Taxation and Customs Union

United Kingdom

Guidance on the application of the TCA: preferential treatment and rules of origin 

Following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, the EU and the UK have begun a new and ambitious relationship, serving as a cornerstone for future trade relations. The EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA), which provisionally entered into force on 1 January 2021, provides for zero tariffs and zero quotas on all trade of EU and UK goods that comply with the appropriate rules of origin.

Rules of origin are an important aspect of any free trade agreement such as the TCA. Yet while the requirements and procedures for claiming preferential treatment can be complex, without them zero-tariff trade cannot be guaranteed for the bilateral exchanges of EU and UK goods.

To assist EU businesses importing from and exporting to the UK, the European Commission has actively engaged with Member States and industry to develop a range of guidance on preferential treatment, rules of origin and customs procedures within the framework of the new relationship with the UK. This guidance aims to be comprehensive and accessible for all traders.

Rules of origin of the TCA

  • For a general understanding of the rules of origin of the EU-UK TCA, the Introduction to Rules of Origin will provide an overview of the various rules of origin elements to be taken into consideration when importing or exporting to or from the UK.
  • For detailed guidance on the TCA rules and origin procedures, the Guidance on TCA Section II: origin procedures provides a detailed presentation and commentary of the relevant legislation.

Use of UK distribution centres

Overview guidance

The Commission has also put together a compendium of questions and answers received on matters relating to the TCA rules of origin. Organised by topic (identification of the exporter, importer’s knowledge, statement on origin, supplier’s declaration, distribution centres etc.), the compendium addresses real business concerns and explains how the rules apply in a specific case. Please note that the compendium is illustrative of specific business cases and that the answers provided are given on a case-by-case basis.

For further assistance relevant to your individual case, we invite you to contact your national customs administration.