Updated: Jun 30, 2022
Trade preferences decrease or eliminate UK tariffs on imports from poorer nations. The UK Generalised Scheme of Privileges gives developing nations trading preferences (GSP).
Eligible Goods Download this list, and check which goods are eligible.
The UK GSP has 3 frameworks:
Least Developed Countries Framework
The UK GSP frameworks
Least developed countries framework This framework is for countries that the UN classifies as Least Developed Countries. Imports from these countries have quota-free access and nil rates of import duty on all goods other than arms and ammunition.
Central African Rep
Congo, Democratic Rep
São Tomé & Príncipe
General Framework This framework is for countries that the World Bank classifies as low-income and lower-middle-income countries.
Imports from these countries have reduced rates of import duty on certain goods outlined in the tariffs above
Vietnam has signed a trade agreement with the UK, however, they may still receive GSP market access during the transition to their new trade arrangement.
Enhanced Framework This framework is for countries that are:
classified by the World Bank as low-income and lower-middle-income countries
economically vulnerable due to a lack of export diversification and a low level of integration with the international trading system
They must also implement 27 conventions relating to:
human and labour rights
Imports from these countries have a nil rate of import duty on certain goods outlined in the UK Tariff rates above
Rules of origin To receive GSP rates of import duty, goods must originate from a GSP country. Rules of origin are the criteria that establish the country of origin of imported goods.
A list of operations that should be carried out on materials to gain originating status can be found in The Customs (Origin of Chargeable Goods: Trade Preference Scheme) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020.
Importers will have to pay import duty at the full (non-GSP) rate, if checks carried out by HMRC reveal that the goods do not satisfy the GSP rules of origin.
Derogations from the rules of origin A derogation can allow more relaxed rules of origin for specific goods originating in specific countries.
A derogation may be granted where:
factors temporarily deprive a GSP country of the ability to comply with the rules of origin, where they could do so previously
a GSP country requires time to prepare itself to comply with the rules of origin.
A derogation is time-limited, for example; for the length of time needed for the GSP country to comply with the rule of origin.
A derogation request should be made by the GSP country, in writing, to the Secretary of State. It should state the reasons why the derogation is requested and should contain supporting documents.
Cumulation Cumulation is when materials originating from specific countries can be incorporated in the products from a GSP country and then considered as originating in that GSP country. This can occur as long as the processing done in the GSP country goes beyond minimal levels. The UK cumulation arrangements include:
cumulation with the EU, Norway and Switzerland
Materials falling within Chapters 1 to 24 of the Harmonized System which originates from Norway or Switzerland are not covered by cumulation.
The UK will continue to permit materials from the EU, Norway and Switzerland to be further processed or incorporated in a finished product in a GSP beneficiary country. The UK GSP replicates the effects of the EU non-manipulation rule. Therefore, goods entering the UK via the EU, as a transit country, may still be eligible for GSP preferences under the UK GSP. See regulation 20 of The Customs (Origin of Chargeable Goods: Trade Preference Scheme) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 for more information.
Evidence requirements Goods that meet the UK GSP rules of origin requirements are eligible to claim a GSP rate of import duty on the basis of a valid proof of origin. A valid proof of origin must be either of the following:
a GSP Form A - which does not need to be stamped and signed by an authority designated by the GSP country: you can submit a copy
an origin declaration - which must include information to enable the identification of an originating good
For goods released for free circulation in the UK up to 12 months after 31 December 2020, HMRC will accept a Registered Exporter System (REX) statement on origin as proof that goods originate from a GSP country.
The REX statement on origin must:
contain, where applicable, the valid REX registration number of the exporter
be dated no later than 31 December 2020
For information on GSP customs co-operation requirements, please see the GSP customs co-operation notice
GSP goods entering the UK from a customs warehouse in an EU member state The UK does not have an agreement in place with the EU to allow traders to use a replacement proof of origin to redistribute GSP goods between the EU and the UK. Goods originating from GSP countries that simply travel through or are stored/split in the EU before being released into free circulation in UK may still be eligible for the UK GSP. These goods must meet the ‘non-manipulation’ rule:
the goods must be the same goods as were exported from the GSP country - they must not have been altered or transformed in anyway
goods must be kept under customs supervision at all times in the country of transit - the goods must not have been released into free circulation in the EU
the goods must meet the UK GSP origin rules and will need to be accompanied by a proof of origin made out by the exporter in the GSP country in accordance with UK GSP evidence requirements
Some operations can be conducted in a third country if the goods remain under customs supervision, see regulation 20 of The Customs (Origin of Chargeable Goods: Trade Preference Scheme) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 for more information.
GSP goods sent to an EU member state from a customs warehouse in the UK The UK does not have an agreement in place with the EU to allow UK businesses to make out a replacement proof of origin to redistribute GSP goods between the UK and the EU.
Goods originating from a beneficiary country of the EU GSP that are imported into a customs warehouse in the UK may still be eligible for the EU GSP, subject to EU rules. To remain eligible, goods must meet the conditions of the EU GSP non-alteration (non-manipulation) rule and be accompanied by a valid EU GSP proof of origin made out by the exporter in the GSP country. The goods must not enter free circulation in the UK.
Suspending GSP rates
Country graduation When a country no longer meets the relevant eligibility requirements it will be removed from the relevant GSP framework. The UK will provide a graduation period of at least 3 years before removing a country from the relevant framework. This is known as country graduation. A country will enter another GSP framework if it meets the relevant requirements
Trade arrangement suspension GSP rates may be suspended for countries once they implement a new trade agreement with the UK, which provides them with equivalent or better preferential market access than the GSP. Find out which countries have agreed a trade agreement with the UK.
Goods graduation Preferential rates of import duty may be suspended on a specific product group that is already highly competitive without trade preferences. This is known as goods graduation.
The UK’s first list of graduated goods is valid until the end of 2022. The next list of graduated goods will take effect in 2023. It will be reviewed every 3 years and published on this page.
Find out which goods will be graduated under the UK GSP. This list will apply until the end of 2022.
Further information You can find out more about trade preferences in Section 10 and Schedule 3 of the Taxation (Cross Border Trade) Act 2018. You can find out more on trade preference scheme regulations at:
The Trade Preference Scheme regulations (EU Exit) Regulations 2020.
The Customs (Origin of Chargeable Goods: Trade Preference Scheme) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020.
You can find notices in relation to the trade preference scheme regulations at:
GSP proof of origin notice
GSP customs co-operation notice
graduated goods notice
trade arrangement suspension notice
These will all be published on https://www.customsmanager.org/customs-global-trade-blog/categories/uk-laws along with the relevant law.