Trade preferences available to the African, Caribbean and Pacific States having concluded WTO-compatible agreements with the EU.
Exporters in developing countries may also be interested to see the Export Helpdesk for Developing Countries of DG TRADE.
There have been important changes since 1 January 2008 and depending on the outcome of the negotiations of Economic Partnership Agreements with ACP countries additional changes are still to be expected.
The 35 ACP States which have initialled WTO-compatible agreements benefit from new arrangements (see below under subtitle Market Access Regulation - MAR). The remaining ACP States now benefit only from GSP.
See also the Notice to Community operators and the note to the customs administrations of Member States (which includes the list of countries benefiting from the new arrangements).
Situation after 1 October 2014
Regulation (EU) No 527/2013 withdrew, with deferred effect until 1/10/2014, Market Access Regulation’s benefits to those countries that had not taken the necessary steps towards ratification of the Economic Partnership Agreements concluded with the EU by removing them from Annex I to Regulation (EC) No 1528/2007.
The Commission is empowered to adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 24a of Regulation (EC) No 1528/2007 to amend Annex I to that Regulation so as to add regions or States from the ACP Group of States that have concluded negotiations on an agreement with the EU and which meets the requirements of Article XXIV of GATT 1994.
Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Botswana, Namibia, Eswatini and Kenya, on one hand and the European Union and its Member States on the other hand concluded negotiations on an Economic Partnership Agreement. Moreover, Fiji and Cameroon ratified their respective interim EPA agreement.
Therefore, the Commission adopted Delegated Acts by which the following countries were re-included in Annex I to Regulation (EC) No 1528/2007: The Republic of Botswana, The Republic of Côte d'Ivoire, The Republic of Ghana, The Republic of Namibia, The Kingdom of Eswatini, The Republic of Cameroon, The Republic of the Fiji Islands, as of 1.10.2014, and The Republic of Kenya, as of 25.12.2014.
As of 28 July 2016 Regulation (EC) No 1528/2007 was repealed and replaced by Regulation (EU) 2016/1076 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 8 June 2016. The Regulation applies the arrangements for products originating in certain states which are part of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States provided for in agreements establishing, or leading to the establishment of, economic partnership agreements.
NOTICE: Specific provisions only contain information on cases where the rules of the particular arrangement differ from the common provisions, or where these common provisions need to be complemented. Therefore, always check the common provisions.
For the purpose of defining the concept of originating products, the territories of the ACP are considered as one territory. This means that if a manufacturer in an ACP State uses materials from one or more other ACP States, the materials are treated no differently from those obtained in the ACP State in which he manufactures his products.
Bilateral cumulation, diagonal cumulation and full cumulation are applicable
The provisions relating to this kind of cumulation have not yet entered into force, pending the conclusions of agreements including identical rules of origin between the ACP States and South Africa . As soon as these arrangements are concluded the following cumulation may be applied:
Diagonal cumulation : When applying this system the products will only obtain ACP origin provided that the value added in the ACP exceeds the value of the materials originating in South Africa. If this is not the case the products shall be considered as originating in the South Africa.
Full cumulation : This system will apply between South Africa and other Member States of SACU (South African Customs Union, comprising Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Eswatini) provided that the materials undergo subsequent working or processing there.
At the request of the ACP States, materials originating in a neighbouring developing country, other than an ACP State, belonging to a coherent geographical entity may be considered as materials originating in the ACP States when incorporated into a product obtained there. Under certain specific conditions, it may not be required that such materials undergo sufficient working or processing.
The operations that are considered as insufficient working or processing to confer the status of originating products are listed in Article 5 of Annex II to the MAR.
Non-originating materials, which, according to the list rules should not be used in the manufacture of a given product, can nevertheless be used provided their value does not exceed 15 % of the ex-works price of the final product.
Compared to the expired Cotonou regime, the MAR rules have been relaxed in the following areas: agriculture (Annex IIa), fisheries and textiles.
Drawback is not prohibited.
A proof of origin is valid for ten months.
When the total value of the imported products does not exceed € 500 in the case of small packages or € 1 200 in the case of products forming part of personal luggage.
A derogation is simply a temporary lessening or relaxation of the law or the rules, therefore allowing preferential treatment to be accorded to products which may not strictly satisfy the criteria for "originating products".
As outlined in the notice OJ L 352 (p. 62) of 31.12.2008 concerning the provisional application of the CARIFORUM-EC EPA, as of 29 December 2008 the rules of origin laid down in Protocol I of the EPA superseded those contained in Annex II of the Market Access Regulation (MAR) regarding exportations from the 14 EPA signatories: Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Christopher and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago.
The specific changes in the list rules are in the following chapters: Ex1806, 2007, 2009, 2106, 2202, 2402, chapters 50 to 59, and 8415. Operators may find the text of the CARIFORUM-EC EPA together with the Protocol on rules of origin here: CARIFORUM-EC EPA.
The full EPA with the SADC EPA States started to be provisionally applied as of 10 October 2016 between the EU and five Southern African Development Community (SADC) states: Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Eswatini. Mozambique ratified the EPA and joined it in February 2018, making the agreement the first regional EPA in Africa to be fully implemented.
