Preferential origin of goods

Preferential origin of goods - what is it and how to document it?

The preferential origin of goods allows you to reduce and, in some cases, exempt you from paying customs duties. What exactly is it and how to document it?


Origin can be understood as the economic nationality of a product.

If you want to import or export a given product outside the country it comes from, you must clearly define its origin. It seems simple, but it is not always so. Why?

Because not every product is 100% produced in a given country. For example, these may be creams whose ingredients were imported from Thailand or Korea, or clothes whose production was in Turkey, with labelling and branding in Poland.

Here, rules of origin are helpful, and in fact necessary, as they enable determining the correct country of origin of the goods. There are two types of origin: preferential and non-preferential. In this article we will focus on the former.

IMPORTANT! All internationally traded goods must have their country of origin identified when they are presented for customs clearance.


Preferential origin of goods is a system introduced in the European Union that facilitates international trade with third countries. It allows for the use of preferential, lower customs duties, and in some cases even exemption from this duty when importing to the EU. It all depends on the goods and contracts signed with third countries.

How to determine whether a given product will be subject to preferential rates?

It is necessary to meet specific criteria (preferential rules of origin of goods). It is impossible to list them because they vary depending on the country, product and international agreement.

As a general rule, products that have been 100% produced in a given country (which has an agreement with the EU) or have been “sufficiently” processed to qualify as originating in a given country will be subject to a preferential rate.

We are aware that determining the origin of the goods may be a problem for many people, so if you have any questions, we invite you for a consultation. And if you want to learn how to determine your country of origin yourself, we recommend our training on this topic.


The document confirming the preferential origin of the goods is a certificate. It is issued by the customs and tax authorities of the country from which the goods are imported or exported. The document must include information such as:

  • consignor’s and consignee’s details
  • customs tariff code
  • data regarding the goods: quantity, weight, description of the goods

The principles of tariff classification are also important for preferential origin. In practice, to benefit from preferential duty rates, goods must meet both the appropriate rules of preferential origin and be correctly classified in accordance with the tariff classification rules.

The certificate of preferential origin of goods, also known as the EUR.1 movement certificate, is not the only option to confirm the origin of goods. Depending on the contract, this may be an invoice declaration (exporter’s own declaration) or the use of the REX system.

IMPORTANT! The rules of preferential origin of goods apply to both importers to the EU and exporters.

And if you are wondering whether your goods should be subject to preferential rates, write to us! We have been supporting entrepreneurs in international trade for over 30 years.

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