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Understanding Rules of Origin: How to Provide Acceptable Proof of Origin under the EU-UK TCA

How to Demonstrate Eligibility for Zero Customs Duty as an EU or UK Exporter/Importer


Rules of Origin by Customs Manager Ltd
The acceptable Proofs of Origin depend on the Rules of Origin agreed in Free Trade Agreements.

To benefit from preference, originating products must be accompanied by the appropriate proof of origin confirming their origin. Let's break down the requirements.


Statement on origin

The exporter makes out the statement on origin to self-declare the origin of its product.

  • by any EU exporter, provided that the total value of the consignment is below €6000

  • by EU exporters that are registered in the Registered Exporter System (REX) for consignments of € 6 000 and above.

  • by any UK exporter, provided that the total value of the consignment is below €6 000

The exporter makes out a statement of origin based on information demonstrating that the product is originating, including information on the originating status of the materials used in the production of the product (such as the supplier’s declaration).


The exporter is responsible for the statement on origin and the information provided's accuracy. He or she should be prepared to submit all appropriate documents proving the originating status of the products at the request of customs authorities (such as the supplier’s declaration).


How to make out a statement of origin

The exporter should complete the following declaration on the invoice or any other document which describes the products concerned in sufficient detail to enable them to be identified (e.g. delivery note or packing list).


The statement on origin can be for one shipment or multiple shipments of identical products during a period not exceeding one year.


(Period: from___________ to __________ (1))

The exporter of the products covered by this document (Exporter Reference No ... (2)) declares that,

except where otherwise clearly indicated, these products are of ... (3) preferential origin.

…………………………………………………………………. (4) (Place and date)

……………………………………………………………........ (Name of the exporter)


(1) If the statement on origin is completed for multiple shipments of identical originating products, indicate the period for which the statement on origin is to apply. That period shall not exceed 12 months. All importations of the product must occur within the period indicated. If the statement on origin is for one shipment, the field may be left blank


(2) For an exporter located in the EU, put your REX number (for consignments above €6 000); For an exporter located in the United Kingdom, this will be the number assigned in accordance with the laws and regulations applicable within the United Kingdom


(3) Indicate the origin of the product: the United Kingdom or the Union.


(4) Place and date may be omitted if the information is contained on the document itself.


The Registered Exporter System (the REX system) role in Statements on Origin

This is the system of self-certification of the preferential origin of goods by economic operators who make out preferential origin documents (statement of origin or origin declaration). It is operated by the European Union, NOT the UK.


REX is the EU's system for businesses to self-certify the preferential origin of goods by making out preferential origin documents (statement onorigin or origin declaration).

An exporter/producer must be registered in a database by the competent authority to be entitled to make out a preferential origin document.  

Once registered, the business becomes a 'Registered Exporter'. A REX number is assigned to the company; this number must be indicated on the preferential origin documents.

The REX system was first introduced in the EU Generalised Scheme of Preference for developing countries. Progressively, it is being extended to EU’s exports under other preferential arrangements.


Importer’s knowledge as a Proof of Origin

In some agreements, as an importer, you can claim preference using the knowledge you’ve obtained about the origin of the goods. This is known as ‘importer’s knowledge’. This can be used as an alternative to an origin declaration.


You will need to hold supporting documents or records, which should cover:

  • the commodity code

  • a brief description of the production process (including the origin of the goods used)

  • if the origin was based on ‘wholly obtained’ – give a category for the goods

  • if the origin was based on ‘sufficiently worked or processed’ give one of the following:

  • the value of the product as well as the value of all the non-originating or, as appropriate to establish compliance with the value requirement, originating materials used in the production

  • the weight of the product as well as the weight of the relevant non-originating or, as appropriate to establish compliance with the weight requirement, originating materials used in the product

  • a list of all the non-originating materials including their commodity code (in two-, four- or six-digit format depending on the origin criteria)

  • whether the goods have been altered or transformed

  • if asked by customs, any additional information that will help verify the origin of the goods

  • If you or the person receiving your goods cannot give this information for commercial reasons, you should use an origin declaration.


Suppliers Declaration - What role for issuing statements on origin?

A business that supplies products/materials in the EU or UK to another EU / UK company (in the same country) may need to issue a supplier's declaration to declare the origin of its products/materials.


A supplier’s declaration is a declaration by which suppliers provide information to their customers concerning the originating status under specific preferential trade agreements of the goods they supply. With it, the supplier formally declares the originating status of the goods they provide. Their customers can then use this information to prove the preferential origin of the exported goods.


Please note that a supplier’s declaration may never be used as a document of origin for claiming preferential treatment at importation.


If you are an importer, what do you need to do to acquire acceptable proof of origin?

You must have proof of the originating status of the product before claiming preference.

This may be a statement of origin from the exporter on a commercial invoice or another commercial document that describes the goods. The text of the Statement would be included in the agreement—this is known as an invoice or origin declaration.


It could also be supporting documents and records if you’re claiming preference using your importer's knowledge. If you’re using the importer’s knowledge, you must get enough evidence that the goods qualify as originating. This may involve the exporter providing a range of supporting documentation. If you cannot get that evidence, then the exporter may be able to give you a statement on origin.


You must also:

  • claim for preference by completing the relevant part and declaring the proof of origin on your customs import declaration

  • give the proof of origin to the customs authorities if requested by the customs authorities

  • maintain records for at least four years


If you’re an exporter, what must you do to issue a correct proof of origin?


You must:

  • hold evidence that the goods meet the relevant rules of origin before stating another origin

  • Understand if you need to get a declaration from your supplier. For UK-EU trade, businesses do need supplier declarations from business suppliers in place when the goods are exported. Companies may be asked to retrospectively provide a supplier’s declaration if they have not done so before.

  • give your customer (the importer) one of the following:

    • a statement on the origin on a commercial invoice or another commercial document that describes the goods - the text of the statement would be included in the agreement; this is known as an invoice or origin declaration

    • supporting documents and records if your customer is claiming preference using their ‘importer knowledge.’

  • maintain records for at least four years


Our Recommendation

Dealing with preferential origin can be tricky, so why not leave it to us to assist you with it? You can join our mailing list to receive updates (go to www.customsmanager.info), join one of our trainings on customs over at www.customsmanager.org ⇾ Events and schedule a free call to talk through your requirements. Get in touch.



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