Pay less Customs Duty on goods from a country with a UK trade agreement
You’ll need to classify the goods you import with the right commodity code, check they meet the rules of origin, and get proof of their origin.
If the UK has an agreement with a country you buy goods from, your business may be able to get a reduced rate of Customs Duty (known as a tariff preference or preferential rate of duty) for those goods.
If you decide not to claim a tariff preference, or if a tariff preference is not available, you’ll need to pay Customs Duty at the normal rate.
Check if you can claim
You’ll first need to use the trade tariff tool to find the right commodity code for your goods.
Once you’ve classified your goods, you’ll need to use the trade tariff tool and follow these steps.
1. Check if your goods are covered by a trade agreement
Select or enter the country you’re importing from. If there is a tariff preference, your goods are covered by a trade agreement.
If you’re importing from developing nations the rules are covered in the UK’s Generalised Scheme of Preference.
2. Check that your goods meet the rules of origin
Select ‘rules of origin’ to check your goods can be treated as originating in the country you’re importing from before you can claim a preferential rate of duty.
As trade agreements can change, you’ll need to make sure your goods meet the relevant rules of origin every time you claim a tariff preference. There are different rules of origin depending on the country.
Also, if the part of materials making up your products (or the suppliers providing or manufacturers making them) change, this can affect the country they are treated as originating from.
The rules of origin you must use to import from developing nations are covered in the UK’s Generalised Scheme of Preference.
Read more about how to check if the goods you’re importing meet the rules of origin.
3. Check what proof you need
Once you’ve selected ‘rules of origin’ the tool will also tell you which of the different types of proof of origin you can use for your claim. You must keep this as HMRC may ask you to show this to support your claim.
Find out how to get proof of origin once you know your goods meet the rules and what types of proof you can use.
What information to include on your import declaration
Find out how to complete your import declaration.
Keep your records
If you’ve made an import declaration which includes a preferential claim you must keep:
- a copy of the declaration
- proof of origin to show your goods can be treated as originating in the country you’re claiming a tariff preference for
- supporting documents, including details of the:
- processes carried out on originating goods or materials
- purchase, cost, value and payment for the goods
- originating status of the purchase, cost, value and payment for all materials
You must keep these records for at least 4 years, as HMRC may carry out checks on your goods.
Using a customs warehouse
Find out what you need to do if you’re planning on claiming a tariff preference and using a customs warehouse.
Making a claim after you’ve paid Customs Duty
You may be able to claim back some or all of the Customs Duty if you paid it but later get a valid proof of origin.
Last updated 1 October 2022 + show all updates
Information about Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) has been removed. You can no longer use CHIEF for import declarations unless you have permission from HMRC.
For countries with a trade agreement you can use the trade tariff tool to check the rule of origin and for what proof you need. For developing nations the rules are covered in the UK’s Generalised Scheme of Preference.
You can use the trade tariff tool to classify your goods and then find out if your goods are covered by the rules of origin.
This page has been updated to include how to check your goods have a tariff preference using the trade tariff tool.
Additional information about retrospective claims, exporting goods by post and using a customs warehouse.