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UK-Serbia Free Trade Agreement: What businesses need to know to secure zero duty trade

The UK and Serbia have a Trade and Cooperation Agreement in place, but how does it help GB and EU businesses. We explore...


The UK and Serbia have signed a Partnership, Trade and Cooperation Agreement.

The Agreement secures continued preferential trade access between the UK and Serbia. The preferential trading terms secured by the Agreement will enable businesses on both sides to trade as they did before the UK left the European Union (EU) in 2021 - with "free trade" provisions in the agreement.

However, rules have to be respected to ensure that trading does not incur customs duty.

What the agreement includes

This agreement includes provisions on:

  • trade in goods, including provisions on preferential tariffs, tariff-rate quotas, rules of origin

  • trade in services

  • intellectual property, including geographical indications

  • government procurement

Tariff rates on goods

Tariff rates for bilateral trade in goods between the UK and Serbia will apply, as set out in the agreement.

Tariff rate quotas

Tariff rate quotas in the agreement have been tailored specifically to both countries.

Rules of origin

Claiming preferential rates for your exports from the UK or Serbia

  • Unless a business is permitted to provide an origin declaration, they will need to fill in a certificate of origin to claim preferential treatment.

Proof of Origin

The UK and Serbia continue to use the EUR1 and EUR-MED format for movement certificates with trade partners that have mutual FTAs with the EU, including Serbia.

These movement certificates are identical to those previously in use, they just state the United Kingdom or Serbia, accordingly. EUR1 and EUR-MED certificates of origin will be available from your usual provider, such as the local chambers of commerce.

Using EU materials and processing in your exports to Serbia or the UK

Under the agreement, businesses can use EU materials or processes in exports to Serbia or the UK if the necessary requirements set out in the Rules of Origin Protocol between Serbia and the UK are met.

Minimal Processing

Businesses in Serbia or the UK must also ensure the working or processing they do in the UK or Serbia goes beyond the minimal operations listed in the agreement and the other relevant conditions are met. For example, you will not be able to simply package or label a product from the EU and export it to Serbia as a good originating in the UK. See the list of minimal operations in Article 7 of the Rules of Origin Protocol in the UK-Serbia agreement (download below).


BLOG ENTRY: Minimal Processing Explained

Many exporters or importers forget that the minimal operations rule can disqualify your product counting as originating. Find out how it works


Cumulation between the UK and Serbia

The ability to consider materials from, or processing carried out in, another country as originating when incorporated into your product is called accumulation. This is allowed between Serbia and the UK.

Using materials and/or processing from other EU, Iceland, Norway, Turkey or Switzerland in your exports to Serbia or the UK

When both the UK and Serbia have an agreement with one of the other countries provided for in the Rules of Origin Protocol, under the agreement, businesses can continue using materials, and in some cases processing, from that country in your exports to Serbia or the UK. In particular, refer to Article 3 and 4.

Please note the specific disclaimer:

Sending your goods to Serbia or the UK through the EU and other countries

Goods transited through the EU – and any other country with whom cumulation is applicable – will not be subject to the same restrictions as those in transit through other third countries. For example, you will be able to split a consignment in the EU when exporting goods to the UK, provided the goods comprising the consignment have not been entered into free circulation in the EU.

Transit through any other third country is possibly provided your goods remain under customs surveillance and do not undergo operations other than unloading, reloading or any operation designed to preserve them in good condition.

Supplier Declarations

Goods in transit and retrospective certificates of origin

If you expect goods to be in transit prior to the entry into effect of the agreement, you can obtain a retrospective certificate of origin. This will show that the goods originated in the UK or Serbia and are eligible for preferential terms. You can get retrospective certificates of origin from your usual provider as soon as the agreement takes effect.

Product Specific Rules of Origin

These can be downloaded below. They are not identical to the rule of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement. Here is an example of the rules for Heading 3824.


The below documents detail the preferential tariffs and Rules of Origin that have been agreed in the EU-Serbia FTA. In the UK, this is based on The Customs Tariff (Preferential Trade Arrangements and Tariff Quotas) (EU Exit) (Amendment No. 2) Regulations 2021:

Rules of Origin in the UK-Serbia FTA: General

General Rules of Origin UK-Serbia FTA provided by Customs Manager Ltd
Download PDF • 268KB

Rules of Origin in the UK-Serbia FTA: Product Specific

Rules of Origin UK-Serbia Product Specific Rules - FULL
Download PDF • 1.13MB

Serbia: UK and Serbia sign Partnership, Trade and Cooperation Agreement (FULL)

UK_Serbia_Partnership_Trade_and_Cooperation_Agreement provided by Customs Manager Ltd
Download PDF • 789KB

Preferential Rates

Serbia-Preferential-Tariff 27.04.2021 with UK
Download PDF • 259KB

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