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HMRC internal manual

EC export preference

Control: miscellaneous

 Particular goods

a. Antiques (classified under T/H 9706)

These may be imported into many countries duty free - whatever their origin. However, this is not always the case.

If an exporter enquires about the issue of an EUR1/EUR-MED Certificate, it is highly unlikely that they will be able to obtain a Suppliers Declaration form their supplier.

In such circumstances, examples of what exporters should be asked (along with an EUR1/EUR-MED) to submit are:

  • a statement by an independent expert about the probable age/place of manufacture
  • catalogue from an auction sale
  • booklet or other document containing a description of the article.

b. Second hand goods

In relation to these, as much information as possible should be obtained before deciding whether to issue a preference certificate. These might include:

  • marks of origin
  • declaration about the country of manufacture from an acknowledged expert in the trade and any other pertinent information relating to the origin of the goods in question.

Note: Exports of used clothing

A great deal of this trade relates to surplus/unsaleable goods obtained by dealers either from charity shops or direct from the public.

It is possible some of these dealers may enquire about preferential certificates for such exports.

Unless clear evidence of origin can be produced, then any such application should be refused.

If you have any doubts, then you should contact the Unit of Expertise (UoE) for advice.

c. Goods sent for processing and return

It is becoming increasingly common for fabric to be sent to countries such as Morocco to be made up into garments for subsequent return to the EU - often without any change in ownership of the materials. An EUR1/EUR-MED is obtained for the exported fabric and the overseas authority then issues an EUR1/EUR-MED for the garments on the basis that the fabric is originating.

The following are points to consider if you come across such a situation:

  • clearly if the EUR1/ EUR-MED for the fabric is invalid then the EUR1/ EUR-MED for the garments is likely to be invalid, and duty will almost certainly be due
  • audit officers may come across situations where UK issued EUR1s/ EUR-MEDs are either not supported by evidence or are clearly invalid because the fabric has been imported from a ‘non-qualifying’ 3rd country
  • Duty demands should be issued where there is positive evidence that the fabric does not qualify and the import entries for the garments are more than 2 years old (and within the 3-year time limit laid down in the Customs Community Code for the notification of customs debts)
  • in other circumstances eg no evidence of originating status held by the exporter - duty demands must not be issued at this stage
  • in all cases the officer should take copies/details of the EUR1s/ EUR-MEDs at issue and send them to the UoE with a brief covering report. The UoE will write to the overseas authority concerned and explain that we are withdrawing the specified EUR1s/ EUR-MEDs issued by us
  • the UoE will also ask for confirmation that this will invalidate EUR1s/EUR-MEDs issued by the relevant authority. The withdrawal of specified EUR1s/EUR-MEDs by the overseas authority will provide a sound basis for duty demands
  • legal advice is such that we are likely to have considerable difficulty at Tribunal where the overseas authority has not withdrawn any EUR1s/EUR-MEDs issued by them.

This difficulty would be reduced if there was positive proof that the fabric did not qualify as opposed to a simple lack of evidence as to its origin - but we should always endeavour to approach the overseas authority to request formal withdrawal.

Above criteria also applies where Invoice Declarations have been used.