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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/notice-826-tariff-preferences-imports/notice-826-tariff-preferences-imports
This notice cancels and replaces Notice 826 (March 2015).
Further help and advice
If you need general advice or more copies of HMRC notices, please telephone the Excise Helpline.
If you would like to speak to someone in Welsh, telephone: 0300 200 3705, Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm.
All calls are charged at the local rate within the UK. Charges may differ for mobile phones.
Other notices on this or related subjects
- Notice 812 European Union preferences - trade with Turkey
- Notice 827 European Union preferences - export procedures
- Notice 828 Tariff preferences - Rules of Origin for various countries
- Notice 830 Tariff preference - new General System of Preference Rules of Origin
- Notice 831 European Union - Binding Origin Information
- Notice 832 Tariff preferences - Rules of Origin for Mexico
1.1 What is this notice about?
This notice provides importers with information about importing under preference. It also contains a brief introduction to the widely used General System of Preference (GSP).
The details given here supplement the normal requirements for imported goods. You can find these in the HMRC Tariff, Volume 1 (the Tariff).
This notice does not cover preference relating to Turkey. You will find details of this in Notice 812: European Union preferences: trade with Turkey.
Nothing in this notice overrides the requirements of the law.
1.2 What’s changed
Paragraph 3.4 has been amended to provide clarification that a standalone letter head is not a commercial document for the purpose of making an invoice declaration.
1.3 What is ‘preference’?
‘Preference’ means you pay a lower rate of import Customs Duty and or levy charge, or none at all, on your goods. To get preference, you must show that the goods have met certain origin rules (see paragraph 1.7) and to do so you need to produce to customs a valid preference document (see paragraph 3.1). Your goods must also satisfy rules about transportation (see paragraphs 4.1 to 4.4).
A list of all the countries which benefit from preferential treatment is to be found in the HMRC Tariff, Volume 1, Part 7 (Preferences).
1.4 Which goods are eligible for preference and what are the rates of duty?
You can find this information in the Tariff, Volume 2, part 2. You can also obtain information about preferential rates of duty from the Excise Helpline.
Changes to preferential arrangements take place from time to time, sometimes at very short notice. Occasionally it will not be possible to update the Tariff before a change becomes effective. When this happens the information is posted on the Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) notice board.
You can also get up to date information about preference rates and agreements from Customs Information Papers (CIPs) formerly known as Joint Customs Consultative Committee (JCCC) Information Papers which are published on GOV.UK and from your agent. Most customs clearance agents are linked to our computerised clearance facility which means they often have access to new information before it appears in the printed Tariff. The European Commissions TARIC website - also contains up to date information and historical information about rates of duty.
The preferential rates of Common Agricultural Policy charges can be obtained from our advice service and the Commission of the European Union TARIC Website.
1.5 Is there a limit to what I can import under preference?
Yes, in some cases. Restrictions, known as ceilings or tariff quotas, limit the quantity of certain goods which can be imported under preference. You will find more details in the Tariff, Volume 1, part 8 and in Notice 375: Tariff quotas.
1.6 What are the origin rules?
These vary according to the product and to the preferential trade agreement concerned. They either require that the product:
- is wholly produced in the preference country
- has been manufactured there in accordance with rules which govern the use of imported materials
Goods which meet these rules are known as ‘originating goods’.
1.7 Where can I find the origin rules?
Details of the origin rules can be found in:
The EU’s preferential trade agreements are contained in the Official Journals (OJs) of the European Union. A list of relevant OJs can be found in the UK Trade Tariff, Volume 1 part 7. Copies of Official Journals can be purchased from:
The Stationery Office (TSO)
PO Box 29
Telephone: 0333 202 5070, they can also be accessed via the Commission of the European Union Website (EUR-LEX)
1.8 Are checks made on imported goods?
Yes. All preference imports are liable to be checked at the time of importation and we may conduct post importation checks on documentation at any time up to 3 years from the date of release of the goods into free circulation to a preferential rate of duty.
We may also ask for security before releasing the goods (see paragraph 5.4) if we have reason to doubt that they meet the preference requirements. We will then ask the authorities in the exporting preference country to carry out a check.
We can also ask those authorities to check on goods which have already been released at the preferential rate.
EU legislation also enables the Commission of the EU to send missions to overseas countries to check the origin of goods which have been exported under preference.
Where any of these checks show that the goods do not qualify for preferential tariff treatment you will have to pay duty at the full (non-preferential) rate.
Note 1: EU legislation allows for the collection of back duty for a period of up to 3 years after the goods have been imported.
Note 2: where an agent makes a customs declaration as an indirect representative, both agent and principal are jointly and separately liable for debt.
Therefore, in your own interest you should check as far as possible that any preference document you present to us is valid and that the goods covered by it are properly entitled to preference.
Paragraphs 2.1 to 2.7 tell you what you can do to help yourself avoid a liability to duty and how you can check that your goods have met the rules.
1.9 What law covers this notice?
Preference law for all goods is contained in various EU Regulations and Council decisions which are directly applicable in the UK through the European Communities Act 1972. The regulations and decisions are listed in the UK Trade Tariff, Volume 1, part 7. If you do not have access to the Tariff, our Excise Helpline will be able to tell you where you can find the law for particular preference receiving countries.
