Since 1st January 2021, trading between the UK and the EU is now based on a new Free Trade Agreement (FTA) – the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA). To benefit from the preferential tariffs (i.e. zero duty) under the TCA, goods will have to meet the Rules of Origin requirements stipulated in the agreement.

Simply put, Rules of Origin are the criteria needed to determine the national source of a product.

Defra EU Rules of Origin Guidance Presentation provides an overview and introduction to Rules of Origin and contains details of some of the product specific rules regarding agricultural goods.

Defra EU Rules of Origin Detailed Business Guidance contains further information on the points covered in the above guidance.

The EU Rules of Origin Sector Guidance document covers some of the most relevant articles in Rules of Origin and provides a summary as well as relatable industry specific examples.

The NI Tariffs Guidance document covers implications for the movement of goods from GB to NI, covering interaction between RoO and 'at risk' register.

Other useful links

Rules to establish the country of origin of imported and exported goods and to help identify those which qualify for lower or nil Customs Duty:

Download detailed guidance documents on the rules of origin requirements under the UK’s deal with the EU (the Trade and Cooperation Agreement).

These documents explain the most important provisions which businesses need to understand and comply with, in order to ensure that they pay zero tariffs when trading with the EU. This applies to both businesses that wish to export goods to the EU at zero tariffs, as well as businesses who wish to import goods from EU at zero tariffs.

If you import or export using a preference agreement or the Generalised Scheme of Preference, you may be able to reduce the duties on your goods:

How to claim preferential rates of duty on goods covered in the UK's deal with the EU and how to declare goods imported into the UK on your import declaration

A FAQ document is available on Defra’s Dropbox Paper page

Rules of Origin webinars

  • Defra webinars on Rules of Origin took place during February and March 2021. See table below detailing sessions provided on the rules of origin for agri-food products. Defra contacts are also provided.

Sector Specific Guidance


At risk goods and UK trader scheme  

Meat and Processed Meat  

Fish and Processed Fish  

Vegetable, fruit and nuts, and prepared veg, fruit and nuts  

At risk goods and UK trader scheme (second session) 

Coffee, tea, spices, miscellaneous  

Animal and vegetable fats and oils  

Cereals and Cereal products  

Dairy, eggs, honey or  


Sugar and chocolate or  

Animal Feed  

Invest NI - EU Exit Webinar: What Rules of Origin means for Northern Ireland Business (Tuesday 2 March 2021) - event video

Recorded webinars are available on


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