International trade regulations in the Automotive sector

The Tariff, customs duty and restrictions and the automotive sector

Like all businesses engaging in import and/or export, those in the automotive sector must comply with a range of regulations relating to international trade.

Using the Integrated Tariff

The starting point to the smooth movement of goods in the European Union (EU) is the common customs tariff in force across all EU countries to classify goods for import to or export from the EU.

For detailed information on the online UK Tariff and how to use it, see our section on using the UK Trade Tariff. Access the UK Trade Tariff on the website.

Once you have identified the correct code, you will at a glance be able to see whether any import duties, taxes, tax rebates, reliefs, licences and special conditions such as prohibitions apply to your goods.

Licensing requirements

Although you will not normally need a licence to export automotive goods, you will need to consider whether your goods might be adapted and put to strategic or military use. Such products are considered to be dual-use goods and will require export licensing. To find out whether you need a licence to export your goods, you should first identify their commodity code.

When importing goods into the EU, you should also check whether a licensing requirement is in place because of the country of origin of the goods. In addition, motor vehicles and key components will have to meet specific safety, environmental and quality requirements before they can be imported into the UK. See the page in this guide on type approval of whole vehicles and automotive components.

If you are not sure whether the goods, software or technology you wish to export are controlled by UK or EU strategic export control legislation, register to use the Goods Checker.

To find out more about licensing controls applying to international trade, you can read our guideĀ do you need an export or import licence?

Anti-dumping and countervailing duties

Anti-dumping duties and/or quotas may be permanently or temporarily in force to protect domestic producers from unfair competition from under-priced third country imports.

Countervailing duties can apply to imports that have been subsidised by the country from which they originate.

For more information, see our guide on anti-dumping and countervailing duties.

Intellectual property (IP)

You must make sure that goods you import do not breach IP rights of other businesses. Infringing goods can be seized and destroyed by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

If you have concerns that others might import counterfeit versions of your goods, you can ask HRMC to check incoming shipments for any goods you believe infringe on your IP rights.

When exporting you should bear in mind that certain IP rights are territorial and might only give protection in the countries where they are granted or registered.

Domestic business legislation and standards

All goods imported into the UK must comply with domestic business standards, including health and safety legislation.