Any declaration you give must be accurate. Anyone making a false declaration in respect of preferential origin of goods or failing to comply with other legal provisions may be liable to penalties.
1.10 What to do if you disagree with a customs decision
Right to be Heard (before a decision is issued)
Before we send an adverse customs decision, we’ll tell you why we intend to do so. This explanation is made in line with your Right to be Heard.
The explanation will give you a period of 30 calendar days for you to give more information to HMRC.
Reviews and appeals (after a decision is issued)
If you disagree with a customs decision you can either:
- ask for a review by writing back to the decision maker within 30 days of the date of the letter, giving the reasons why you do not agree with their decision
- appeal directly to the Tribunal who are independent of HMRC
If you choose to have your case reviewed you’ll still be able to appeal to the Tribunal if you disagree with the outcome.
More information about reviews and appeals is in leaflet HMRC1: HM Revenue and Customs decisions - what to do if you disagree.
2. Checking that your goods meet the appropriate origin rules
2.1 Duty relief for importers who have made claims to preference in good faith on products which did not meet the origin rules
Paragraph 1.9 mentioned that where post clearance checks show that your goods did not qualify for the preferential rate of duty claimed at the time of importation you will be required to pay duty at the full non-preferential rate, and that EU legislation allows for the collection of back duty for a period up to 3 years after the goods have been imported.
However, on 19 December 2000 an important amendment to Article 220.2(b) of EC Regulation 2913/92 repealed by Regulation (EU) 952/2013 entered into force. It provides you, in certain circumstances, with relief from your liability to pay Customs Duty on products which were not entitled to the preferential rate of duty claimed at the time of importation. It applies in cases where:
- a duty liability arises (a duty demand is issued) on or after 19 December 2000 for products which are covered by an authentic preference certificate (GSP form A or EUR1/EUR-MED movement certificate) which has been issued by the proper authority in the exporting country (it does not apply to products which are covered by origin declarations on invoices or other commercial documents)
- it can be demonstrated to our satisfaction that the claims to preference were made in good faith
2.2 How can I help myself to qualify for relief under the ‘good faith’ arrangements and check that the goods I am importing meet the appropriate origin rules?
Entitlement to relief under the good faith arrangements will depend on the circumstances of individual cases.
However, you can help yourself to avoid a liability to duty by obtaining documentary evidence which clearly shows that either before or during the period in which the goods were imported you:
- read the appropriate customs notice (see paragraph on ‘Other notices on this or related subjects’)
- found out the origin rules for the products concerned
- reminded your overseas supplier of the rules and asked for written confirmation that they had been met - (such confirmation must be dated and include details as to the origin of the materials, components or parts used to make the products and a description of the processes undertaken in the preference receiving country, it should also confirm that the same information was provided to the relevant authorities with the application for the preference certificate(s) concerned)
2.3 What else can I do to check that my goods have met the origin rules?
There are a number of things that you can do. For example:
- if you purchase your goods through selling agents in the overseas country you could ask them to provide you with written confirmation that the origin rules have been met
- if visiting the overseas factory you could obtain confirmation at first hand that the origin rules had been met
- or you could obtain Binding Origin Information (BOI) for your products - you can find out more about the binding origin system in Notice 831: European Union - Binding Origin Information
If you suspect the accuracy of any of the information received you should seek further written clarification from your supplier.
You should contact the Excise Helpline if, when you have received a response from your supplier, you’re still unsure that your goods are entitled to a preferential rate of duty. Allow yourself plenty of time, as it will not always be possible to provide you with an immediate answer.
You should not claim preference until you have completed these checks. If they confirm that any goods which you have imported in the meantime are entitled to a preferential rate of duty, you can make a belated claim (see paragraph 5.7).
Finally, you may wish to establish whether you would be able to include and enforce a clause in your contract allowing you to recover duty from your supplier if checks reveal that the certificate was invalid or that the goods have not met the origin rules.
2.4 What should I do if I am already making claims to preference?
If you’re currently claiming a preferential rate of duty on products which have not been subjected to the above checks you should consider making enquiries of your supplier. You must stop making claims to preference immediately if the enquiries show that your goods are not meeting the origin rules.
If you’re going to import the same goods over a long period of time you should, even if you hold BOI, make regular checks with your supplier to ensure that there has not been a change in the manufacturing process or in the origin of the materials and components used which could affect entitlement to preference. You should obtain confirmation in writing from your supplier that the rules are still being met.
2.5 How do I make a claim to relief under the ‘good faith’ arrangements?
We will issue Duty Demand Notes (forms C18) in the normal way for products which are found after clearance to be ineligible for the preference claimed. However, the letter advising you or your representative of your liability will refer to the relief and invite you to submit, if appropriate, an application on form C285 for remission of the duty concerned. The application must be accompanied by the evidence of good faith referred to in paragraphs 2.2 to 2.4.
You can obtain form C285 to apply for a repayment or remission of import duties.
All applications must be made within a period of 3 years from the date of issue of the C18 duty demand note. However, you’re advised to submit the application and evidence as soon as possible, otherwise we will commence action to enforce payment of the debt. You should also be aware that it may be necessary to refer cases to the Commission of the European Union for consideration and advice as to whether all conditions for relief are met.
2.6 Can I still appeal if I am making a claim for relief under the good faith arrangements?
Yes. The possibility of you being able to make a claim under the good faith arrangements does not affect your right to ask for a formal departmental review of the decision to demand duty on your imports. For information on the appeals procedure refer to paragraph 1.10.
2.7 Are there any circumstances in which relief will not be granted under the good faith arrangements?
Yes. Relief will not be granted in respect of:
- liabilities which arose before 19 December 2000 - the arrangements are not retrospective
- products for which evidence of good faith cannot be produced, or where such evidence shows that enquiries were made of the overseas supplier only after you had finished importing the goods concerned
- products covered by preference certificates which have been forged/falsified in the overseas country or which have not been issued/authenticated by the proper certifying authorities there, this restriction will apply regardless of whether you are able to produce the evidence of ‘good faith’ referred to above
- products covered by preference certificates which were obtained on the basis of false information or an incorrect account of the facts provided by manufacturers/exporters/suppliers in the overseas country unless the authorities who issued the certificates knew or should have known that the goods covered by them could not have met the rules
- products on which preference was claimed on or after the date of the issue by the Commission of the European Union of a notice (warning) in the Official Journal of the European Union which expresses concern or doubts as to their entitlement to preference (we will immediately relay the Commission’s warnings about particular products in Customs Information Papers (CIPs) - the restriction will again apply regardless of whether you are able to produce evidence of ‘good faith’
2.8 Derogations from the normal Rules of Origin
Certain products originating in GSP, OCT and ACP countries are covered by derogations from the normal preferential Rules of Origin. You should check the CIPs on the HMRC website to establish whether the product you are importing is covered by a derogation. Note that in most cases the derogations are available only within the limits of annual Tariff Quotas and you or your agent/forwarder will have to make a claim to the relevant quota wherever the proof of origin (GSP) form A or form EUR1 accompanying the goods shows that they’ve been covered by a Decision or Regulation derogation from the normal Rules of Origin.
2.9 Cumulation of origin
Cumulation within preferential trade agreements is a facility that helps manufactured goods to meet the relevant origin rule.
It works by forming countries into groups or zones for origin purposes. This allows manufacturers to count materials originating in other countries in the zone as if they originated in the country of manufacture, when incorporated into a product made there.
There are 3 types of cumulation:
A fuller explanation of all 3 types can be found in Notice 828: Tariff preferences: Rules of Origin for various countries.
2.10 Pan-Euro-Med cumulation
This paragraph provides a brief description of the system of Pan-Euro-Med cumulation of origin.
Pan-Euro-Med cumulation is the extension of the diagonal cumulation arrangements (described in Notice 828: Tariff preferences: Rules of Origin for various countries) that are currently available for the Pan-European countries (EU, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland (including Liechtenstein) and Turkey) to the Faroe Islands and to its Mediterranean partners (Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and Gaza Strip and Israel). It also allows agricultural products originating in Turkey (which were excluded from the old Pan-European cumulation system) to participate in the arrangement.
Pan-Euro-Med cumulation arrangements does not affect any bilateral, diagonal or full cumulation arrangements which may currently be in operation in longstanding Preferential Trade Agreements between the EU and the Mediterranean countries - those arrangements remain extant.
However, the existing cumulation arrangements and certain other features of the EU’s longstanding bilateral preferential trade arrangements with the Mediterranean countries are not interchangeable with and do not form part of the system of Pan-Euro-Med cumulation. Products which have met the origin rules under the bilateral arrangements may not be eligible for inclusion in Pan-Euro-Med cumulation. Notice 827: European Union preferences: export procedures Section 4 gives a further explanation of this facility.
If you suspect the accuracy or validity of the preference document which you hold or have reason to doubt that the goods covered by it are entitled to preference you should not claim it. If you make use of preference documents whose accuracy or validity you do suspect, you could leave yourself open to prosecution.
3.1 What documents do I need to claim preference?
There are 3 types of preference documents (proof of origin) cover the majority of commercial importations. These are:
- form EUR1/EUR-MED
- an invoice declaration
- GSP form A
Form A is used for imports from GSP countries. All other preference countries use the form EUR1. However in the case of Pan-Euro-Med cumulation (see paragraph 2.10) a special proof of origin: the EUR-MED Movement Certificate must be used.
The invoice declaration is a simplified form of preference document that may be used in some countries in place of the EUR1/EUR-MED or form A. More information about these documents is given in paragraphs 3.2 and 3.4.
Note: for South Korea the only preference document that can be accepted for imports into the EU is the invoice declaration.
You do not need the above documents for private importations of low value. You will find information about such imports in paragraph 5.8.
For a limited range of products from certain countries the forms A or EUR1 must bear prescribed endorsements which state for example, that the products concerned are covered by derogations to the normal Rules of Origin. The requirements are known to the preference countries concerned and the exporter should comply with them.
3.2 What do I need to know about forms EUR1/EUR-MED and form A?
The EUR1/EUR-MED and the form A are used to show that the goods being exported are originating goods and therefore entitled to preference.
Forms EUR1/EUR-MED and the form A have a limited period of validity from the date of issue by the certifying authority. Further information about this is given in paragraph 3.7.
There are certain features about the forms and their completion which, if not complied with, may render them invalid - see paragraph 3.11.
(a) Form EUR1 and EUR-MED
The EUR1/EUR-MED must be stamped and signed by a particular government authority in the exporting country, (usually Customs authorities/Chambers of Commerce).
