The preferential origin of the goods must be established by a certificate issued by the customs authorities in the exporting country. This certificate must be produced at the time of customs clearance.
In order for the importer to receive these preferential rates, the exporter must provide proof of the preferential origin of the exported goods in the form of an EUR.1 Movement Certificate or, where applicable, an invoice declaration.
Some agreements refer to the concept of 'importer's knowledge', that is to say, proof of origin must be provided by the importer.
EUR.1 Movement Certificates, which are also referred to as 'EUR.1 preferential origin certificates', must not be confused with the European Community Certificates of Origin (also referred to as 'non-preferential certificates of origin').
Who is concerned
As a general rule, it is up to the exporter to establish the origin of the goods sold by providing an EUR.1 certificate (or an invoice declaration).
Where necessary, the exporter's supplier must also establish the origin of the supplied goods by providing a supplier's declaration.
To be deemed as originating in the European Union (EU), a product must have been obtained in the European Union:
- either in whole (mineral products extracted or vegetable products harvested from the soil);
- or in part, i.e., the materials used were not all obtained in the EU, but were 'sufficiently processed' in accordance with the applicable agreement for the destination of the goods.
How to proceed
Applying for an EUR.1 certificate (EUR.1 preferential certificate of origin)
The exporting business obtains an EUR.1 form from the Masse d'habillement (clothing supply) department of the Customs and Excise Agency (Administration des douanes et accises) and fills it in, specifying:
- that the goods were wholly produced in the European Union; or
- the nature of the processing that confers on the goods their European origin.
The exporting business must then have the EUR.1 form endorsed by the customs office when the goods are ready for export.
Invoice declaration of origin
The preferential certificate of origin can sometimes be replaced by an invoice declaration of origin.
The invoice declaration can be used:
- by all exporters for goods whose value does not exceed EUR 6,000;
- by approved exporters, regardless of the value of the goods. Approved exporter status must be applied for from the Customs and Excise Agency.
Under the Generalised System of Preferences, since 1 January 2021, only invoice declarations issued by registered exporters (REX system) are considered valid.
The contents of the invoice declaration are specified in the appendix to each preferential agreement.
Approved exporter status can be granted to any EU exporter, whether they are a manufacturer, a merchant, an SME or a large group. On the other hand, registered exporter status is only provided for in certain EU preferential agreements
Filing a supplier declaration
When goods have been supplied by a third-party merchant, the exporting business may request a supplier declaration whereby the supplier certifies the origin of the goods and their compliance with the rules of origin governing preferential trade with the destination country. This declaration may be requested by the customs authorities at the time of export.
The supplier declaration may be:
- either a one-time supplier declaration for a single delivery;
- or a long-term supplier declaration (valid for one year), if the supplier regularly delivers the same products manufactured using the same components.
A sample of the declaration to be used can be found in the annex to each preferential agreement.
Authentication of the supplier declaration (INF 4 certificate)
The customs authorities in the exporting country may request an INF 4 information certificate attesting to the authenticity of the supplier declaration.
In that case, the exporting business will need to request the certificate from their supplier, who in turn will apply to the customs authorities of its EU Member State to have its INF 4 certificate validated.
After verification, the certificate will be sent to the supplier within 3 months of the date on which the application was received. The supplier will then forward the certificate to the exporting business, which in turn will forward it to the relevant customs authorities.
If the requested certificate is not produced within 4 months, the customs authorities of the exporting business's Member State may contact the customs authorities of the supplier's Member State directly.
Forms / Online services
Déclaration de fournisseur long terme - origine non préférentielle
Déclaration de fournisseur ponctuelle - origine non préférentielle