Pay less Customs Duty on goods from a country with a UK trade agreement
You’ll need to classify the goods you import with the right commodity code, check they meet the rules of origin, and get proof of their origin.
If the UK has an agreement with a country you buy goods from, your business may be able to get a reduced rate of Customs Duty (known as a tariff preference or preferential rate of duty) for those goods.
If you decide not to claim a tariff preference, or if a tariff preference is not available, you’ll need to pay Customs Duty at the normal rate.
Check if you can claim
You’ll first need to use the trade tariff tool to find the right commodity code for your goods.
Once you’ve classified your goods, you’ll need to use the trade tariff tool and follow these steps.
1. Check if your goods are covered by a trade agreement
Select or enter the country you’re importing from. If there is a tariff preference, your goods are covered by a trade agreement.
If you’re importing from developing nations the rules are covered in the UK’s Generalised Scheme of Preference.
2. Check that your goods meet the rules of origin
Select ‘rules of origin’ to check your goods can be treated as originating in the country you’re importing from before you can claim a preferential rate of duty.
As trade agreements can change, you’ll need to make sure your goods meet the relevant rules of origin every time you claim a tariff preference. There are different rules of origin depending on the country.
Also, if the part of materials making up your products (or the suppliers providing or manufacturers making them) change, this can affect the country they are treated as originating from.
The rules of origin you must use to import from developing nations are covered in the UK’s Generalised Scheme of Preference.
Working out if your goods can be treated as originating in the UK can be complicated. Find out how to use the different rules of origin.
3. Check what proof you need
Once you’ve selected ‘rules of origin’ the tool will also tell you which of the different types of proof of origin you can use for your claim. You must keep this as HMRC may ask you to show this to support your claim.
The different types of proof of origin you must use for developing nations are covered in the UK’s Generalised Scheme of Preference.
What information to include on your import declaration
There are different ways to complete the import declaration, depending on whether you’re declaring them using the Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system or the Customs Declaration Service.
Find out how to complete your:
- Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) import declaration
- Customs Declaration Service import declaration
Keep your records
If you’ve made an import declaration which includes a preferential claim you must keep:
- a copy of the declaration
- proof of origin to show your goods can be treated as originating in the country you’re claiming a tariff preference for
- supporting documents, including details of the:
- processes carried out on originating goods or materials
- purchase, cost, value and payment for the goods
- originating status of the purchase, cost, value and payment for all materials
You must keep these records for at least 4 years, as HMRC may carry out checks on your goods.
Using a customs warehouse
If you’re planning on claiming a tariff preference and using a customs warehouse you should check what else you need to do.
Making a claim after you’ve paid Customs Duty
You may be able to claim back some or all of the Customs Duty if you paid it but later get a valid proof of origin.
Last updated 11 November 2021 + show all updates