Forms EUR1/EUR-MED usually cover only single consignments. However, If you import goods from Kosovo you may use a single form EUR1 for a series of consignments which will be entered over a period of 3 consecutive months or less. The use of this facility is subject to the same conditions as those described in sub-paragraph (b) below for ‘single’ GSP forms A covering a series of consignments.
(b) Form A
Form A is a certificate of origin used by exporters in GSP countries. It also has to be stamped and signed by a particular government authority (in most cases an authority other than the Customs Authority).
Form A must normally cover only one consignment. You may use a single form A for a series of consignments which will be entered over a period of 3 consecutive months or less.
3.3 When can I use a single form A for a series of consignments?
To be eligible for this facility, the goods must be:
- covered by a single purchase contract with the exporter in the beneficiary country
- classified within the same tariff heading
- exported by the same exporter
- imported through the same port or airport
If you would like to use this facility you should keep your own records or lodgement numbers. This information should be kept as we may conduct post importation checks on your documentation as shown in paragraph 1.9.
3.4 What do I need to know about an invoice declaration?
As the name suggests, it consists of a declaration made by the exporter on a commercial document with sufficient details that identify the goods confirming the goods are originating. An invoice, packing list or delivery note are acceptable commercial documents for making invoice declarations (also known as origin declarations). If there is insufficient space the origin declaration may be made out on a separate headed continuation paper, provided the commercial document clearly identifies this. A letter headed paper on its own is not an acceptable commercial document.
It does not have to be stamped or signed by a government authority. Examples of invoice declarations can be found in Section 12.
Section 11 explains which exporters can use this procedure. Where the facility is available any exporter in the country concerned can issue an invoice declaration for a low value consignment (see paragraph 3.5). Approved exporters can issue declarations for consignments of any value.
EU Korea Free Trade Agreement - change of legal status of a Bill of Lading
Under the provisions of the EU-Korea Free Trade Agreement the only acceptable proof of origin to claim preference is an origin declaration made out by the exporter. Article 15 of the EU-Korea Free Trade Agreement (Official Journal L127 14/5/2011) states:
‘Products originating in the EU Party shall, on importation into Korea and products originating in Korea shall, on importation into the EU Party benefit from preferential tariff treatment of this Agreement on the basis of a declaration, subsequently referred to as the ‘origin declaration’, given by the exporter on an invoice, a delivery note or any other commercial document which describes the products concerned in sufficient detail to enable them to be identified’.
Change to the definition of a commercial document for the purpose of the EU-Korea Free Trade Agreement
In normal English usage a bill of lading is considered a commercial document.
However at the third meeting of the Customs Committee of the EU-Korea Free Trade Agreement on 18-19 June 2014, the European Commission agreed with the Korean authorities that: ‘…a bill of lading is not a commercial document for the purpose of origin declaration’.
There has been no explanation for this decision.
The effect of this decision is that from this date onwards a bill of lading cannot be used to make an origin declaration for the purpose of claiming preference under the EU-Korea Free Trade Agreement.
HMRC guidance and public notices will be updated in due course. Any queries on the EU-Korea Free Trade Agreement should be emailed to: email@example.com.
3.5 Are there any concessions for commercial imports of low value?
Yes. Invoice declarations may be used by exporters in certain preference countries for low value consignments.
The consignment need not consist solely of originating goods. But the value of the originating items must not exceed the relevant value limits. To avoid misunderstanding the invoice must clearly and precisely indicate by way, for example of an asterisk, which products are not originating and are not therefore covered by the invoice declaration.
Section 11 explains which countries may use this facility and the value limits that apply. Where the facility is not available the normal preference documents must be used.
3.6 Are there any special preference documents for goods sent by post?
No. Preference receiving countries use invoice declaration for these goods. The use of this document is restricted to consignments of relatively low value.
Section 11 explains which option is available in each group.
3.7 How long are preference documents valid for?
(a) Form EUR 1/EUR-MED and form A
The period of validity varies:
|Period of validity|
|EUR1 issued in EFTA (Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein) Ceuta, Melilla, Macedonia, Moldova, Israel, West Bank and Gaza Strip, Tunisia, Morocco, Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro , Kosovo, Andorra, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and the Faroe Islands||4 months|
|EUR-MED issued in EFTA, Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Israel, Faroe Islands, West Bank and Gaza Strip, Jordan, Tunisia, Morocco and Turkey||4 months|
|GSP form A and EUR1 issued in Mexico, Chile, ACP*, OCT and SADC countries||10 months|
|Andean Community (Colombia, Ecuador, Peru) and Central America (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama)||12 months|
|EUR1 issued in preference countries other than above||4 months|
*If goods from one ACP State are transported to the EU through another ACP State, and box 7 of the certificate is date-stamped by the customs in the transit state and marked ‘Transit’ plus the name of that country, the period of 10 months will apply from the date of the Customs ‘Transit’ stamp and not the date of issue in the original ACP State.
We will exceptionally accept certificates which are presented outside the period of validity if they’re valid in all other respects and a provisional claim to preference (see paragraph 5.3) was made in respect of the goods before the expiry date of the documents concerned.
Any belated claim to preference made under these provisions should be submitted no more than 2 years after the issue of the relevant certificate.
