If you import goods from the European Union you may already have come across REX, the system for registered exporters.
REX allows EU-based companies to self-certify the origin of their goods. And origin matters because it determines the duties that apply to any particular good.
REX therefore streamlines the export by allowing registered exporters to declare their products’ origin without expensive certification processes. It decreases the legwork needed for a buyer to receive exported goods – despite some early scepticism after its introduction on 1 January 2017.
But with so much legalese, jargon and convoluted terminology to navigate – ‘GSP beneficiary country’, ‘economic operators’, ‘OAD’, ‘origin form’ – it’s little wonder the REX system can seem unclear.
That’s where we can help. clearBorder, the leading independent trading consultancy and training service, has decades of combined experience helping companies improve their trading operations. The gains are significant: you can save time and resources, ensure compliance and scale your cross-border operations sustainably, without adding to risk.
This article is your one-stop guide to all things REX. In it, we’ll examine the system in more detail, explore the way it works and how it’s applied, and provide the information you need to know since the UK’s exit from the EU.
The REX system is a self-certification process whereby an exporter gains the ability to declare the origin of exported goods without the need for shipments to be independently verified.
In the words of the European Commission, REX is:
“A system of certification of origin of goods based on a principle of self-certification. The origin of goods is declared by economic operators themselves by means of so-called statements on origin. To be entitled to make out a statement on origin, an economic operator has to be registered in a database by his competent authorities.”
Once the competent authorities register exporters within the REX database, that economic operator becomes known as a ‘registered exporter.’
The REX system is understood to mean the certification of origin system in a general sense, not only the behind-the-scenes IT system used to register exporters. At the time of writing the REX system is used by EU exporters in conjunction with:
Both in a wider enterprise sense and as the term relates to REX system exporters, an ‘economic operator’ is defined as a business or organisation supplying goods or services within the context of market operations.
According to UK government guidance, “Authorised economic operator (‘AEO’)” status is an internationally recognised designation. It shows your business’s role in the international supply chain is secure and has customs control procedures that meet Authorised Economic Operator standards and criteria. AEO status is not a requirement under REX.
In public procurement, ‘economic operator’ is used to generally cover companies that operate as suppliers, contractors and service providers.
The EU’s GSP, or Generalised Scheme of Preferences, is a legislative concept that effectively removes import duties for goods and products which enter the EU market from “vulnerable developing countries.” By granting preferential tariff treatment in this way, the EU’s GSPs – and GSPs in general – aim to reduce poverty and create jobs based on “international values and principles.”
Generalised Schemes of Preferences can be broken into three categories: Standard GSP (pertaining to eleven countries), GSP+ (pertaining to eight), and EBA (Everything But Arms; pertaining to 46 nations). A full list of GSP beneficiary countries can be found on the European Commission website.
Aside from the EU, the following countries also grant their own version of a GSP:
The REX IT system was developed by the European Commission and is available for use by member nations of the EU, GSP beneficiary countries and Overseas Countries and Territories (‘OCT’s’). It is a web-based application so all you need is an internet-enabled device.
REX IT splits into three main branches.
In order to obtain registered exporter status and receive a REX number, organisations must first apply. This can be done using the REX IT system via an application form, which must then be submitted to the relevant competent authorities.
Having been certified as a registered exporter, an organisation is obliged to maintain its own relevant details. This would include communication of “all changes on his registered data.” The competent authorities then carry out the modifications within the REX system.
In exceptional circumstances – for example, if a registered exporter commits fraud or ceases to exist – registered exporter status may be withdrawn. The specific context surrounding the revocation determines whether this is performed upon request or independently by the competent authorities.
It’s also worth knowing that the registered exporter’s data is kept, stored, and freely available to view on the registered exporter database. This allows economic operators to verify the authenticity of any REX number it chooses to investigate.
However, a registered exporter may decide that he would prefer “all his registered data” not to be published. In this case, the organisation’s REX number and date of validity/revocation are published regardless, as this is the minimum amount of information necessary to validate authenticity.
There are five stated scenarios under which the REX system is applied within the European Union. They are as follows:
The REX system has been applied to OCTs in the context of the OAD, or the Overseas Association Decision ([EU] 2021/1764), since 1 January 2020.
The OAD does not allow for a transition period for the application of a REX number by the OCTs. For this reason, tariff preference is given at the point of import into the European Union on goods originating in the OCT only upon the presentation of statements on origin made by a registered exporter. EUR.1 certificates of origin are no longer acceptable.
An OCT has to meet two criteria in order to make a successful application for a REX number. It must:
Norway, Switzerland and Turkey have very similar rules to those listed above within their own GSPs, and therefore, the REX system is applicable in the GSPs of those countries.
For the year following the UK’s departure from the EU (31 January 2020), HMRC permitted an easement for customs documentation. This meant that a statement of origin was unnecessary in order to claim a 0% (preferential) rate of duty for products imported from the EU. However, this period ended at the end of 2021, meaning EU suppliers now require a REX number.
This might affect your trading operation in the following ways:
If you’d like further guidance on the REX system – or any of the other cross-border processes your organisation is involved in – you’re in the right place. clearBorder is committed to giving companies just like yours the knowledge to trade with confidence, with accessible training designed by industry experts and personalised consultancy services designed to grow your operations and ensure your compliance with all the relevant legislation.
Contact us now to discuss your operation, get your team border-ready, and begin trading seamlessly across borders.