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HMRC internal manual

Import preference guidance notes

HM Revenue & Customs
, see all updates

Introduction: background

  • be wholly produced in the exporting country, ie contain no imported materials or parts or
  • meet specific rules about imported materials or parts used in their manufacture.

Goods which meet these rules are known as ‘originating’ goods.

The origin rules are not precisely the same for all preference countries or for all kinds of goods. In some cases materials or parts originating in the EU or another preference country may count as originating in the exporting country when used in manufacturing operations there.

To obtain the preferential rate of duty, all goods must be covered by a valid proof of origin (ie GSP Form A; EUR1/EUR-MED certificate) and a claim to the appropriate preference made on the import entry.

To guard against the possibility that originating goods may be manipulated or switched in transit, all preference arrangements contain rules about the transportation of goods to the Community. Wherever possible the goods must be exported direct from the country of origin to the EU.

The primary objective of any preferential trading arrangement is to stimulate trade. By granting preferential access to its markets to goods produced in the developing countries, the EU is also helping to promote the industrialisation of those countries and to accelerate their rate of growth.