This is to provide consistency of treatment to all importers (see paragraph 7.2) and to enable HMRC to undertake any verification enquiries that are deemed to be necessary.
(b) Invoice declarations
Invoice declarations have the same period of validity as forms EUR1/EUR-MED or GSP forms A issued in the exporting country concerned. South Korea: invoice declarations are valid for 12 months. The Agreement provides only for origin/invoice declarations to be issued as proof of preferential origin. Exporters in the EU or South Korea will not be able to issue EUR1 Movement Certificates as proof of origin.
Invoice declarations may be issued retrospectively. However, it should be noted that many of the EU’s preferential trade agreements stipulate that retrospective invoice declarations may be issued only where they can be presented to us within 2 years from the date of importation of the goods concerned. In all other cases where an invoice declaration is not made available at importation a GSP form A, form EUR1 or EUR-MED is required as appropriate (see paragraph 3.2).
3.8 Can a preference certificate be issued retrospectively?
Yes. The GSP form A and form EUR1/EUR-MED can exceptionally be issued after exportation of the products to which it relates, where it was not issued at the time of exportation due to an error, oversight or special circumstance (such as a preferential rate of duty becoming available for the products from a retrospective date), or where a certificate which was issued at the time of exportation could not be accepted by us at the time of importation for technical reasons (because, for example, it did not contain all necessary information).
3.9 What if a form EUR1/EUR-MED or form A is lost, destroyed or stolen?
Ask your supplier for a duplicate. A duplicate certificate is a top copy certificate which must be stamped and signed by the appointed government authority in the country of export. It must be dated with the same date as the original certificate and is therefore valid from the date on which the original was issued.
Certificates pre-printed ‘duplicate’ or ‘copy’ are sometimes issued at the same time as the original. These are not acceptable for this purpose. Neither are photocopies of original certificates.
When you present a duplicate certificate to us you must declare in writing that you do not have the original but will surrender it immediately to us if it becomes available later.
3.10 What are ‘replacement’ certificates?
These are preference documents issued by the Customs Authority in another EU country to cover all or part of a consignment of preference goods sent on to the UK. They replace all or part of the original certificate, issued in a preference country, which will be retained by customs in the EU country of transhipment.
Similarly, the Customs Authorities in Norway or Switzerland may issue a replacement form A for GSP goods re-exported from those countries, to the EU.
3.11 What makes a valid preference certificate?
Forms A and EUR1/EUR-MED are valid only if they comply with all of the following:
- they are over-printed with a green guilloche (interwoven ribbon) patterned background
- they are completed in type or legibly hand written in ink
- they contain no erasures
- they describe the goods well enough for them to be identified
- they clearly relate to the goods for which preference is claimed
- any special statements are included where necessary (see paragraph 3.1)
- they are presented to us within their period of validity (see paragraph 3.7)
- they bear a serial number in the top right hand corner
3.12 Do I need a separate document for accessories, packing?
Accessories, spare parts and tools imported with machines, equipment, apparatus or vehicles are covered by the preference document for the item, they are imported with. But only if they’re:
- standard equipment normally included in the sale of an item of that kind
- included in the price of the item or are not separately invoiced
- classified with the machine, equipment, apparatus or vehicle in the Tariff
Containers and packing of a kind which do not have to be classified under the Tariff separately from their contents are also covered by the preference documents for the contents.
3.13 What about goods imported from exhibitions?
Goods originating in a preference country and consigned to the EU from an officially approved exhibition in a non-preference country may be imported under preference if you produce a:
- preference document showing the name and address of the exhibition
- copy invoice for the purchase of the goods, bearing the statement ‘These products were consigned to you from (name and place of exhibition)’ given by the preference country exporter who consigned them to the exhibition
- certificate signed by the customs authority under whose control the goods remained during the exhibition confirming consignment from the preference country to the exhibition before consignment to the EU
4. Transport rule
4.1 Must goods be transported direct from the preference country?
As a general rule, yes, and without being split up en route. However a consignment may pass through another country provided the goods:
- are not delivered for home use (enter into free circulation) in the country of transit
- do not undergo any operation there other than unloading, reloading or any operation designed to keep them in good condition
Temporary storage in another country is allowed where it’s necessary for transport reasons.
4.2 Are there any other exceptions to the direct transport rule?
Yes. These are for:
- goods transported through certain groups of preference countries (see paragraph 4.3)
- goods consigned from officially-approved exhibitions in a non-preference country (see paragraph 3.13)
- GSP goods transported through Norway or Switzerland
4.3 Are any countries grouped together for transport purposes?
Each of the following groups of preference countries is treated as a single separate preference area for the purpose of the transport rule:
- Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein
- the ACP States and the OCTs
- Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia (the Maghreb countries)
- the countries of the Pan Euro-MED cumulation zone
- Brunei Darussalam, Laos, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam (group 1)
- Costa Rica, Panama, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela (group 2)
- Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka (group 3)
- Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay
This means for example that a consignment of goods may be transported to the EU from one ACP State via another ACP State or an OCT and still be regarded as having been transported directly.
In addition, goods originating in the Maghreb countries may be transported through Ceuta and Melilla.
4.4 Will I need to show that the transport rule has been complied with?
If we have no reason to doubt that the goods came straight from the preference country or country group without being split up en route, a through Bill of Lading will normally be sufficient.
