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Taxation and Customs Union

The Overseas Countries and Territories (OCT)

The Union grants unilateral trade preferences to the OCTs. These are constitutionally linked to three of the Member States (Denmark, France, the Netherlands).

The OCTs are not part of the Union territory. They are constitutionally linked to three of the Member States (Denmark, France and the Netherlands). 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 Union as a whole. The European Union 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 OCTs.

For general information on OCTs you may consult that page.

For the trade preferences granted by the OCTs to products originating in the Union please consult this table.

Legal framework

Annex II to Council Decision (EU) 2021/1764 of 5 October 2021 (OJ L 355, 7.10.2021 p. 6).

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 EPA (Economic Partnership Agreement) States and the EU

Bilateral cumulation, diagonal cumulation and full cumulation are applicable.

Cumulation with EPA States does not apply to:

  • materials originating in South Africa that do not benefit from duty free quota free access in the framework of the SADC EPA

Cumulation with GSP countries

Cumulation with countries benefiting from duty-free quota-free access to the Union under the Generalised System of Preferences.

This cumulation shall not apply to:

  • materials from counties which are subject to antidumping or countervailing duties;
  • certain tuna products classified under Harmonised System Chapters 3 and 16
  • materials to which safeguard or surveillance measures apply

Extended cumulation

The Commission may grant, at the request of an OCT, cumulation of origin with a country with which the Union has a free trade agreement in force.

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 II to Council Decision (EU) 2021/1764.

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 statement on origin made out by a registered exporter or
  • a statement on origin made out by any exporter provided that the total value of the products does not exceed € 10 000

Validity of proof of origin

The period of validity is twelve 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 Union 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.