Last reviewed 18 October 2021

We reported recently that HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) had produced a series of guides relating to originating status of goods and preferential tariff treatment under the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) (see HMRC sets out rules for moving goods between UK and EU).

Available at www.gov.uk/government/collections/rules-of-origin-for-goods-moving-between-the-uk-and-eu, this collection includes details of how to use the Harmonised System (HS) to classify goods and gives details of product-specific rules.

The HS is an internationally standardised system of description and numbers and forms the first part of the:

  • 10-digit commodity code used to classify goods when importing them into the UK

  • 8-digit commodity code used to classify goods when exporting from the UK.

The guide gives details of the System, explains how it is structured and how to find the relevant classification code. It also explains, and gives examples of, product-specific rules.

Every product traded under a free trade agreement (FTA) has a product-specific rule that must be met to show the product originates in the free trade area and qualifies for preferential tariff treatment (reduced rate of Customs Duty).

Each rule describes the nature or value of processing that must be carried out on any non-originating materials so that the final product meets the origin requirements.

Traders will need to decide the correct commodity code for the exported product to find the relevant rule in the TCA product-specific rules list.

Once a product has gained originating status, it is considered 100% originating. This means that if that product is then used in the production of another product, its full value is considered originating, and no account is taken of non-originating materials within it.