Where goods travel via another country you may be asked to provide a single transport document, that is for goods by:
- sea - a through bill of lading
- air - a through air waybill
- road - a copy of the International Carriage of Goods by Road document or a Transports Internationaux Routiers carnet
- rail - a copy of the International Consignment Note indicating a single contract for the carriage of the consignment from the preference receiving country or country group in the EU
Where goods have travelled from a landlocked ACP State the shipping document issued at the first seaport at which they are loaded for transport to the EU may be produced as evidence to show that the transport rule has been met.
If there’s a break in the transport operation evidence may be called for to show that the consignment complied with the conditions mentioned in paragraph 4.1, for example a certificate of non-manipulation from the Customs Authority in the country of transit. You may also be asked for evidence, such as an order, to show that when the consignment left the beneficiary country, it was destined for the EU.
5. Entry procedure: entry to free circulation
5.1 How do I claim preference?
Follow the normal requirements for entry of imported goods set out in the Tariff, Volume 1. The necessary supporting documents, including a valid preference document (and, if appropriate, the evidence of direct transport required under paragraph 4.4), must normally be presented with the entry. When they are in a foreign language you may be asked to supply certified translations.
For goods covered by a tariff quota there are additional procedures which are set out in the Tariff, Volume 1, part 8.
5.2 Must I produce an original proof of origin?
Yes, if you’re producing a GSP form A or form EUR1/EUR-MED.
Invoice declarations issued by approved exporters can be presented in any paper format (for example facsimile, photocopy or a copy taken from an Electronic Data Interchange or email sent from the supplier) as they need only contain the exporter’s approval/authorisation number and do not have to be signed. Invoice declarations issued by non-approved exporters will not contain an approval number. They must bear the exporter’s original signature.
If the necessary original proof of origin is not available when you are entering the goods, a provisional claim may be made in accordance with paragraph 5.3.
5.3 Can I claim preference and take delivery of the goods if the necessary documentary evidence is not available?
Yes. If we have no reason to doubt that the goods are entitled to preference we will accept a provisional claim to preference and release the goods subject to you or your agent giving security (see paragraph 5.4) for the full customs charges due if the claim is eventually rejected. You must produce valid documentary evidence within 4 months from the date the entry is accepted. If you’re unable to produce the necessary evidence within this time limit the duty secured will be brought to account. You will then have to make a belated claim to preference (see paragraph 5.7) upon receipt of the preference documents concerned.
If at the time you produce the evidence, the preference is no longer available (for example because a tariff quota has been exhausted or a ceiling reached), you will have to pay the full duty.
If you wish to avoid having to provide security for the full rate of duty you can enter the goods to warehouse while you are waiting for the evidence to arrive (see paragraph 7.1).
Note: imports of certain goods must also satisfy licensing requirements before they will be released. The Department of International Trade (DIT) will be able to tell you whether your goods will be subject to any special import arrangements and provide you with a copy of any relevant ‘Notice to Importers’.
5.4 What security must I give when I make a provisional claim to preference?
You can give security either by a:
- deposit sufficient to cover the full Customs charges due if the claim fails
- deed of guarantee (form C&E 250) endorsed by a bank or other financial institution approved by us for such purpose, if you wish to provide security in the form of a guarantee you should apply, in writing, to the Guarantee Seat:
HM Revenue and Customs
National Import Duty Adjustment Centre
1st Floor West, Ralli Quays
3 Stanley Street
Telephone: 03000 579 054
5.5 How soon must I present evidence to support a provisional claim?
You have up to 4 months from the date of the entry to produce the evidence. Make sure you then give details of the relevant entry otherwise a delay may occur in releasing the guarantee or refunding the deposit.
5.6 Are there any other circumstances in which security may be required?
Yes. If we have reason to doubt that the goods meet the preference requirements (see paragraph 1.9) security for the full customs charge due (see paragraph 5.4) may be called for while enquiries are made in the preference exporting country.
5.7 Can I make a belated claim to preference?
Yes. If you have paid the full rate of duty on importation and you subsequently obtain a valid preference document (see paragraph 3.11 and in particular, the provisions in paragraph 3.7 relating to the period of validity) you may make a belated claim to preference.
You can obtain form C285 to apply for a repayment or remission of import duties. Send the completed application to the National Duty Repayment Centre at the address below:
HM Revenue and Customs
National Duty Repayment Centre
National Clearance Hub,
1st Floor, West Building,
3 Stanley Street,
Salford. M60 9LA
Telephone: 03000 585 344
5.8 What happens with private importations of low value?
If the goods are imported in baggage they will be admitted to preference without the appropriate preference document if our officer is satisfied that the origin conditions have been fulfilled and that the goods are being imported for personal or family use. However, this concession is subject to certain value limits which are set out in Section 11.
If the goods are being sent by one private individual to another for personal or family use, they will be admitted to the appropriate preference if the sender declares in writing that the origin conditions are fulfilled and our officer is satisfied. This provision applies to goods sent by all modes of transport. The value limits in such cases are set out in Section 11.
This notice does not cover private importations of motor vehicles (see Excise Notice 3: bringing your belongings and private motor vehicle to the UK from outside the EU for details).
