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HMRC internal manual

Import preference guidance notes

Control: purpose of control at importation

The purpose of documentary and physical controls at importation is to ensure that a claim to preference is accepted only if:

  • the goods are classified correctly and are of a description or commodity code classification shown in the Tariff as being eligible for preference
  • the goods are from a country or group of countries shown in the Tariff as eligible to receive the preference, and are not subject to any newly imposed trade sanctions / restrictions
  • valid documentary proof of origin is available
  • the goods are not of a kind for which a tariff quota has been exhausted or on which full duty has been imposed under ceiling arrangements
  • the transport rule has been met (see IPGN5400).

Security for the customs charges at full rate can be taken when:

  • the required documentary evidence is not immediately available, is not in the prescribed form or is not properly completed
  • information on supporting documents or the nature of the goods or any markings make it doubtful that the goods originate in the preference country or area as claimed or
  • there is doubt that the transport rule has been met.

It may sometimes be necessary to ask Customs to carry out documentary and physical checks on particular goods from particular countries. These checks may be carried out as a national programme or at selected locations.