HMRC has started automatically issuing businesses with identification numbers for its customs system, to allow them to trade with the EU after Brexit.

Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) numbers enable businesses to be identified by customs authorities when trading.

If a business doesn't have one, it will not be able to continue trading with EU member states after the UK leaves the EU.

Over the next two weeks, around 88,000 VAT-registered businesses will receive a letter from HMRC informing them they have been allocated a number, while 72,000 companies have already registered.

Businesses that are not VAT-registered will also need to register for an EORI number in order to move goods into or out of the EU.

Chancellor Sajid Javid said:

"As the government accelerates its preparation to leave the EU on 31 October, it's right businesses are prepared too.

"There can be no time for delay which is why HMRC has allocated thousands of businesses with a trading number to ensure they can continue to trade their goods through Europe from day one.

"This will help ease the flow of goods at border points and support businesses to trade and grow."

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