How to Export Goods to Portugal in 2021

With the unprecedented disruption caused by COVID-19, you’d be forgiven for forgetting that ‘Brexit’ is still very much on the agenda. On the first of January 2021, the UK will no longer be party to the European free trade agreement. So, what does that mean for British importers and exporters? And how will procedures change if you want to export goods between the UK and countries such as Portugal?

How to Export Goods to Portugal with Plexus Freight in 2021

The UK is Portugal’s fourth biggest export market, and in the year to December 2019, total UK exports to Portugal amounted to £3.2 billion (ONS, 2020). As an exporter, what do you need to know about sending goods to Portugal once the new legislation comes into place?


With negotiations still very much ongoing, any information relating to tariffs is still subject to change. But at the time of writing, from January 1st 2021, the ‘EU’s Most Favoured Nation’ (MFN) terms will apply to exports from the UK to Portugal. As one might expect from a World Trade Organisation agreement, the terms are both complex and lengthy. But in short, it means that while the UK will no longer be bound by the restrictions of the EU export legislation, the country will be tied into another set of tariffs that will cover all EU countries.


The break from Europe means that when sending goods to Portugal, exporters will now need to follow the procedures that are already in place for non-EU trade. So:

  • Check if you need a UK licence or certificate to export your goods into Portugal (controlled goods include: military items, dual-use items, firearms, items that can be used for torture or capital punishment, and civil nuclear material).
  • Check the duties, rules and restrictions for your goods in the destination country.
  • If you are not already registered, you need to register your business for exporting.
  • Take care of customs paperwork – either yourself or using a reputable freight forwarder.
  • Classify your goods using the correct export commodity codes.
  • And prepare your goods for transport with a professional logistics provider with proven track record in Portugal.

Where can you find help if you need advice about exporting to Portugal in 2021?

The Department for International Trade (DIT) should be your first point of contact if you need any support in understanding the new regulations for exporting to Portugal – or any other EU destination. It can provide general advice, and direct you to your local trade office if you need a more personalised service.

Transporting goods to Portugal with Plexus Freight

Plexus Freight has been operating between the UK and Portugal since 1995. We partner with depots in Lisbon, Porto and Southern Portugal, delivering a full range of services and very competitive rates. For a detailed quote, just contact the office or fill in our online form.

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