The Origin Procedures in the TCA (Articles ORIG.18-28) set out the process by which goods prove their originating status and preference can be claimed.
2.1 Claiming preferential tariff treatment
Find the full list of relevant TCA articles:
- Article ORIG.18 (page 34) Claim for preferential tariff treatment
- Article ORIG.18a (page 34) Time of the claim for preferential tariff treatment
- Article ORIG.23 (page 36) Small Consignments
- Article ORIG.27 (page 40) Confidentiality
2.1.1 How to claim preference
The customs authority of the importing party will grant preferential tariff treatment, based on a claim made by the importer, to goods that originate in the other Party that meet the conditions of the TCA. Under the TCA a claim can be made if the importer has one of the following proofs of origin:
- a statement on origin that the product is originating made out by the exporter
- the importer’s knowledge that the product is originating
A claim for preference, and the ‘presentation’ of the proof of origin, is normally included on the customs declaration to enter the goods into free circulation. However, a claim can alternatively be made after importation provided it is made within 3 years of the date of importation and accompanied with a valid proof of origin. In those circumstances any duties would be repaid to the importer.
In the UK, a claim for duties to be repaid is made using Form C285.
Find more information on how to complete a customs declaration, including one which includes a claim for preference, using:
For goods imported from 1 January 2021 to 31 December 2021, traders will have up to 175 days to complete customs declarations. This approach grants traders extra time to make necessary arrangements to evidence their claim to the preferential tariff rate.
2.1.2 Rules for small consignments of goods
So long as they are declared to the customs authorities as meeting the origin rules, some goods may be imported without the need for a formal proof of origin (a waiver).
For import into the EU, this waiver applies to goods valued under:
- 500 euros in the case of products sent in small packages, or
- 1,200 euros in the case of products forming part of a traveller’s personal luggage.
For the EU this waiver does not apply to commercial imports.
For import into the UK, this waiver applies to any goods valued in total under £1,000, regardless of whether they are imported for commercial or non-commercial purposes. Where the total value of the all the goods exceeds £1,000, you can only claim preference on those goods for which you can prove the preferential origin.
These waivers do not apply if it is established that the import forms a series of importations that are being made separately to avoid the normal requirements.
2.2 Applying for preference using a Statement on origin
Relevant TCA articles:
- Article ORIG.4 (page 28) Cumulation of origin
- Article ORIG.19 (page 34)Statement on origin
- Article ORIG.20 (page 35) Discrepancies
- Article ORIG.22 (page 35) Record-keeping requirements
- Article ORIG.26 (page 39) Denial of preferential tariff treatment
2.2.1 Statement on origin
One option for claiming preference is for the importer to use a ‘Statement on origin’ made out by the exporter. A Statement on origin is not a document, but a prescribed text which the exporter added to the invoice or any other commercial document that describes the originating product in sufficient detail to enable its identification. The Statement/document may be in an electronic format.
An exporter making out a Statement on origin must hold information demonstrating that the product is originating, including information on the originating status of materials used in the production of the product. This may include declarations obtained from their suppliers (supplier’s declarations).
A Statement on origin may apply to either:
- a single consignment
- multiple shipments of identical products within any period specified in the Statement on origin but not exceeding 12 months from the date of the first import
If an exporter that has completed a Statement on origin becomes aware or has reason to believe that it contains incorrect information, they must immediately notify their customer in writing.
A statement may be made out in English or any of the other official languages used in the EU. However, it is best to use the same language as being used for the commercial document itself.
Subsequent sections contain further details of requirements concerning the commercial document, supplier’s declarations and the exporter.
The text of the Statement on origin (Annex ORIG-4 the TCA) is reproduced in full in Annex B.
2.2.2 Requirements on the exporter
- Must be located either in the UK or EU.
- Can be any person (such as a producer or a trading company) as long as they fulfil the obligations under the TCA. It is not necessary that the exporter lodges the customs export declaration in respect of the products. They may appoint a customs representative to act on their behalf.
- Exports or produces the originating product and makes out a Statement on origin; and
- Is responsible for the correct identification of the originating products on the invoice or any other commercial document.
They will usually be identified on the Statement on origin by their Exporter Reference Number (ERN). Where an Exporter’s Reference Number has not been assigned the exporter may indicate its full address under the part ‘Place and date’.