Mozambique and Lesotho remain beneficiaries of the ‘Everything But Arms’ scheme under the Generalised System of Preferences of the EU.
Guide on the application of Protocol 1 of the SADC-EU EPA.
Interim EPAs with the following regions are expected to enter into force or be provisionally applied as soon as the ratification procedures in the countries concerned have been completed:
ESA (Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles, Zimbabwe)
Following the submission of the instruments of ratification to the Council Secretariat, the interim EPA with Eastern and Southern Africa started to be provisionally applied as of 14 May 2012 between the EU and Mauritius, Madagascar, Seychelles and Zimbabwe. From the same day, the rules of origin set out in Protocol 1 to that agreement replaced those laid down in Annex II to the Market Access Regulation (MAR). The interim agreement has been published in the Official Journal of the EU No L 111 of 24 April 2012 . Comoros has ratified the interim ESA EPA and it is provisionally applying it since 7 February 2019. Although Zambia initialled the interim ESA EPA, it has neither signed nor ratified it yet and therefore its exports to the EU are governed by the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP).
On 14 January 2020, the EPA Committee adopted Decision No 1/2020 amending certain provisions of Protocol 1 (OJ L 93, 27 March 2020, p. 1-194). The amended Protocol 1 enters into force on 31 March 2020 and replaces in its entirety the current text.
The revised Protocol 1 updates the existing protocol by introducing modern provisions, which reflect current trade and economic realities. The main modifications are the introduction of a new rule on ‘accounting segregation’; the replacement of the provision on ‘direct transport’ by a new rule on ‘non-alteration’; the possibility to use, upon notification to the other Party, exclusively invoice declaration by registered exporters as proof of origin. The list of overseas countries and territories contained in Annex IX has also been updated.
As from 1 September 2020, EU exports to the ESA States shall benefit from the preferential tariff treatment provided for in the interim EPA, upon submission of invoice declarations made out by exporters registered in the EU’s REX system or by any exporter for any consignment whose total value does not exceed EUR 6 000. See Notice 2020/C 176/03.
Derogations from the rules of origin that are currently in force:
PACIFIC (Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands)
The Economic Partnership Agreement is applied provisionally between the EU and Papua New Guinea as from 20 December 2009, and between the EU and Fiji as from 28 July 2014. Samoa has approved provisional application as from 31 December 2018 and Solomon Islands has approved provisional application as from 17 May 2020.
The rules of origin applicable are those laid down in Protocol II of the Economic Partnership Agreement between the EC and the Pacific States. These rules superseded those contained in Annex II of the Market Access Regulation regarding exports from Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Samoa and Solomon Islands. The text of the agreement including the applicable rules of origin.
On 13 March 2008, Papua New Guinea has made a notification to the European Commission in accordance with Article 6(6)(b) of Protocol II to the Agreement. The provisions of this paragraph shall be applicable to imports from Papua New Guinea from 14.5.2010 (see OJ C 125, 13.5.2010, p.8).
On 18 May 2020, Solomon Islands made a notification to the European Commission in accordance with Article 6(6)(b) of Protocol II to the Agreement. The provisions of this paragraph shall be applicable to imports from Solomon Islands from 18 September 2020 (see OJ C 308, 17.9.2020, p.2).
As of 4 August 2014 Cameroon has started to provisionally apply the Economic Partnership Agreement between the EC and Central Africa. In the absence of a protocol on rules of origin in the Agreement, the applicable rules of origin regarding exportations from Cameroon to the EU are those contained in Annex II of the Market Access Regulation. The applicable rules of origin for EU exports to Cameroon are those contained in the Decree No 2016/367 of 3 August 2016: FR.
As of 3 September 2016 Côte d'Ivoire started to provisionally apply the stepping stone Economic Partnership Agreement between Côte d'Ivoire, of the one part, and the European Union and its Member States, of the other part. The Parties adopted on 2 December 2019 a common reciprocal Protocol governing the rules origin for exports between the Parties (Decision 2/2019 of the EPA Committee (OJ L 49, 21.2.2020, p. 1).
Exports from the EU to Côte d'Ivoire shall benefit from the preferential tariff treatment of the EPA upon presentation of an origin declaration made out by any exporter for consignments equal or below EUR 6 000, or by exporters registered in the EU’s REX system for consignments which value exceeds EUR 6 000.
As of 15 December 2016 Ghana started to provisionally apply the stepping stone Economic Partnership Agreement between Ghana, of the one part, and the European Union and its Member States, of the other part. A common reciprocal Protocol governing the rules origin for exports between the Parties is in force since 20 August 2020 (Decision 1/2020 of the EPA Committee, OJ L 350, 21.10.2020, p.1).
Exports from the EU to Ghana shall benefit from the preferential tariff treatment of the EPA upon presentation of an origin declaration made out by any exporter for consignments equal or below EUR 6 000, or by exporters registered in the EU’s REX system for consignments which value exceeds EUR 6 000.
Other interim EPAs have not been applied yet: