Trade preferences reduce or remove rates of duty (tariffs) on imports from eligible developing countries into the UK.
Eligible developing countries can get trade preferences through the UK Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP).
Download the UK Generalised Scheme of Preferences (ODS, 571KB) to check which goods are eligible.
The UK GSP has 3 frameworks:
- Least Developed Countries Framework
- General Framework
- Enhanced Framework
The UK GSP frameworks
Least developed countries framework
This framework is for countries that the UN classifies as Least Developed Countries. Imports from these countries have quota-free access and nil rates of import duty on all goods other than arms and ammunition.
- Burkina Faso
- Central African Rep
- Congo, Democratic Rep
- São Tomé & Príncipe
- Sierra Leone
- Solomon Islands
- South Sudan
Note on Cambodia
Cambodia currently still receives quota-free access and nil rates of import duty on all goods other than arms and ammunitions under the UK GSP. The UK will continue to raise human rights issues with the Government of Cambodia and continue to monitor the situation
This framework is for countries that the World Bank classifies as low-income and lower-middle income countries.
Imports from these countries have reduced rates of import duty on certain goods outlined in the UK GSP tariff rates.
- Cook Islands
Kenya and Vietnam have signed trade agreements with the UK, however they may still receive GSP market access during the transition to their new trade arrangement.
This framework is for countries that are:
- classified by the World Bank as low-income and lower-middle income countries
- economically vulnerable due to a lack of export diversification and a low level of integration with the international trading system
They must also implement 27 conventions relating to:
- human and labour rights
- the environment
- good governance
Imports from these countries have a nil rate of import duty on certain goods outlined in the UK GSP tariff rates.
- Cape Verde
- Sri Lanka
Rules of origin
To receive GSP rates of import duty, goods must originate from a GSP country. Rules of origin are the criteria which establish the country of origin of imported goods.
A list of operations which should be carried out on materials to gain originating status can be found in The Customs (Origin of Chargeable Goods: Trade Preference Scheme) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020.
Importers will have to pay import duty at the full (non-GSP) rate, if checks carried out by HMRC reveal that the goods do not satisfy the GSP rules of origin.
Derogations from the rules of origin
A derogation can allow more relaxed rules of origin to specific goods originating in specific countries.
A derogation may be granted where:
- factors temporarily deprive a GSP country of the ability to comply with the rules of origin, where they could do so previously
- a GSP country requires time to prepare itself to comply with the rules of origin.
A derogation is time limited, for example; for the length of time needed for the GSP country to comply with the rule of origin.
A derogation request should be made by the GSP country, in writing, to the Secretary of State. It should state the reasons why the derogation is requested and should contain supporting documents.
Cumulation is when materials originating from specific countries can be incorporated in the products from a GSP country and then considered as originating in that GSP country. This can occur as long as the processing done in the GSP country goes beyond minimal levels.
The UK cumulation arrangements include:
- cumulation with the EU, Norway and Switzerland
Materials falling within Chapters 1 to 24 of the Harmonized System which originate from Norway or Switzerland are not covered by cumulation.
The UK will continue to permit materials from the EU, Norway and Switzerland to be further processed or incorporated in a finished product in a GSP beneficiary country.
The UK GSP replicates the effects of the EU non-manipulation rule. Therefore, goods entering the UK via the EU, as a transit country, may still be eligible for GSP preferences under the UK GSP. See regulation 20 of The Customs (Origin of Chargeable Goods: Trade Preference Scheme) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 for more information.
Goods that meet the UK GSP rules of origin requirements are eligible to claim a GSP rate of import duty on the basis of a valid proof of origin. A valid proof of origin must be either of the following:
- a GSP Form A - which does not need to be stamped and signed by an authority designated by the GSP country: you can submit a copy
- an origin declaration – which must include information to enable the identification of an originating good
For goods released for free circulation in the UK up to 12 months after 31 December 2020, HMRC will accept a Registered Exporter System (REX) statement on origin as proof that goods originate from a GSP country.
The REX statement on origin must:
- contain, where applicable, the valid REX registration number of the exporter
- be dated no later than 31 December 2020
For further information, please see GSP customs co-operation requirements
Suspending GSP rates
When a country no longer meets the relevant eligibility requirements it will be removed from the relevant GSP framework. The UK will provide a graduation period of at least 3 years before removing a country from the relevant framework. This is known as country graduation. A country will enter another GSP framework if it meets the relevant requirements.
Trade arrangement suspension
GSP rates may be suspended for countries once they implement a new trade agreement with the UK, which provides them with equivalent or better preferential market access than the GSP. Find out which countries have agreed a trade agreement with the UK.
Please read further information on countries that have been suspended from receiving preferential rates of import duty under the GSP.
Preferential rates of import duty may be suspended on a specific product group that is already highly competitive without trade preferences. This is known as goods graduation.
The UK’s first list of graduated goods is valid until the end of 2022. The next list of graduated goods will take effect in 2023. It will be reviewed every 3 years and published on this page.
Find out which goods will be graduated under the UK GSP. This list will apply until the end of 2022.
You can find out more about trade preferences in Section 10 and Schedule 3 of the Taxation (Cross Border Trade) Act 2018.
You can find out more on trade preference scheme regulations at:
Contact us if you have a question about the UK’s GSP.