Paying Duties - Tariffs and Preferential Agreements

Duty charges are set by the destination country and depend on the type of goods, where they come from and their value.

You can check the duty applying to any product entering the EU market at the EU TARIC consultation database or the EU Export Helpdesk.

Botswana firms can zero-rate most goods exported to the EU. This is called ‘preferential duty’ and there are currently three schemes a business from Botswana can apply for: Generalized Scheme of Preferences (GSP), the Market Access Regulation or EU-SADC Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). These trade arrangements with the EU allow you to export at lower or zero duty rates if you prove where the goods originally come from. For this, you must:

Once you enter the EU market (any of the 28 countries) your goods are in free circulation and you do not have to pay duties on them when they cross from country to country.
Example:  You bring a container of leather bags from Botswana into the UK and pay duty on them. They are now in free circulation. You can buy the leather bags and dispatch them to France, Germany, Italy or Spain without paying duties on them.


Where Botswana has a trade agreement in place you can claim relief through a ‘trade preference’ to pay less or no duty. But, there are rules around eligibility for trade preferences.

The rate of duty and the relief depends on the:

  • type of goods
  • country the goods are being exported to
  • country the goods originate in as set by the ‘rules of origin’

To claim a trade preference you need to:

  • get the correct commodity code for your goods
  • make sure your goods comply with the rules of origin
  • be able to provide proof of where your goods came from (certificate of origin)
  • make sure you comply with transport rules

Use the EU Export Helpdesk to calculate the duties applying to your product.


  • Go to Click on “My export”. Fill in the form including, product’s code, country of origin (Botswana), country of destination (EU country to intend to access) and date (the date you foresee your container to reach the EU border). Click on “search”. The information on the EU duties applying to your product appears under the “Tariffs” tab. The first row on the table states the erga omnes/MFN tariff –tariff applying to any country. If you benefit from a preferential duty, it will appear on a second row specifying the tariff and the agreements applying (either EPA or GSP). Click on the agreement applying to your case to find out the rules to fulfil to benefit from this preferential duty.
  • If your product is exempted from payment of Customs duties, before exporting, you will need prior approval by BURS and a relevant Exemption Certificate. Check the BURS for further information on taxation, customs and excise landscape in Botswana. Contact BURS offices here.