EU Customs Tariff, A Comprehensive Guide

EU Customs Tariff, A Comprehensive Guide

How to Save Money on EU Customs Tariff: A Comprehensive Guide

If you are importing goods from outside the European Union (EU), you may have to pay customs duty and other taxes. The amount of duty depends on the type and value of the goods, as well as their origin. In this article, we will explain what the EU customs tariff is, how it works, and how you can save money on it.

What is the EU customs tariff?

The EU customs tariff is a common system of import duties that applies to all goods entering the EU from third countries. It is also known as the Common Customs Tariff (CCT) or the Integrated Tariff of the European Communities (TARIC). The EU customs tariff aims to protect the EU market from unfair competition, support the EU’s trade policy, and generate revenue for the EU budget.

The EU customs tariff consists of three main components:
  • The customs duty rate, which is a percentage of the value of the goods or a fixed amount per unit of weight or quantity.
  • The preferential tariff, which is a lower or zero duty rate granted to certain countries or regions that have trade agreements with the EU or benefit from special arrangements.
  • The additional duties, which are applied to certain products to protect specific sectors of the EU economy, such as agriculture, steel, or textiles. These include anti-dumping duties, countervailing duties, safeguard measures, and retaliatory measures.

How does the EU customs tariff work?

To determine the amount of duty you have to pay for your imports, you need to follow these steps:
  • Identify the product code (also known as the TARIC code) of your goods. This is a 10-digit number that classifies your product according to its nature, composition, and function. You can find the product code in the TARIC database or by using the TARIC consultation tool.
  • Check the customs duty rate for your product code in the TARIC database. The duty rate may vary depending on the origin of your goods, so you need to provide proof of origin, such as a certificate of origin or an invoice declaration.
  • Calculate the customs value of your goods. This is usually based on the transaction value, which is the price paid or payable for the goods, plus any costs incurred until the first point of entry into the EU, such as transport, insurance, and commissions. However, in some cases, other methods of valuation may apply, such as the deductive value, the computed value, or the fallback method.
  • Apply any preferential tariff or additional duties that may apply to your goods. For example, if your goods originate from a country that has a free trade agreement with the EU, you may benefit from a lower or zero duty rate. On the other hand, if your goods are subject to anti-dumping duties or safeguard measures, you may have to pay extra charges.

How to save money on EU customs tariff?

There are several ways you can reduce or avoid paying customs duty and other taxes on your imports. Here are some tips:

  • Choose products that have low or zero duty rates. You can use the TARIC database to compare different product codes and find out which ones have lower tariffs.
  • Choose products that originate from countries that have preferential trade arrangements with the EU. You can use the Market Access Database (MADB) to check which countries benefit from reduced or zero tariffs and what conditions they have to meet.
  • Apply for customs relief schemes that allow you to import certain goods duty-free or at a reduced rate. These include inward processing relief (IPR), outward processing relief (OPR), end-use relief, temporary admission relief, and customs warehousing. You can find more information about these schemes on the European Commission’s website.
  • Use a customs agent or broker to handle your imports. They can help you with the classification of your goods, the calculation of your duty liability, and the completion of your customs declarations. They can also advise you on how to optimize your imports and save money on customs duty.

EU Customs Tariff and Global Demand

The EU Customs Tariff is a database that integrates all measures related to EU customs tariff, commercial and agricultural legislation. It aims to facilitate the uniform application of these measures by all Member States and to provide a clear view of the import and export conditions for economic operators. The EU Customs Tariff covers various categories of measures, such as tariff preferences, trade defence instruments, prohibitions and restrictions, and surveillance of goods movements .

The Impact of Tariff Preferences on Global Demand

One of the main categories of measures in the EU Customs Tariff is tariff preferences, which are reductions or exemptions from the normal customs duty for certain products or countries. The EU grants tariff preferences to developing countries, least developed countries, countries that have signed free trade agreements with the EU, and countries that benefit from special arrangements such as the Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) or the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs).

Tariff preferences can have a significant impact on global demand, as they affect the price competitiveness and market access of the products concerned. For example, a study by the European Commission found that the EU’s GSP scheme increased the exports of beneficiary countries to the EU by 6.4% on average, and that the removal of GSP preferences would reduce their exports by 8.9% . Similarly, a study by the World Bank estimated that the EU’s EPAs with African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries would increase their exports to the EU by 13.4% and their total exports by 2.5% .

The Impact of Trade Defence Instruments on Global Demand

Another important category of measures in the EU Customs Tariff is trade defense instruments, which are measures that the EU can impose to protect its domestic industry from unfair trade practices or market distortions caused by foreign producers. The main types of trade defense instruments are anti-dumping duties, countervailing duties, and safeguard measures.

Trade defense instruments can also affect global demand, as they influence the price and quantity of imports and exports in the markets involved. For instance, a study by the European Parliament found that the EU’s anti-dumping measures reduced imports from targeted countries by 30% on average, and increased imports from non-targeted countries by 17%. Moreover, a study by the World Trade Organization (WTO) estimated that global trade would increase by 0.7% if all trade defense measures were eliminated.

The EU Customs Tariff is a complex and comprehensive database that regulates the import and export conditions for goods in the EU. It has various categories of measures that can have significant impacts on global demand, depending on their nature and scope. Therefore, it is important for economic operators to be aware of the EU Customs Tariff and its implications for their trade activities.


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