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Developing Countries Trading Scheme launched


Published: 20 Jun 2023 Update History

The new Developing Countries Trading Scheme replaces the UK Generalised System of Preferences.

On 19 June 2023, the Developing Countries Trading Scheme (DCTS) replaced the UK Generalised System of Preferences (UK GSP). The scheme has been designed to improve access to the UK market for developing countries.

The DCTS applies to countries that previously benefitted from the UK GSP. This includes 47 countries in the GSP Least Developed Countries (LDC) Framework. It also includes 18 additional countries or territories classified by the World Bank as low income countries (LICs) and lower middle income countries (LMICs).

The scheme provides duty-free, quota-free trade to LDCs on everything but arms. It also provides duty-free, quota-free trade on 85% of eligible goods to most LICs and LMICs.


  • reduces tariffs;
  • liberalises rules of origin requirements; and
  • simplifies the conditions attached to the scheme.

Detailed guidance on using the scheme can be found here.

There is no transition period from the UK GSP to the DCTS. However, there will be a grace period to allow the use of UK GSP documents to claim preference for goods that qualify for a preferential duty rate under UK GSP and DCTS. HMRC will accept a UK GSP proof of origin issued before 19 June 2023 provided the goods are released to free circulation in the UK on or before 31 December 2023.

For DCTS qualifying products that are in a customs warehouse or in transit on 19 June 2023, HMRC will accept a UK GSP proof of origin issued before 19 June 2023, provided the goods are released to free circulation in the UK on or before 31 December 2023.

To claim DCTS on the Customs Declaration Service (CDS), the declaration to free circulation should include the following data elements:

  • DE 2/3 – either 9001 (origin declaration) or N865 (Form A)
  • DE 4/17 – a code from the 200 series of preference codes.

Further reading

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