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HMRC internal manual

Import preference guidance notes

General principles: origin rules


The rules which have to be met in a preference country for goods to acquire ‘originating status’ are set out in various EC regulations and Decisions and are too numerous to reproduce in this book (a full list of current EC preference legislation can be found in Volume 1 Part 7 of the Tariff). Origin rules not only vary between different goods, but also between different preferential arrangements. The rules fall into four distinct categories:

  • wholly produced - ie goods containing no imported (non-originating) materials or parts. Examples would include home grown products such as vegetables and flowers
  • change of tariff heading - goods produced from imported materials or parts which fall under a different four-figure tariff heading from that of the finished product. Examples would include wooden chairs (TH 94.03) which would qualify if made from imported wood (Chapter 44) but not if made from imported wood already fashioned into chair parts proper to TH 94.03
  • percentage rule - goods produced from imported parts the value of which does not exceed a specified percentage of the value of the ex-works price of the finished product. Examples of goods subject to this type of rule include musical instruments of Chapter 92 where the limit is 40%, and
  • process rule - certain goods must have undergone specified manufacturing processes in the preference country to gain preferential origin. For example, knitted fabric of Chapter 60 must be produced from the pre-yarn stage (ie non-originating/imported materials must undergo spinning and knitting processes) in order to qualify.