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EU Commission issues Guidance of Suppliers Declarations

(S,P) Guidance on Rules of Origin published to help EU business import into the UK for zero duty.

The stakeholder meeting was announced at short notice and attracted a wide range of industry representatives from most EU sectors. The Director for International and General Affairs at European Commission, Taxation and Customs Union chaired the meeting and her team provided a detailed and insightful presentation on the rules of origin under the new EU-UK TCA.

Guidance on EU Supplier Declarations

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Download Q&A Document

20210115 TCG TAXUD Meeting_TCA list of Q
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This presentation has been made available and is for download below (update 20.01.2021)

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Presentation on Rules of Origin by EU Co
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This was followed by an extensive Q&A where many questions could be clarified.

Here are some of the most typical questions regarding rules of origin and the official answer by the EU Commission:

How can I ensure that goods that I am importing into the EU from the UK benefit from the tariff-free provisions in the draft EU-UK Agreement?

Answer by EU Commission:

  • The draft EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement provide for zero tariffs and zero quotas on all trade in goods originating in the EU or the UK, from 1 January 2021. The zero tariff and zero quota provisions apply to all goods that comply with the appropriate rules of origin.

  • If you want the goods that you are importing to benefit from this duty-free treatment, you must make a claim for preferential treatment. The claim has to be based on a statement of origin, made out by the exporter, stating that the product qualifies for preferential treatment.

  • It is up to the exporter to make sure that the conditions are met to issue a statement of origin and that the information provided is correct.

  • EU importers have to keep the statement of origin and provide a copy to the EU customs authority if required.

  • Alternatively, the importer can claim the preferential treatment based on his/her own knowledge, in line with the conditions set out in the draft EU-UK Agreement. (Article ORIG.18).

  • The draft EU-UK Agreement also contains a “non-alteration” provision (Article ORIG.16). This means that the manipulation (e.g. processing) of the goods in another third country must be very strictly limited, if the goods are to qualify for preferential treatment.

  • Small consignments are exempted from the requirement to have a statement of origin. To qualify as a “small consignment”, the total value of the goods must not exceed EUR 500 for products sent in small packages or EUR 1 200 in the case of products within a traveller’s personal luggage.

What information must be in the statement of origin of an UK exporter? Do UK exporters need to have an EU Registered Exporter (REX) number?

Answer by the EU Commission:

  • The draft EU-UK Agreement sets out the rules for statements on origin (Article ORIG.19) as well as the format for these statements on origin (Annex ORIG-4). A reference number by which the exporter is identified needs to be indicated in the statement on origin.

  • For UK exporters, the number will be assigned according to UK rules, which should establish an identification number for their exporters. The UK will not use the REX system, and plans instead to use EORI registration numbers: please consult the UK national authorities for more information.

If a statement of origin cannot be made on time, can it be made retrospectively?

Answer by the EU Commission:

Yes. EU importers can introduce a retrospective claim for preferential treatment of goods

imported from the UK, for up to three years after the date of importation. This also

applies for EU exports to the UK.

How can I ensure that goods that I am exporting from the EU to the UK are not subject to customs duties in the UK?

Answer by the EU Commission:

  • Under the draft EU-UK Agreement, goods of EU origin will benefit from tariff-free, quota-free access to the UK market.

  • To benefit from this preferential treatment, you need to comply with the requirements established in the “Rules of Origin” chapter of the draft EU-UK Agreement.

This means that:

  • The product that you are exporting needs to be originating in the EU i.e. the production process has to satisfy a list of requirements.

  • Your product has to be sent directly to the UK i.e. it has to respect the “nonalteration” rule.

  • The importer may require that you provide him with a statement on origin, proving that your product originates in the EU.

  • Your statement on origin should contain the information required under the draft EU-UK Agreement (Annex ORIG-4). This statement should appear on an invoice or

  • on any other document that describes the product well enough for it to be identified.

  • In order to make out a valid statement to export to the UK, you need to be registered in the EU Registered Exporter System (REX). To do this, you need to fill in an application form and return it to your competent national authorities, who will give you a registered exporter number and enter it into the REX system.

  • For small consignments of less than EUR 6000, you do not need to be registered in REX.

I am an EU business, exporting goods to the UK. Can I issue a statement of origin if I do not have all the supplier’s declarations for the materials and components used to manufacture the product?

Answer by the EU Commission:

  • Under EU customs rules, suppliers should make a supplier’s declaration. This is to ensure that exporters have the necessary information to determine the originating status of goods and, if relevant, make a statement of origin for preferential trade purposes.

  • However, given that suppliers may not be in a position to provide such a declaration

  • before the draft EU-UK Agreement is implemented on 1 January, the Commission has adopted transitory rules that will apply until the end of 2021. These allow an EU exporter to make out a statement on origin based on supplier’s declarations that he receives afterwards.

  • The exporter is still responsible, however, for ensuring that the statement on origin and the information provided is correct. The exporter must also have all the relevant supplier’s declaration by 1 January 2022 at the latest, or else inform the importer that the statement on origin cannot be substantiated.

I am an exporter of goods of EU origin. Will the UK’s withdrawal from the EU have any impact on my ability to access preferential treatment for my goods?

Answer by the EU Commission:

  • Under the draft EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement, EU and UK traders have to meet rules of origin comparable to those which the EU and the UK have with other trading partners.

  • Since 1 January 2021, traders have to demonstrate the originating status of goods in order for them to benefit from preferential tariff treatment under the draft Agreement.

  • Goods that do not meet the origin requirements contained in the draft Agreement will be liable for customs duties.

  • Self-certification of the origin of the goods will be possible for trade between the EU and the UK, thereby making it easier for the trader to prove the origin of its products. In addition, the EU exporters will benefit from additional flexibility in collecting documentary evidence to prove origin during the first year, to allow their products to benefit from the preferences despite the short timeline between the conclusion and application of the Agreement.

  • EU exporters trading with the EU’s preferential partners other than the UK will also be affected. UK content (both material and processing operations) will become ‘non-originating’ when determining the preferential origin of goods under EU trade

  • preferential arrangements. Therefore, goods produced in the EU with relevant UK content for the acquisition of the origin will not be considered as EU-originating. As such, it will not be able to benefit from the preferential trade arrangements that the EU has with other third countries. EU exports will need to reassess their supply chains if they wish to avoid this happening.

  • To maintain their preferential origin status, goods traded under EU preferential arrangements other than the one with the UK, which transits through the UK, will also have to meet requirements related to direct transport/non-manipulation, which are contained in those EU preferential agreements.

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