The supplier’s declaration is intended to relay information on the preferential origin of products transported within the EC. This is necessary because no certificate of origin, in the sense of the Free Trade Agreement, is required when products are being delivered from France to Germany for example.
(The EU is a customs union; therefore there are no such things as imports or exports as far as products transported within the Community are concerned. Products can be moved within the EU countries without the need for customs checks or clearance.)
If German traders wish to export products to Switzerland with France as the preferential country of origin, they must be able to demonstrate the products’ origin in accordance with the Free Trade Agreement between Switzerland and the EC. For this reason, they will ask the French supplier to provide their own supplier’s declaration, in which the latter will certify the preferential origin of the products. This supplier’s declaration can then be used as the necessary evidence for issuing a certificate of origin in accordance with the Free Trade Agreement between Switzerland and the EC on the export of products to Switzerland.
The supplier’s declaration is only required when the national authority of an EC state (such as the German customs authority) wishes to check a delivery from within the Community.
(Source: Pius Tröndle, Eidg. Oberzolldirektion, Sektion Ursprung, Berne; revised June 2001; a detailed description of the supplier's declaration can be found in the German Federal Revenue Administration’s regulations pack Z 42 14, 53rd lot of 21/11/1994).
German Federal Revenue Administration’s regulations pack
Upstream deliveries – supplier’s declaration – EC
53rd lot, 21/11/94; Z 42 12
(1) Upstream deliveries
(3) – Wording
(4) (6) – Explanation
(7) Long-term declaration/long-term supplier’s declaration
(8) – Signature
(9), (10) Information certificate
(11) Special cases
The party applying for or completing a preference document is responsible for the accuracy of its declaration; this also applies to products it has obtained from a third party. Therefore, the applicant requires details of the manufacturing processes performed on the products they have obtained from a third party and introduced into the Federal Republic of Germany or another Member State of the European Economic Community.
The European Economic Community is classed as a single area for the purpose of all preference rules. Consequently, a product is deemed to have originated in the Community if it was completely manufactured, or was subject to a sufficient level of finishing or processing, in one or more Member States as defined by the relevant preference regulation.
For the sake of simplicity, customs administration bodies have decided against only accepting these details if they have already been confirmed by a customs office or another qualified authority. As a result, Regulation (EEC) No, 3351/81 of 14th November 1983 (see Z413.1; see below) applies to upstream deliveries, allowing declarations from the supplier (supplier’s declarations) to be accepted when issuing or completing preference documents. If the customs office that receives the application for a movement certificate (even in cases such as these and taking the finished product as the starting point) only receives proof of the final stage involved in accounting for the product's origin, then any finishing or processing work carried out prior to this stage may be disregarded.
Consequently, no supplier’s declaration is required, for example, if an applicant is able to prove by some other means that they themselves have completely manufactured or performed a sufficient level of finishing or processing on the products for which they wish to obtain a preference document, even when the goods have been obtained from a third party. In addition, the customs office shall not demand supplier’s declarations in cases where they are already aware of the processes to which the declarations would refer.
The models for the supplier’s declarations are included in Z 4275. The declaration must be made on the commercial invoice or a sheet attached to this, on another form of commercial document, or on a pre-printed form in one of the official languages of the Community to ensure there is no doubt about which product is being referred to by the declaration.
The Member State(s) in which the relevant products were manufactured should always be specified in the supplier’s declaration. The Federal Republic of Germany also accepts supplier’s declarations that merely specify the Community (EEC) as opposed to the specific countries concerned. In addition, supplier’s declarations may be submitted and accepted for goods which have been previously imported from a partner state with a preference document (see footnotes to the models in Z 4275, Columns 15 to 34) and for products whose originating status has already been established in line with Z 4005 ff.
The declarations must refer to the particular agreement containing the preference regulation that can be applied; details of more than one agreement can be entered if their origin criteria have been satisfied. Where alternative value rules are used (Z 42 71, Column 4), the EEC can only be entered in conjunction with one or more EFTA states. The various international vehicle codes or the ISO standard code can be used instead of the full agreement name (see preliminary note 8.6 on DgebrZT – the German Customs tariff).
It is only necessary to enter the value in declarations for products without preferential origin if the rules for using the term “originating products” stipulate specific values in terms of a proportion of the whole. Here, the value can either be expressed in terms of a percentage or as an amount.
Supplier’s declarations can also be issued for deliveries made over longer periods, provided that the period involved does not exceed one year (long-term supplier’s declaration). Such declarations shall only be accepted where the manufactured products are obtained from the same upstream supplier under the same conditions over a longer period (for example, as part of an annual supplier contract). These declarations must contain the precise designation for the products to which they refer. As far as Paragraph 4, Clause 3 is concerned, preference documents must be available for the products when they are supplied.
Anyone to whom a long-term declaration is returned after a movement certificate has been issued, or who has been given permission to use a movement certificate dealt with previously, must ensure that the declaration is neither obsolete nor out-of-date.
Supplier’s declarations must be signed by hand. The only permissible exceptions are electronic supplier’s declarations when the responsible person or body can be identified on the basis of the supplier’s declaration.
Where there are doubts as to the authenticity of the supplier’s declaration or the accuracy of the details it contains, the customs office shall demand an INF 4 information certificate from the exporter. The model for the information certificate and associated application form are included in Z 4275. The onus is on the exporter to ask the supplier to apply to the relevant customs office for an information certificate. If a preference document is checked (see Z 42 15) and the supplier’s declarations were accepted at the time of its issue, an information certificate shall only be requested if it is required as proof of originating status. Thorough checking shall not be required within this context if the results of checks made on specific individual processes in order to evaluate the quality of the evidence justify the assumption that no problems are to be expected in those areas that have not been checked. A suitable period of time should be allowed for obtaining information certificates, with scope for this period to be extended. Once this period has expired, any supplier's declarations that are due to be checked for accuracy can no longer be taken into account.
The customs office responsible for the office or place of domicile of the supplier is to issue the information certificate at the supplier’s request. The information certificate shall be delivered to the supplier. The supplier can decide whether to submit the information certificate to the exporter or whether, in the interests of protecting trade secrets, it should be sent directly to the customs office which the exporter has asked to issue a movement certificate. The application is kept by the issuing customs office for two years (see also Z 28 01).
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When preference documents are issued in Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, the ACP countries (African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States) and overseas countries and regions, originating status can be awarded for products that originate within the Community and finishing or processing stages that are carried out in the Community (see Z 42 40, Paragraphs 20 and 22, and Z 42 47, Paragraphs 9 and 11). As a result, these countries will accept supplier’s declarations from suppliers within the Community or information certificates issued by customs offices in the Community (for wording and model, see Z 42 75, Columns 35 and 37 and 57 to 60).