Check if you can claim a preferential rate of duty


Last updated 29 December 2020

The rate of duty payable depends on:

  • the type of goods
  • if you’re importing or exporting
  • where the goods are deemed to have come from - the ‘originating’ country and their destination

To claim a preference, you must:

  1. Check there’s an agreement in place.
  2. Check your goods are covered by the agreement.
  3. Check the goods meet the rules of origin.
  4. Include the information on your declaration.

Check if there’s an agreement

You must check whether the country you’re trading with has an agreement.

You can find information about preference agreements that the UK has with other countries and groups of countries.

You can also check if the country you’re trading with is covered by the Generalised Scheme of Preferences.

Check if your goods are covered by the agreement

You will need to classify your goods and confirm these are included in the agreement.

Check your goods meet the rules of origin

To show that your goods have come from the originating country, the goods must meet the criteria contained in the rules of origin.

You’ll need to check if your goods meet the rules of origin, and if they do, get proof of origin.

Information to include on your import or export declaration

Find out how to complete a declaration if you’re using the:

There’s a different way to declare your goods if you’re exporting goods by post.

If you’re planning on claiming preference and using a customs warehouse you should check what else you need to do.

Retrospective claims

If you paid the full Customs Duty and were then able to get valid proof of origin, you may be able to apply for a repayment or remission of the duty after you’ve imported the goods.

Records you must keep

If you’ve made an origin declaration (or given written statements as a producer or supplier) you must keep a copy of the:

  • declaration or statement
  • 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 HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) may carry out checks on your goods.

If the checks are done before the goods are cleared for import, HMRC may ask you for a security before releasing the goods.