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Bangor Toy Maker’s Experience of New UK/ EU Trade Deal


Paola Dyboski-Bryant, Chief Executive of giant bubble toy manufacturer Dr Zigs, says being proactive has been the key to continuing to trade with the EU under the UK’s new deal.

Dr Zigs makes toys that create giant-sized eco, ethical soap bubbles at its factory based in Bangor, North Wales, employing five people.

“We’ve not been shy to ask for help,” explains Paola. “Our couriers have been particularly helpful, and we have used GOV.UK/transition and other websites.

“We are lucky in that we manufacture everything ourselves, and all our inbound materials are changed significantly, which means we are fully Made in UK in terms of Rules of Origin.  We did a good bit of background research into this, again using the government website.

“Before January we had set up our VAT numbers in different EU countries, and we have also set up a European branch of Dr Zigs in France. This helps as we have our own company and EORI (European Operators Registration and Identification) number, and we can now export our own goods for onward distribution. We’re now also working out how we can use this company to help with our imports.

“We’ve been very proactive in the last few weeks. Although we felt we were prepared, there have been the odd curve balls and unexpected issues.

“We have a fantastic product, that is made with the planet in mind – a toy with low plastic, that is environmentally friendly, with an ethical heart, is educational and huge amounts of fun. We expect demand to be high this year and we are working hard to make sure we can meet that demand.

“I would advise any business that will be trading with the EU under the UK’s new free trade deal to use GOV.UK/transition, and your local business support groups.

“Some businesses might think they are not affected by the new rules but it’s worth using the checker tool on GOV.UK to find out.

“There are lots of webinars out there worth watching. People should read the news and track examples of people who are doing similar things. Talk to your couriers and get an understanding of the process.

“Patience and perseverance are key. And bubbles – step outside and make bubbles – it helps.”

The best place for businesses to get support is GOV.UK/transition  

  • Speak with your lawyer and accountant for more information, or answer questions using the checker tool to generate information tailored to your business, and to sign up for email updates.
  • Check the new on-demand videos (available here) to help businesses adapt to the new rules. Searchable by sector, businesses can find out more about 18 topics that may affect them.

For any further queries please contact the business support helpline, 0800 998 1098. Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm. Find Business Support Scotland: 0300 303 0660 Business Wales Helpline: 0300 060 3000 Invest Northern Ireland helpline: 0800 181 4422

Additional information

To continue trading with the EU, you need to follow new rules for importing and exporting, including changes to customs processes and licensing. Visit GOV.UK/transition to find out what you need to do.

Before you attempt to move your goods, you will need to get ready to make customs declarations – these are now needed for all exports from the UK and if you’re importing controlled [SE(&P1] goods (goods that must have a license to import, or excise goods like alcohol or tobacco, which have additional duties on them). If you import goods that are not controlled, you may be able to delay making your declarations for up to six months. For more information about this go to GOV.UK.

Here are some actions you should take:

1.       Use GOV.UK to identify how your business can be ready to sell certain goods in the UK and EU

Use GOV.UK to check rules on manufactured goods, such as marking requirements and approvals needed, to ensure your business can sell them on the UK and EU markets

2.       Check that your goods comply with rules of origin and that you have the required evidence to trade tariff-free with the EU

Businesses need to take action to access zero tariffs in the Trade and Cooperation Agreement. They must check that their goods comply with rules of origin requirements, make a declaration and ensure they have the correct evidence if they wish to claim preferential tariff rates when trading with the EU. Please consult further guidance here

3.       Check your INCOTERMS to understand contractual obligations responsibilities with your customers and/or suppliers, to decide who is responsible for paying duties, VAT and making declarations at each stage of a consignment’s journey.

When trading across borders, make sure you understand who in your supply chain is responsible for declarations, VAT and duties [SE(&P2]

4.       Follow NI-specific rules for trading between GB, Northern Ireland and the EU (in addition to global trade changes)

If you move goods into, out of, or through Northern Ireland, make sure you check the latest Northern Ireland Protocol guidance.