Origin and free trade

The European Union and the UK have signed a free trade agreement. This allows products made in the UK to be imported into the EU without import duties, and vice versa. This doesn't mean that everything that goes from the EU to the UK can just go in. You have to prove that the products are actually made in the EU, i.e. of European origin. For example, products made in China and transported to the UK via the EU are not eligible for duty relief.

Trade agreement rules

The trade agreement between the EU and the UK has very precise rules about 1) when goods are eligible for duty relief, and 2) what kind of proof you must submit. For example, the invoice must include a specific statement if you want to use the exemption.

Rules of origin have many pitfalls. Like this one for example. A trader in the Netherlands buys goods from the UK, originally made in France. European goods imported into the EU, meaning no import duties, right?  Think again. If those goods are imported into the UK and then resold to the EU, you do have to pay import duties when importing them into the EU.
Fortunately, however, you can be exempt from import duties if you re-import a shipment. But only if you have sold products to a customer in the UK, but they are rejected by the buyer upon arrival. In this case, you can take those products back to the EU without paying import duties.

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