Custom duty is one of the powers that have been attributed to the European Union by the Treaties establishing the European Union. The “customs union”, whose main characteristic is the absence of internal borders, constitutes an essential basis of the European Union (art. 28 TFUE). At the external borders, goods from third countries are charged with one Common Custom Tariff, completed by the community’s integrated tariff (TARIC).
Within the framework of the European Union, there are juridical tools that guarantee an uniform application of the rules by the Customs Authorities of the different Member States, for instance The Regulation 952/2013 instituting the Community Customs Code.
The European Union, on its commercial relationships with Non-member States, has signed many Free Trade Agreements. Those, consist on Trade Agreements of regional or bilateral character, whose main aim is to amplify the market of goods and services between participant countries, and to make easier, speed up and promote the commercial transactions between the aforementioned countries . Basically it consists on removing or substantially reducing customs duties and other tariffs. When establishing their international commercial strategy, enterprises ought to take into account, among other aspects, if it exists or not a Free Trade Agreement between the EU and the country in question, and in case of existing, the terms in which it is drafted.
Furthermore, when trading, it is important to take into account the agreements and measures taken by World Trade Organization (WTO). The WTO is the international organization that deals with rules that apply in trade between countries. Their Agreements have a special relevance because, nowadays, more than 150 countries are members of the WTO. The major pillar wherein the WTO rests is the “principle of free trade, opened, equitable and non-discriminatory” of all its members, albeit, in certain circumstances, some exceptions to this principle are authorized: for instance, antidumping measures, the subsides and countervailing duties, embargoes and other emergency measures intended to temporally restrict the imports, intended to “safeguard” the national branches of production; so consequently it is crucial that enterprises checked in advance the existence of this kind of measures at the place of destination of the goods, to avoid unwanted circumstances upon the arrival of the goods to that territory.
In SANCHIS & PARTNERS we advise our Clients about how they should proceed when exporting their goods, according to which exactly is the country of destination of those goods.