Description

The EU-Central America Association Agreement (Costa Rica, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras and Panama) was signed on 29 June 2012. The trade part of this agreement has been applied in Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama since August 2013, since 1 October 2013 in Costa Rica and El Salvador and since 1 December 2013 in Guatemala.

The Association Agreement consists of three pillars: political dialogue, cooperation and trade. The EU’s central trade policy objectives for Central America are to increase bilateral trade and use it to strengthen the process of regional integration between the region's countries. In practical terms this means the creation of a customs union and economic integration in Central America.

See also:

Highlights of the trade pillar of the Association Agreement with Central America


Rules of Origin

Tolerance

Toleranceis fixed at 10% of the ex-work price of the product for all products, except for textile and clothing, for which specific tolerance will apply (cf. Appendix I)

See also: General rule of Tolerance or De Minimis

Cumulation

For the implementation of this agreement, the conditions for fulfilling the applicable rules can be established through different Central American countries.

In addition, this agreement provides for:

  • Bilateral cumulation with the EU
  • diagonal cumulation between Central America and Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru or Venezuela, under some conditions (cf. Article 3 paragraphe 4).
  • In addition, upon request from a Central American country or the EU, diagonal cumulation could be granted for materials originating in Mexico, South American or Caribbean Countries, under some conditions (Article 3, paragraphs 8 to 12)

See also: General rule of Cumulation

Direct transport

Evidence of the direct transport will have to be brought to the customs authorities of the importing country

See also: General rule of Direct transport or Non-Manipulation

Duty drawback

Duty drawback is authorized

See also: General rule of Duty drawback

Vessels conditions

The EU rules of origin make a distinction between fish captured within the territorial seas of the partner country and fish captured beyond. In the first case, the product will be considered as originating without additional conditions. In the second, the product will be considered as originating only if it was captured by vessels:

  • which are registered in a Member State of the European Union or in a Republic of the CA Party in accordance with the domestic legislation of each Party;
  • which sail under the flag of a Member State of the European Union or of a Republic of the CA Party; and
  • which meet one of the following conditions:
    • they are at least 50 per cent owned by nationals of the Member States of the European Union or of the Republics of the CA Party; or
    • they are owned by companies :
      • which have their head office and their main place of business in a Member State of the European Union or in a Republic of the CA Party, and
      • which are at least 50 per cent owned by a Member State of the European Union or a Republic of the CA Party, public entities or nationals thereof.

Product specific rules of origin

Product specific rules can be found in Appendix 2. Nevertheless, for some products, additional flexibilities are offered for determining if a product is originating from Central America. These flexibilities can be found in Appendix IIA.


Proofs of Origin

To qualify for preferential duty rates at the EU border, products originating in Central America must be accompanied by either:

  • a Movement Certificate EUR.1 - issued by the competent authorities of the exporting country. The exporter (or authorised representative) applying for a certificate must be prepared to submit documents proving the originating status of the products concerned on request, and fulfil the other requirements of the Rules of Origin Protocol, or
  • an invoice declaration – issued by any exporter, for consignments valued €6 000 or less, or by approved exporters, for consignments of any value.

When filling in an invoice declaration, you should be prepared to submit documents proving the originating status of your products, and fulfil the other requirements of the Protocol on Rules of Origin.

To make an invoice declaration, you should type, stamp or print the following declaration (in the appropriate language) 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.

You can find the different language versions together with explanatory notes in the second page of the invoice declaration. If you write the declaration by hand, you must do so in ink using printed characters.

You must sign your invoice declaration by hand.

If you are an approved exporter, you are exempt from this requirement provided you give your customs authorities a written undertaking that you accept full responsibility for any invoice declaration identifying you.

To become an approved exporter, you must be able to satisfy your customs authorities that you are able to prove the originating status of your products, as well as any other requirements they may impose.

The customs authorities can withdraw your approved exporter status if you abuse it in any way. To find out more about the procedures, contact your customs authorities.

Proof of origin remains valid for 12 months

Further details