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Using similar goods to replace customs special procedure goods

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Using similar goods to replace customs special procedure goods

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Find out how you can use, process or store similar free circulation goods in place of goods that you have declared for a customs special procedure.

You can use similar free circulation goods instead of goods imported to a customs special procedure. This is called equivalence. There are different rules depending on whether you store, process or use your goods.

You cannot use equivalence to offset exports of free circulation goods so you can reduce import bills on non-UK imports for use on the UK market.

When you use equivalence:

  • if you do not re-export your imported goods, it cannot be because your customers have differentiated between your processing and free circulation goods
  • if you’ve applied for authorisation for inward or outward processing as the goods you need are not available in the UK, you cannot use equivalence for UK produced goods

You need to tell us you’ll use equivalence when you apply for a special procedure authorisation.

If you need to use equivalence after we’ve authorised you, you’ll have to apply for an amendment to your authorisation.

Before you start

The equivalent, free circulation goods you’re using need to have the same:

  • 8-digit Tariff commodity code
  • commercial quality
  • technical characteristics

You must also decide whether:

  • you could swap the goods for each other
  • the goods are not noticeably different
  • your customers would accept the difference in goods

Goods with different rules read more here

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