Trading with developing nations from 1 January 2021
Details on the UK’s Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP).
New rules for January 2021
The UK has left the EU, and the transition period after Brexit comes to an end this year.
This page tells you what you’ll need to do from 1 January 2021. It will be updated if anything changes.
For current information, read: trading with developing nations
You can also read about the transition period.
Trade preferences reduce or remove rates of duty (tariffs) on imports from eligible developing countries into the UK.
From 1 January 2021, eligible developing countries will be able to get trade preferences through the UK Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP).
The UK GSP will initially provide trade preferences to the same countries as the EU GSP.
The UK GSP will have 3 frameworks:
- Least Developed Countries Framework
- General Framework
- Enhanced Framework
These frameworks replicate the market access provided by the EU’s GSP.
The UK GSP frameworks
Least developed countries framework
This framework is for countries that the UN classifies as Least Developed Countries. Imports from these countries have quota-free access and nil rates of import duty on all goods other than arms and ammunition.
- Burkina Faso
- Central African Rep
- Congo, Democratic Rep
- São Tomé & Príncipe
- Sierra Leone
- Solomon Islands
- South Sudan
This framework is for countries that the World Bank classifies as low-income and lower-middle income countries.
Imports from these countries have reduced rates of import duty on certain goods. Download theto check which goods are eligible.
- Cook Islands
- El Salvador*
- Ivory Coast*
- Papua New Guinea*
** These are countries that are in the process of reproducing the effects of an EU trade agreement. They will receive GSP market access if they do not implement a trade agreement with the UK before 1 January 2021.
This framework is for countries that are:
- classified by the World Bank as low-income and lower-middle income countries
- economically vulnerable due to a lack of export diversification and a low level of integration with the international trading system
They must also implement 27 conventions relating to:
- human and labour rights
- the environment
- good governance
Imports from these countries have a nil rate of import duty on certain goods. Download theto check which goods are eligible.
- Cape Verde
- Sri Lanka
Rules of origin
To receive GSP rates of import duty, goods must originate from a GSP country. Rules of origin are the criteria which establish the country of origin of imported goods.
The UK GSP will keep the same qualifying operations as the EU GSP product-specific rules.
For more information on the list of operations which should be carried out on materials to gain originating status, see Annex 22-03 of the Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2015/2446.
Importers will have to pay import duty at the full (non-GSP) rate, if checks carried out by HMRC reveal that the goods do not satisfy the GSP rules of origin.
Cumulation is when materials originating from specific countries can be incorporated in the products from a GSP country and then considered as originating in that GSP country. This can occur as long as the processing done in the GSP country goes beyond minimal levels.
The UK will have similar cumulation arrangements as the EU, including:
- cumulation with the EU, Norway* and Switzerland*
** Materials falling within Chapters 1 to 24 of the Harmonized System which originate from Norway or Switzerland are not covered by cumulation.
The UK will continue to permit materials from the EU, Norway and Switzerland to be further processed or incorporated in a finished product in a GSP beneficiary country.
The UK GSP will replicate the effects of the EU non-manipulation rule. Therefore, goods entering the UK via the EU, as a transit country, may still be eligible for GSP preferences under the UK GSP. See Article 43 of the Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2015/2446.
Goods that meet the UK GSP rules of origin requirements are eligible to claim a GSP rate of import duty on the basis of a valid proof of origin. A valid proof of origin must be either of the following:
- a GSP Form A – which does not need to be stamped and signed by an authority designated by the GSP country: you can submit a copy
- an origin declaration – which must include information to enable the identification of an originating good
For goods released for free circulation in the UK up to 12 months after 31 December 2020, HMRC will accept a Registered Exporter System (REX) statement on origin as proof that goods originate from a GSP country.
The REX statement on origin must:
- contain, where applicable, the valid REX registration number of the exporter
- be dated no later than 31 December 2020
See HMRC’s Notice 830 for more information about rules of origin documentation.
Full details of the GSP origin requirements will be set out in a public notice.
Suspending GSP rates
When a country no longer meets the relevant eligibility requirements it will be removed from the relevant GSP framework. The UK will provide a graduation period of at least three years before removing a country from the relevant framework. This is known as country graduation. A country will enter another GSP framework if it meets the relevant requirements.
Trade arrangement suspension
GSP rates may be suspended for countries once they implement a new trade agreement with the UK, which provides them with equivalent or better preferential market access than the GSP. Find out which countries have agreed a trade agreement with the UK.
Preferential rates of import duty may be suspended on a specific product group that is already highly competitive without trade preferences. This is known as goods graduation.
The UK’s first list of graduated goods replicates the EU’s current list of graduated goods until the end of 2022. The next list of graduated goods will take effect in 2023. It will be reviewed every three years and published on this page.
Find out which goods will be graduated under the UK GSP. This list will apply until the end of 2022.
You can find out more about trade preferences in Section 10 and Schedule 3 of the Taxation (Cross Border Trade) Act 2018.
Further guidance will be published on UK GSP legislation when it becomes available.