant with UK regulations. So long as the UK and the destination country are part of the open market, you will not need to pay any duty or adhere to customs checks. VAT is an area to pay attention to and all your sales to an Eastern European EU country must be recorded on an EU Sales List as well as your own VAT return. However, if your customer is VAT-registered in their own country, then you won’t need to pay for it, as this will be covered at their end.

Non-EU European Countries

When you export outside of the EU, it is important to know the specific commodity code for the goods that you are shipping. The government’s commodity code list is comprehensive, yet extensive. Therefore, if you are in any doubt about which is the correct code for your needs, then it’s best to contact the Tariff Classification Service. You may need to apply for a Binding Tariff Information (BTI) ruling. This service is largely free unless lab analysis has been required to help determine the exact classification of your products. The ruling will be binding for 3 years.

Once you have the correct commodity code for your exporting requirements, you should submit an Electronic Declaration. You will need to register before submitting your export information through the National Export System.


You may need to alter the way you package your goods when you wish to send them to Eastern Europe. In comparison to the packaging materials you use for domestic pallet deliveries, you will usually require stronger and more robust packaging. Cardboard boxes may be sufficient, but you will need a heavy-duty version, with a double or triple wall. Consider that your boxes could be located at the bottom of a heavy pile, or may be kept in damp conditions that would completely soil your packaging.

Wood boxes are an alternative, but there are regulations on the shipping of certain types of untreated woods. This is to prevent the spread of disease or insects that could negatively affect the ecosystem of the destination country.

Exporting your goods to Eastern Europe can be an innovative solution for the growth of your company. However, if you don’t want to get too involved with the logistics and intricacies of the shipping process, then consider using a freight forwarding company to help you with the administrative and regulatory processes involved.