Preferential treatment for export goods – benefit from the EU’s trade agreements
Countries with which the EU has mutual free trade or other preferential tariff agreements, grant reduced or zero tariff rates on products originating in the EU. A proof of origin drawn up by the exporter lowers the costs of the buyer in the destination country.
In order to benefit from the savings made possible by the EU trade agreements, your company’s exports must meet three basic conditions:
- The export product is covered by one of the EU’s trade agreements. The newest EU trade agreements usually cover almost all industrial and agricultural products as well as foodstuffs.
- The product originates in the EU or in a contracting country. In other words, it is wholly obtained or sufficiently worked or processed either in the EU or in the contracting country.
- The product must be accompanied by a proof of origin.
2. Find out if customs duty is levied on the goods in the destination country
Use the EU Commission’s Market Access Database:
- Enter the country of destination and a 4 or 6-digit commodity code for the export goods.
- The preferential customs duty levied on products originating in the EU is displayed under “EU” and the general customs duty under “MFN”.
- If the general customs duty is zero percent, the preferential treatment has no significance.
3. Find out if the export product is an EU originating product under the agreement
- The rules of origin in the agreement stipulate the conditions under which the product can be regarded as an originating product.
- The originating product can be wholly produced in the EU, sufficiently worked or processed or subject to cumulation*). In addition, the rules may require that the products be exported directly from the EU to the agreement country.
- Enter the destination country and a 4 or 6-digit commodity code for the export goods into the Market Access Database. The rule of origin for the commodity code can be found via the link “RoO” (Rules of Origin).
- You can also find the rules of origin for a specific agreement by searching the Official Journal if you know the issue number and year of publication.
4. Find out which proof of origin you need
- The rules of origin define the proofs of origin that will entitle the importer to preferential tariff treatment for the export goods in the destination country.
- The proof of origin can be, for example, an EUR.1 movement certificate, or an invoice declaration or declaration of origin included in the commercial document.
- Check what the accepted proofs of origin (pdf, in Finnish) are according to destination country.
- Read more about different proofs of origin
5. Draw up a proof of origin and submit it to the destination country
Draw up a proof of origin once the export and the detailed information about the export consignment have been confirmed.
- If you are using an EUR.1 movement certificate as proof of origin, bring it or send it to the customs office for endorsement.
- The goods must be available for inspection by Customs when the certificate is endorsed.
Send the original proof of origin to the destination country for the import clearance of the goods.
6. Make exporting easier: apply for status as approved exporter or registered exporter
- If you are exporting goods on a regular basis, apply for status as an approved exporter and/or registered exporter. This gives you more extensive authorisation to endorse proofs of origin yourself without having to visit a customs office.
- If you are exporting to South Korea, your exports need not be regular when applying for status as approved exporter.
- Note that the general EU certificate of origin granted by a chamber of commerce does not entitle you to preferential treatment – it only proves the general origin of the goods.
*) Cumulation of origin means that the manufacturer in the EU (Finland) may under certain conditions use raw materials originating in a contracting country when manufacturing products despite not meeting the conditions of sufficiently worked or processed products, and the final product may still be considered as originating in the EU (Finland).
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