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Taxation and Customs Union



What this section contains

There are three parts:

  • Non-preferential origin
  • Preferential origin
  • Customs Unions

If you are not sure what arrangement applies to a particular non-EU country, look first at the list of non-EU countries. Note that some countries may benefit from more than one arrangement. In this case, operators may choose which to use.

It is also pointed out that operators who are unsure about the origin of their goods, or who simply want legal certainty, may always apply for a Binding Origin Information decision ( BOI).

What this section is about: the concept of origin

Origin is the "economic" nationality of goods in international trade. There are two kinds, non-preferential and preferential.

Non-preferential origin confers an "economic" nationality on goods. It is used for determining the origin of products subject to all kinds of commercial policy measures (such as anti-dumping measures, quantitative restrictions) or tariff quotas. It is also used for statistical purposes. Other provisions, such as those related to public tenders or origin marking, are also linked with the non-preferential origin of the products.

Preferential origin confers certain benefits on goods traded between particular countries, namely entry at a reduced or zero rate of duty.

In either case, an important element in determining the origin of goods is their tariff classification. Goods in trade are identified in the Community by a code number in the Combined Nomenclature (CN) and before trying to determine their origin it is essential that their CN code has been identified.

Movement of goods within Customs unions is not based on their originating status but on the fact that they comply with provisions on free circulation. However, some products in trade with the countries concerned do not fall within the scope of the customs union but remain subject to a preferential treatment based on origin.

Binding origin information (BOI)

BOIs are decisions by the competent authorities, which are binding on the holder and on the customs authorities in all Member States in respect of goods imported or exported after their issue, provided the goods and the circumstances determining the acquisition of origin are identical in every respect to what is described in the BOI. They are normally valid for three years from the date of issue.

The legal basis is Articles 33 and 34 of the Union Customs Code Regulation 952/2013.Application should be made in writing to the competent authorities in the Member State in which you are established or in the Member State in which the BOI will be used. . The authorities have 120 days from the date when the application is accepted in which to notify the BOI. A list of the authorities responsible for issuing BOIs is published in OJ C29of 28.01.2017, p.19.

Note that the existence of a BOI does not exempt you from the requirement to provide proof of origin.