Import and export food and drink products

Tariffs and duties in the food and drink sector


There is a range of import-specific regulations in the food and drink sector with which all businesses must comply. The key issues relate to the Trade Tariff, duties and Intrastat.

Using the Integrated Tariff

A common customs tariff is applied across all European Union (EU) countries on goods imported from outside the EU.

Details of specific tariff duties and measures are contained in the Integrated Tariff of the United KingdomThe Trade Tariff is used to determine the specific classification code of your goods and to find:

  • any licensing requirements that apply
  • the rates of duty and import VAT that apply
  • any additional charges, such as anti-dumping duties
  • any available preferential duty rates

Preferential rates of duty

The Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) allows originating products from a range of countries to be imported into the EU at a reduced or zero rate of duty. For more information on how to determine whether a product is an originating one, Notice 830 - Tariff Preference: New GSP rules of origin and a guide for users on GSP rules of origin.

The European Community has a number of other preferential trade agreements with third countries and goods may attract preferential rates of duty as a result.


If you are VAT registered and the goods you acquire from or supply to VAT-registered businesses in other EU countries reach the Intrastat exemption threshold(s) for the year, you must submit monthly supplementary declarations to HMRC. The current thresholds are £1.5 million for Arrivals and £250,000 for Dispatches.

Intrastat is the method of collecting information and producing statistics on goods traded between EU member states. See Intrastat - reporting the value and volume of intra-EU trade. Intrastat is only applicable to VAT-registered traders.