In the EU the ERN will be the exporters Registered Exporter (REX) number. These are allocated if the exporter is exports consignments with a total value exceeding 6,000 euros.
In the UK the ERN will be the Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number. If you do not have one, you can apply for an EORI number.
There is a requirement that the Statement on origin must be made out by the exporter but there is no explicit requirement as to the identity of the person issuing the commercial document used for making out the Statement. However, to avoid any potential confusion it is recommended that the exporter makes out the Statement on origin on a commercial document they have issued.
2.2.3 Validity of the Statement on origin
A statement on origin may be made out before, at the same time as, or after the products to which it relates are exported. For imports to the UK it will be valid for two years from the date it was made out. For exports to the EU it will be valid for 12 months.
The statement on origin must be valid when the claim for preferential tariff treatment is made. This might be the time at which the import declaration in respect of the originating products is accepted by the customs authorities, or at the time at which an application for repayment or remission of customs duties is submitted.
2.2.4 Commercial documents
As set out above, the statement on origin should be made out on an invoice or on any other commercial document that describes the originating product in sufficient detail to enable its identification.
There is no legal definition of what constitutes a ‘commercial document’, which can be considered as a written record of a commercial transaction. Therefore, apart from the invoice itself, the term covers different types of documents such as a pro-forma invoice, or a shipping document (for example packing list, delivery note).
The only legal requirement for the invoice or any commercial document to be considered as the basis for a Statement on origin is that it shall contain a description of the originating products in sufficient detail to enable their identification. Other products, which may be included in the same invoice or other commercial document, shall be clearly distinguished from the originating products.
Where the exporter (producer or trader) is located in the exporting Party but the trader issuing the invoice is established in a non-Party country, the Statement on origin cannot be made out on that document. In these cases, the Statement on origin should be placed on a commercial document that is issued by the exporter (producer or trader other than the trader established in a non-Party country) in the exporting Party, such as a delivery note.
2.2.5 Supplier’s declarations
A supplier’s declaration is a declaration by which a supplier provides information to their customer concerning the originating status of goods with regard to the specific preferential rules of origin. Notwithstanding the invoicing, the supplier is the person who has control and the knowledge of the originating status over the delivered goods. By making out a supplier’s declaration, the supplier declares the originating status of the goods they provide to their customer who needs this information to make out a Statement on origin (the exported goods are either the finished product from the supplier or a product incorporating the delivered material).
When supplier’s declarations are needed
There are occasions where manufacture is not enough in itself to meet the origin rules and supplier’s declarations are required. For example, if:
- any materials do not change tariff heading
- the value of materials is over the specified limit, for example the origin rule may specify a percentage limit of 40% for non-originating materials, and the total value of materials used is 45% of the ex-works price – you will then need declaration(s) to cover the value of materials in excess of the limit, that is, 5% of the ex-works price
- you manufacture using materials at a later stage of production than that specified, for example using bought-in fabric where the origin rule is manufacture from yarn
- the only processing which you carry out on a product is among the minimal processes listed in:
- you buy and export goods in the same state
When supplier’s declarations are not needed
If you are a manufacturer either exporting or supplying your goods, then there are certain circumstances where a declaration will not be necessary:
- an origin rule may specify that all non-originating materials must change tariff heading (if, during manufacture, all materials change tariff heading then the rule is met without the need for any supplier’s declarations)
- a percentage rule may specify a limit on the value of non-originating materials (30% or 40%), if the total value of all materials is within this limit, then the rule will be met
- an origin rule may specify manufacture from materials at a certain stage of production, for example manufacture from yarn, if you manufacture using materials at or before the specified stage (for example yarn or pre yarn) then the rule will be met automatically
A supplier’s declaration may be made out to cover a single supply or to cover regular supplies made over a period of time (a long-term supplier’s declaration).
Long-term supplier’s declarations are one-off declarations valid for supplies delivered during a period up to a maximum of two years. A long-term supplier’s declaration is valid for all the goods mentioned in the supplier’s declaration that are delivered within the specified period. The making out of a long-term supplier’s declaration requires that throughout the entire period of validity the originating status of the goods is ensured. The supplier shall immediately inform the customer of the goods, if the information provided in their long-term supplier’s declaration is no longer applicable.
