International trade regulations in the Automotive sector

Preferential trade agreements and the automotive sector

Automotive businesses may find one or more of the European Union's (EU's) preferential trade agreements with third countries or groupings of third countries beneficial to their business. To qualify for preferential treatment - ie elimination or partial elimination of the full rate of customs duty - the goods must meet the relevant origin rules. See our guide on rules of origin.

Preferential trade agreements

As a result of preferential trade agreements certain goods that you import or export may attract a lower or nil rate of duty. The main agreements include:

  • Free trade agreements (FTAs) - The EU has many bilateral FTAs with individual countries, whether with partners in the region - eg the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, with central European countries, or beyond (Mexico, Chile, South Africa).
  • The Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) encourages developing countries to export by allowing their products preferential access to the markets of developed countries. You will need to support all preference claims with a valid proof of preferential origin. For more information, see the page on the Generalised System of Preferences and GSP+ in our guide on using trade preferences.
  • Economic Partnership Agreements or the preferential duty regime of the African, Caribbean and Pacific States (ACP) and the EU remove barriers to trade and enhance cooperation in all areas related to trade.

For detailed and country-specific information on Tariff preferences, see: