Version: (2021-05-27 14:40)

Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP)

Does your company import products from developing or least developed countries? This section helps you understand the EU’s GSP.

About the GSP

The EU´s current Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) (Regulation (EU) 978/2012) has been applied since 1 January 2014.

The three arrangements of the scheme, the general GSP scheme, the GSP+ incentive scheme, and the Everything but Arms (EBA) scheme are reinforced by adjusting the preferences and ensuring they have a higher impact.

GSP eligible countries are listed in Annex I of the GSP Regulation. Countries which benefit from the new GSP preferences are listed in Annex II. Beneficiaries of Everything but Arms are listed in Annex IV.

How to apply for the special incentive arrangement for sustainable development and good governance, GSP+ is set out in Regulation (EU) No 978/2012 and Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) No 155/2013.

Rules of origin

This section introduces the main rules of origin and the origin procedures of the trade arrangement.

Origin is the 'economic nationality' of traded goods. If you are new to the topic, you can find an introduction to the main concepts in the goods section.

Rules of origin

Your product needs to comply with certain rules that prove its origin in order to qualify for the preferential rate.

Where can I find the rules?

The rules of origin are set out in the following legal documents

Please note that these are comprehensive regulations, which do not concern only origin. However, the Commission's guide for users on GSP rules of origin (The European Union's rules of origin for the GSP: A Guide for Users) includes an unofficial consolidated version of the legal text concerning GSP rules of origin.

Does my product originate in a GSP beneficiary country?

For your product to qualify for the lower or zero preferential tariff under the GSP, it must originate in a GSP beneficiary country. A product is considered to originate in a GSP beneficiary country if it is

  • wholly obtained in a beneficiary country or
  • obtained in a beneficiary country incorporating materials that have not been wholly obtained but have undergone sufficient working or processing, as defined by the product specific rules in Annex 22-03 of Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2015/2446
    Annex 22-03 includes two set of rules: one applicable to Least Developed GSP beneficiary countries, one applicable to all other GSP beneficiary countries.


Examples of the main types of product specific rules in EU trade agreements


You can find the specific rules for your product in My Trade Assistant.

Tips to help you comply with the product specific rules

Additional flexibility is foreseen to help you comply with product specific rules, such as tolerance or cumulation.


In the GSP, the tolerance rule allows the producer to use non-originating materials that are normally prohibited by the product specific rule as long as their net weight or value does not exceed

  • 15% of the weight of the product for agricultural and processed agricultural products falling within Chapters 2 and 4 to 24 of the Harmonized System, other than processed fishery products of Chapter 16
  • 15% of the ex-works price of the product for industrial products other than textiles and clothing

Specific tolerances apply to textiles and clothing classified in Harmonized System Chapters 50 to 63, which are included in Note 6 and Note 7 of Annex A Introductory notes to the list in Annex 22-03.

This tolerance cannot be used to exceed any maximum-value threshold of non-originating materials listed in the product specific rules.


The GSP provides for the following ways of cumulating origin

Group I

  • Cambodia
  • Indonesia
  • Laos
  • Myanmar/Burma
  • the Philippines
  • Vietnam

Group III

  • Bangladesh
  • Bhutan
  • India
  • Nepal
  • Pakistan
  • Sri Lanka

This cumulation enables imported materials from countries in the same group to be counted as originating when used in the manufacture of a product. There are certain special conditions for textile products in Annex 22-05 and certain products that are excluded from regional cumulation listed in Annex 22-04.


A specific derogation may be granted, under specific conditions, in order to allow more relaxed Rules of Origin applicable to specific products originating in specific countries. Such a derogation has been granted to and is currently in place for Cape Verde.

Other requirements

Your product must also comply with all other applicable requirements of the Protocol (such as insufficient working or processing, or non-alteration rule).

Non-alteration rule

Originating products must be transported from the GSP beneficiary country to the EU without being further processed in a third country.

Some operations can be conducted in a third country if the products remain under customs supervision, such as

  • adding or affixing marks, labels, seals or any documentation to ensure compliance with specific domestic requirements of the importing country
  • preserving products in good conditions
  • storage
  • splitting consignments

The customs authorities may request evidence of compliance with the rule, such as

  • contractual transport documents such as bills of lading
  • factual or concrete evidence based on marking or numbering of packages
  • any evidence related to the goods themselves

Duty drawback

Refunding of duties previously paid on non-originating materials used to produce a product that is exported under a preferential tariff is allowed under the GSP scheme.

Origin procedures

How to claim preferential tariff

Exporters and importers have to follow the origin procedures. The origin procedures related to a claim for preferential tariff and the verification by customs authorities are set out in Articles 60 and 70-112 of the Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2015/2447 . They clarify e.g. how to declare the origin of a product, how to claim preferences or how the customs authorities can verify the origin of a product.

Origin declaration

  • No proof of origin is required for imports to the EU when the total value of the consignment does not exceed €500 for small packages or €1,200 for personal luggage

Proofs of origin

Exporters of the beneficiary countries can self-declare that their product is originating by providing a statement on origin that can be made by

A statement on origin is a declaration of origin made by the registered exporter on an invoice, a delivery note, a packing list, or any other commercial document allowing identification of the goods and the exporter. The text of the statement on origin is laid down in Annex 22-07 of Regulation (EU) 2015/2447. For the rules concerning the statement on origin, please refer mainly to Article 92 and Article 93 of that regulation.

After 30 June 2020, the proof of origin to claim preferential tariff treatment under the GSP is a statement on origin issued by exporters who are registered in the beneficiary country in the Registered Exporter System (REX). Form A certificates are no longer accepted after this date.

However, given the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is possible to request a prolonged transitional period. Those countries in which the REX system could not be deployed or used due to the pandemic, may benefit from another extension of the transition period to 31 December 2020, as established by Regulation (EU) 2020/750. For regular updates please check the REX website.

The statement on origin remains valid for 12 months from the date it was made.

Verification of origin

The customs authorities may verify whether a product imported is indeed originating or fulfils other origin requirements. The GSP is based on the following principles

  • verification is based on administrative cooperation between customs authorities of the beneficiary country and the EU
  • checks on the origin of the products are done by the customs authorities of the beneficiary country but if needed, the Commission or EU Member States authorities may participate in such inquiries
  • once the verification is concluded, the authorities of the beneficiary country shall communicate the results to the requesting authorities of the EU Member State who makes the final determination of origin

Product requirements

Technical rules and requirements

Product requirements and trade regimes that goods have to meet to be imported into the European Union.


Search for the specific rules and regulations applicable to your product and its country of origin using My Trade Assistant.

To view requirements for your product you will first have to identify its customs code. If you do not know the customs code, you can search for it with your product's name in the built-in search engine.

Health and safety requirements, Sanitary and Phytosanitary Standards

Learn about the health, safety, sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) standards that goods have to meet in order to be imported into the European Union.


Search for the health, safety and SPS rules applicable to your product and its country of origin in the My Trade Assistant.

Customs clearance documents and procedures

Proof of origin

To qualify for preferential duty rates, products originating in the beneficiary countries of the EU’s GSP must be accompanied by proof of origin. Proof of origin remains valid for 10 months after issue. Proof of origin can be

  • Certificate of origin Form A – issued by the competent authorities in the beneficiary country. The exporter applying for the certificate should be prepared to submit documents proving the originating status of the products concerned. The certificate should be made available to the exporter as soon as the goods have been exported. Nevertheless, exceptionally, a certificate can be issued after export under some conditions.
  • Invoice declaration drafted by the exporter * – for consignments valued €6,000 or less. When filling out an invoice declaration, you should be prepared to submit documents proving the originating status of your products.

* To make an invoice declaration, you should type, stamp or print the following declaration (in English or French) on the invoice, delivery note or other commercial document: " The exporter of the products covered by this document (customs authorisation No ... ) declares that, except where otherwise clearly indicated, these products are of ... preferential origin according to the rules of origin of the Generalised Scheme of Preferences of the European Community". You must sign your invoice declaration by hand.

Other documents

Customs procedures for import and export.

Intellectual Property and Geographical Indications

  • EU rules on
    • Intellectual Property and Geographical Indications
    • EU Intellectual Property policy and developing countries

Trade in Services

Public Procurement


Useful links and documents

Check the specific rules and tariffs that apply to the good that you want to import/export in the My Trade Assistant.

Regulation (EU) No 978/2012 on generalised tariff preferences.

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