5.9 How do I present a preference document covering unassembled or disassembled articles of Tariff chapter 84 to 89 or Tariff headings 7308 and 9406?
Where a preference document covers an unassembled or disassembled article of Tariff chapter 84 to 89 or Tariff headings 7308 and 9406 which will be imported in more than one instalment for transport or production reasons, you should present it with the first entry with a written statement explaining that further consignments are to follow. The entries for the subsequent instalments of the article should quote the number and date of the entry for the first instalment.
6. Entry procedure: entry under Customs Freight Simplified Procedures (CFSP)
6.1 Are there special requirements for entry under CFSP?
Yes. You will find out about these requirements in VAT Notice 760: Customs Freight Simplified Procedures.
7. Entry procedure: entry for warehousing and subsequent delivery to free circulation
7.1 What advantages are there in entering Preference goods for warehousing?
You may decide to enter your goods for warehousing if a particular tariff quota has expired or ceiling has been reached and you wish to delay entry to free circulation until the preference rate of duty is available to you. You may also decide to put your goods into warehouse if you do not yet hold the preference document and you do not wish to provide security.
Note: products may lose their preferential origin if they are subject to processing while they are in a warehouse (see paragraph 9.1 for further information).
7.2 What should I do with the preference document?
Pass the document to the warehouse keeper who will:
- endorse it with a stock rotation number
- retain it until the goods are to be entered to free circulation, the local customs officer may wish to inspect the document before this point so the warehouse keeper should keep it readily available
Note: preference documents are valid for a limited period only (see paragraph 3.7). If you keep your goods in warehouse for a long period of time you will run the risk of losing preferential treatment if you do not present the document (or arrange to show that it is available by inserting the certificate serial number, or invoice declaration number in the warehouse records) before it’s expiry date.
Furthermore, the Commission of the European Union has published guidelines in the Preferential Origin section of the Directorate General of Taxation and Customs Union website.
These stipulate that in order to allow member states customs authorities to verify, if necessary, proofs of origin with the relevant overseas issuing authority (who are only required to keep records related to the issue of the documents for 3 years), they should not accept any preferential proofs which accompany claims to preference on goods which are released to free circulation more than 2 years after the date of issue of the proof concerned.
Consequently, in addition to ensuring that proofs of origin are presented in accordance with the above provisions, you should arrange to release the goods concerned within 2 years from the date of issue of the proof in order to benefit from the preferential rate of duty.
When placing goods into a warehouse it’s important to remember that under EU legislation the date for assessing the tariff preference is when the goods are released to free circulation which is when the declaration is lodged for that purpose. For warehoused goods in order to benefit from GSP they must be released to free circulation whilst the relevant provisions are still in force. After this date only the standard rate of duty will apply.
If you need further information on warehousing procedures see Notice 232.
7.3 What happens if the preference document is still not available when I remove the goods from warehouse?
8. Re-exporting preference goods
8.1 What documents do I need to re-export to other countries?
Goods may be imported into the UK under cover of a form A, EUR1/EUR-MED or Invoice Declaration and then re-exported to another EU country. GSP goods may also be re-exported to Norway and Switzerland (including Liechtenstein). If they’ve not been cleared for free circulation in the UK you can apply to us for a replacement certificate to send to your customer. The full procedure is outlined in Notice 827: European Union preferences: export procedures, Section 7.
Alternatively, if you’re sending a part of a consignment for clearance in another EU Country, or in the case of GSP goods, for clearance in Norway or Switzerland (including Liechtenstein), you may produce the original document to us with a photocopy. We will endorse the original to show the quantity of goods entered to the UK, return it to you and retain the photocopy.
9.1 What happens if preference goods are processed while they’re in a warehouse or freezone?
They may lose their preferential origin if they’re subject to processing which goes beyond unloading, reloading or any operation designed to keep them in good condition.
Therefore you should enter the goods to free circulation before processing takes place if you wish to take advantage of the preferential rate of duty. You should contact the Excise Helpline if you’re in any doubt as to whether your goods will be entitled to preferential tariff treatment.
Note: some goods which will lose their preferential origin as a result of processing in a warehouse or free zone may still be able to benefit from a reduced or nil rate of duty if they fall within the scope of Processing (under Customs Control) for Free Circulation arrangements (PCC).
You must obtain prior authorisation to use PCC, and you can find out more about the arrangement and the conditions for its use in Excise Notice 237: processing under Customs Control. Contact the Excise Helpline for advice on whether your goods will be eligible for relief under the facility.
10.1 What this section is about
The European Union’s GSP scheme is one of the most widely used import preference regimes. This section provides a brief introduction to the scheme. More information and the Rules of Origin can be found in Notice 830: Tariff preference: new GSP Rules of Origin (wef 1 January 2011).
It also supplements Notice 827: European Union preferences: export procedures, which provides detailed information about exporting under preference.
10.2 Why do I need to know about GSP Rules of Origin?
If you’re an importer you will have to pay duty at the full (non GSP) rate if the checks described in paragraph 1.9 reveal that your goods did not satisfy the GSP rules of origin.
If you’re an exporter of goods to be included in a product manufactured in a GSP country for export to the EU your goods may be counted as originating in that GSP country if they satisfy the relevant GSP Rules of Origin set out in Notice 830: tariff preference - new General System of Preference Rules of Origin.
