Last reviewed 7 October 2021

A new guide has been published by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) that will help traders to understand how they may be able to pay a reduced rate of Customs Duty (known as a tariff preference) under the terms of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA).

This can be found at www.gov.uk/government/collections/rules-of-origin-for-goods-moving-between-the-uk-and-eu together with several other publications relating to rules of origin for goods moving between the UK and EU.

These documents are not relevant if a business does not want to claim preferential treatment on the goods it imports from or exports to the EU. Those goods will be subject to the importing party’s non-preferential tariff.

Payments of tariffs and duties will still be due in line with the UK’s and EU’s import requirements.

Goods that do not meet the rules of origin can still be traded, but they will not be able to benefit from a reduced rate of Customs Duty under the TCA and may have to pay the standard — also known as Most Favoured Nation (MFN) — tariffs that the EU and UK apply to imports.

For exports to the EU, this will be the Union’s Common External Tariff. For imports to the UK, this will be the UK Global Tariff.

To export tariff-free under the TCA, goods must meet the UK-EU preferential rules of origin. This means that there must be a qualifying level of processing in the country of export to access zero tariffs.

These rules are set out in the Agreement and determine the origin of goods based on where the products or materials (or inputs) used in their production come from.

It should be noted that, with regard to goods that were imported from the EU and are being returned or redistributed in the Union without obtaining UK origin, the importer in the EU may be able to claim Returned Goods Relief.