A long-term supplier’s declaration shall be made out for consignments dispatched during a period of time and shall state three dates:
- the date on which the declaration is made out (date of issue)
- the date of commencement of the period (start date), which may not be more than 12 months before or more than 6 months after the date of issue
- the date of end of the period (end date), which may not be more than 24 months after the start date
Find further information on supplier’s declarations.
Easements for businesses
For UK-EU trade, until 31 December 2021, businesses do not need supplier’s declarations from business suppliers in place when the goods are exported but they must be confident that the goods do meet the TCA preferential rules of origin. Businesses may be asked to retrospectively provide a supplier’s declaration after this date.
Bilateral cumulation and supplier’s statements
An exporter making out a statement on origin for a product that has benefitted from bilateral cumulation may also be required to provide a supplier’s declaration. For example, where a product has obtained its originating status through cumulating production carried out in the EU on non-originating materials, the exporter of those goods must obtain a declaration from the supplier of those materials.
This declaration could either be in the form set out in Annex ORIG-3 (Supplier’s declaration) of the TCA or an equivalent document that contains the same information, describing the non-originating materials concerned in sufficient detail for their identification. As with supplier’s declarations in the context of intra UK supply chains, a supplier’s declaration to cover production carried out in the EU may be made out to cover either a single supply or regular supplies made over a period of time.
Where the exported product has obtained its originating status through the cumulation of originating materials, the exporter must hold a statement on origin from the supplier based in the EU.
2.2.6 Record keeping requirements for a statement on origin
An importer making a claim for preferential tariff treatment must keep the statement on origin made out by the exporter for four years from the date of importation.
An exporter who has made out a statement on origin must keep, for four years from the date it was made out, a copy of the statement on origin and all other records demonstrating that the product satisfies the requirements to obtain originating status, for example supplier’s declarations, invoices etc.
In both cases, these records can be stored in an electronic format.
2.2.7 Multiple shipments
A statement on origin can be made to cover to cover multiple shipments of identical products supplied to a customer under the same contract over a 12-month period instead of separate statements for each individual consignment.
A statement on origin for multiple shipments shall indicate 3 dates:
- the date on which it is made out (date of issue – which shall be no later than the start date)
- the date of commencement of the period (start date)
- the date of end of the period (end date), which may not be more than 12 months after the date it was made out
A statement on origin for multiple shipments of identical products may be used as a basis for preferential tariff treatment only for those import declarations that are accepted on or between the start date and the end date indicated in the statement.
The importer shall keep the commercial documents for the subsequent consignments imported within the validity period for which preferential tariff treatment is claimed on the basis the statement on origin for multiple shipments.
The commercial documents for such subsequent consignments do not need to contain a statement on origin.
A statement on origin for multiple shipments must be withdrawn by the exporter if the conditions for its use are no longer fulfilled. The withdrawal must be documented in connection with the original statement on origin for multiple shipments. Once the withdrawal is documented, a new statement on origin must be made out if the delivered products are again originating products.
2.3 Applying for preference using importer’s knowledge
Relevant TCA articles:
- Article ORIG.4 (page 28) Cumulation of origin
- Article ORIG.21 (page 35) Importer’s knowledge
- Article ORIG.20 (page 35) Discrepancies
- Article ORIG.22 (page 35) Record-keeping requirements
- Article ORIG.26 (page 39) Denial of preferential Tariff treatment
‘Importer’s knowledge’ is an option that allows the importer to claim preferential tariff treatment based on their own knowledge about the originating status of imported products. It can be used as an alternative to a statement on origin provided by the exporter.
As the importer is making a claim using their own knowledge, the exporter or producer does not need to take any action to officially state the originating status of the goods.
As this option requires the importer to have knowledge that the products meet the relevant rules of origin, the exporter or producer may have to provide information about the production to the importer. This may be in addition to other information, such as supporting documents or records, which may already be in the possession of the importer.
Such information might include:
- the HS code of the product and origin criteria used
- a brief description of the production process
- if the origin criterion was based on a specific production process, a specific description of that process
- if applicable, a description of the originating and non-originating materials used in the production process
- if the origin criterion was ‘wholly obtained’, the applicable category (such as harvesting, mining, or fishing; and the place of production)
- if the origin criterion was based on a value method, the value of the product as well as the value of all the non-originating and/or originating materials used in the production
- if the origin criterion was based on weight, the weight of the product as well as the weight of the relevant non-originating and/or originating materials used in the product
- if the origin criterion was based on a change in tariff classification, a list of all the non-originating materials including their tariff classification number under the Harmonized System (in 2, 4 or 6-digit format depending on the origin criteria); or
- the information relating to the compliance with the provision on non-alteration (if applicable), for example a certificate of non-manipulation from the Customs Authority in the country of transit
In the case that the importer cannot obtain the information above, including circumstances where the exporter or producer does not provide the information because it is deemed commercially sensitive, preferential tariff treatment may still be claimed if the exporter issues a Statement on origin.
An importer making a claim for preferential tariff treatment must keep all records that demonstrate that the product is eligible for preference for four years from the date of importation. These records may be stored in an electronic format.
2.4 Verification of claims for preferential treatment
Relevant TCA article:
In order to verify whether a product imported under preference is originating, the importing customs authority may conduct a verification. This may include a request for information from the importer who made the claim for preferential tariff treatment.
Verification may be conducted before or after the release of the goods.
If conducting a verification before release of the goods, the customs authority may suspend the granting of preferential tariff treatment pending the results. In such circumstances release of the products shall be offered to the importer subject to a security or guarantee to cover the difference between the preferential and full tariff.
For claims based on a statement on origin made out by the exporter in the exporting Party, verification consists of the following two steps
The importing Party’s customs authority requests the Statement on origin from the importer. If the importer has any additional information supporting the fulfilment of origin criteria it can be provided.
Outside of any contractual obligations between the importer and the exporter, there is no obligation for the exporter to provide any further information to the importer. However, if an exporter, confronted with a request from the importer, prefers to provide information at this stage of the verification process, they can choose to do so either to the importer or to the importing Party’s customs authority directly. By providing information following the request during Step 1 of the verification process, the exporter may avoid being requested for the information by their own customs authority following a request for administrative cooperation as part of Step 2.
Where the importing customs authority needs to further verify the Statement on origin or the originating status of the goods, they may request administrative cooperation from the customs authority in the exporting Party. The exporting Party’s customs authority must conduct checks on the exporter’s records and processes, which may involve visiting the exporter, and confirm the goods’ eligibility to preferential tariff treatment in a written report back to the importing customs authority within 10 months of the request.
A request for administrative cooperation is only possible in case the claim for preferential tariff treatment is based on a Statement on origin.
For claims based on importers knowledge, verification consists of the following two steps
The importing Party’s customs authority requests from the importer no more information than that supporting fulfilment of origin criteria, which is:
- ‘wholly obtained’: the applicable category (such as harvesting, mining, fishing) and place of production
- based on change in tariff classification: a list of all the non-originating materials including their tariff classification (in 2, 4 or 6-digit format, depending on the origin criterion in the list rules)
- based on a value method: the value of the final product as well as the value of all the non-originating materials used in the production;
- based on weight: the weight of the final product as well as the weight of the relevant non-originating materials used in the final product
- based on a specific production process: a description of that specific process
The importer must respond within 3 months and may add any other information that they consider relevant for the purpose of verification.
Where importing Party’s customs authority needs more information to determine the originating status of the product and following step 1, they may request the importer to provide additional information.
The importing Party’s customs authority cannot request administrative cooperation from the exporting Party’s customs authority as no Statement on origin has been raised by the exporter. Therefore, the importer must be able to demonstrate that the product is originating and qualifies for preferential tariff treatment.
This does not necessarily mean that all information shall be readily available in the records of the importer at the time the claim for preferential tariff treatment is made, but the importer must be able to supply the necessary information within time period (3 months under this agreement) of the request for additional information.
2.5 Denial of preferential tariff treatment
Under specific circumstances, a claim for preferential tariff treatment maybe denied by either Party’s custom’s authority.
A claim for preferential tariff treatment may be denied:
- if the importer does not provide information when requested
- where a request for verification is sent to the exporting customs authority and a reply is not received within 10 months or the report does not contain enough information to determine origin
Provided that it does not cause doubt as to the origin of the goods, a claim for preferential tariff treatment will not be rejected due to minor errors or discrepancies in the Statement on origin or for the sole reason that an invoice was issued in a non-Party country.