10.3 Where can I find the rules?
The GSP origin rules can be found in Notice 830: Tariff preference: new GSP Rules of Origin.
The notice provides general information about the origin conditions and it contains a detailed list of the GSP origin rules on the basis of Tariff chapters and headings.
10.4 Are all the GSP rules the same as those in Notice 828?
No. They’re different to those shown in Notice 828: tariff preferences - Rules of Origin for various countries. See Notice 830: tariff preference - new General System of Preference Rules of Origin.
11. Scope and usage of simplified preference documents
The following monetary limits apply to low value, postal or private imports under preference arrangements.
|Country||Invoice declaration||Traveller’s personal luggage||Small packages|
|Pan-Euro-Med Albania, Algeria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Switzerland, Egypt, Faroe Islands, Israel, Iceland, Jordan, Lebanon, Leichtenstein, Macedonia, Montenegro, Morocco, Norway, Serbia, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey,* West Bank and Gaza Strip
*simplified proofs are not available for goods imported and exported under cover of forms ATR under the EU-Turkey Customs Union arrangements
|ACP(MAR) Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Botswana, Cameroon, Cote D’Ivoire, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Fiji, Ghana, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Madagascar, Mauritius, Namibia, Papua New Guinea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and Grenadines, Seychelles, Suriname, Swaziland, Trinidad and Tobago, and Zimbabwe||£5,700||£1,140||£470|
|Beneficiary countries of the GSP||£5,700||£1,140||£470|
Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St Christopher and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago
|OCT Anguilla, Aruba, Saint Barthelemy, British Antarctic Territory, British Indian Ocean Territory, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, French Polynesia, French Southern and Antarctic Territories, Greenland, Montserrat, New Caledonia and Dependencies, Pitcairn, Saint Helena/Ascension Island/ Tristan da Cunha, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands, Turks and Caicos Islands, Wallis and Fortuna Islands||£4,830||£965||£400|
|Ceuta and Melilla||£3,585||£965||£400|
South Korea (as from 1 July 2011)
|Country||Invoice declaration||Traveller’s personal luggage||Small packages|
Note: for the monetary limits shown, the simplified procedure applies only to goods which are exported in a consignment with a total value not exceeding the amount concerned.
12. Examples of invoice declarations (referred to in paragraph 3.4)
12.1 What does an invoice declaration look like and what information should it contain?
A specimen invoice declaration is shown below. You should use the information shown in the table at paragraph 12a or 12b when completing this declaration
a) Specimen Invoice Declaration (Standard)
The exporter of the products covered by this document, (Customs Authorisation No…………(1)) declares that, except where otherwise clearly indicated, these products are of …………… preferential origin (2).
(Place and date)
(Signature - this must be followed by the name of the signatory in clear script)
Important: The footnotes do not have to be reproduced on the invoice
You should include the information shown in the table below. The numbers in the table correspond to the numbers on the invoice declaration. Insert the details shown in the table at the corresponding number on the invoice declaration.
|1||Only to be filled in by approved exporters. When an exporter who is not approved makes out a declaration, then the words in brackets should be omitted or the space left blank|
|2||Origin of products to be shown. The initials ‘CM’ must be shown if products originate wholly or partly in Ceuta or Melilla|
|3||May be left blank if the information is already contained on the document|
|4||If the exporter is not required to sign the declaration, then this also implies the exemption of the name of the signatory|
b) Specimen Invoice Declaration (EURO-MED)
The exporter of the products covered by this document, (Customs Authorisation Number ………… (1) declares that, except where otherwise clearly indicated, these products are of ……….. (2) preferential origin.
Cumulation applied with …………………… (name of the country / countries)
No Cumulation applied (3)
(Signature of the exporter. In addition the name of the person signing the Declaration has to be indicated in clear script)
Important: the footnotes do not have to be reproduced on the Invoice
|1||When the Invoice Declaration is made out by an Approved Exporter, the authorisation number of the Approved Exporter must be entered in this space. When the Invoice Declaration is not made out by an Approved Exporter, the words in brackets should be omitted or the space left blank|
|2||Origin of products to be indicated. When the Invoice Declaration relates in whole or in part, to products originating in Ceuta or Melilla, the exporter must clearly indicate them in the document on which the declarationis made out by means of the symbol ‘CM’|
|3||Complete/delete where necessary|
|4||These indications may be omitted if the information is contained on the document itself|
|5||In cases where the exporter is not required to sign, the exemption of signature also implies the exemption of the name of the signatory|
You should be aware that when an invoice includes any non-originating goods then these must clearly be indicated.
Note (1): when the invoice declaration is made out by an approved exporter the authorisation number issued by the customs authority will be entered in this space. When the invoice declaration is not made out by an approved exporter, the words in brackets will be omitted or the space left blank. A declaration made out by an approved exporter need not be signed.
|ACP states||African, Caribbean and Pacific States|
|Group 1||Brunei Darussalam, Laos, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam|
|Group 2||Costa Rica, Panama, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela|
|Group 3||Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka (SAARC)|
|Group 4||Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay|
|Balkans||Bosnia Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo|
|CHIEF||Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight|
|EEA||European Economic Area - the member states of the European Union plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein|
|GSP||Generalised System of Preferences|
|FYROM||Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia|
|OCTs||Overseas Countries and Territories|
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