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Taxation and Customs Union

The Overseas Countries and Territories (OCT)


The EC grants unilateral trade preferences to the OCTs. These are constitutionally linked to four of the Member States (Denmark, France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom).

a) General introduction

The OCTs are not part of the Community territory. They are constitutionally linked to four of the Member States (Denmark , France , the Netherlands and the United Kingdom). The founding Treaty, the 1957 Treaty of Rome, provides for the associate status of these countries or territories.

The purpose of this association is to promote the economic and social development of the OCTs and to establish close economic relations between them and the Community as a whole. The European Community grants unilateral trade preferences to all products originating in the OCTs. The rules of origin stipulate the conditions under which this preferential access is to be enjoyed by the beneficiary countries.

For general information on OCTs you may consult the website of DG Development.

b) Legal framework

Annex III to Council Decision No. 2001/822/EC of 27 November 2001 (OJ L 314, 30.11.2001 p. 35) and Appendix 2 to Annex III (OJ L 324, 7.12.2001).

c) Specific provisions

NOTICE: These 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 too.

Originating status

In the case of processing in two or more OCTs the products will be considered as originating in the OCT where the last working or processing took place, provided that the working or processing exceeds insufficient working or processing operations.


For the purpose of defining the concept of origin, the territories of the OCTs are considered as one territory. This means that if a manufacturer in an OCT uses materials from one or more other OCTs, the materials are treated no differently from those obtained in the OCT in which he manufactures his products.

Cumulation with ACP and EC

Bilateral cumulation, diagonal cumulation and full cumulation are applicable.

Cumulation does not apply to agricultural products (HS Chapter 1 to 24) originating in the EC and covered by an export refund system.

Special provisions apply on products falling within HS Chapter 17 and some tariff headings of HS Chapters 10 and 18

Minimal operations

The operations that are considered as insufficient working or processing to confer the status of originating products are listed in Article 5 to Annex III to Council Decision 2001/822/EC of 27 November 2001 (OJ L 314, 30.11.2001 p. 35)

General tolerance rule

Non-originating materials can be used provided their value does not exceed 15 % of the ex-works price of the final product.

No drawback rule

Drawback is not prohibited.

Proof of origin

  • a movement certificate EUR.1 or
  • a declaration given by an approved exporter or by any exporterprovided that the total value of the products does not exceed € 6 000
Validity of proof of origin

The period of validity is ten months.

Exemption from proof of origin
  • 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".

The Member State or the relevant authorities of the OCTs concerned shall notify the Community of its request for derogation together with the reasons for the request. Decisions are in principle taken by the Commission.

Derogations are normally valid for a period of five years.

Derogations that are currently in force:

  • lobster from Saint-Pierre and Miquelon (OJ L 243, 27.9.2003, p. 106), valid until 30.9.2008
  • meat of scallops from Saint-Pierre and Miquelon (OJ L 197, 28.7.2005, p. 31) valid until 31.7.2012
  • fishery products from Saint-Pierre and Miquelon (OJ L 76, 16.3.2007, p.32) valid until 31.3.2013
  • fisheries products from the Falkland Islands (OJ L 310, 28.11.2007, p. 19), valid until 30.11.2012