Trade with non-EU countries

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The 27 EU member countries have a customs union with a common external border. You must arrange customs clearance of all products that you export to or import from countries outside the EU’s customs union.

You always have to file a customs declaration. Export or import licences are required for some products. As an importer, you have to pay customs duty and declare VAT. The same rules apply throughout the EU.

Customs union

EU countries have common customs rules and common tariffs. This means that goods imported into one EU country circulate freely. The transition to free circulation gives goods the same customs status as union goods and the goods can move freely without obstacles in the customs territory.

In the case of services there is no customs procedure. But a licence may be required to perform or offer services in non-EU countries.

Free trade agreements

The EU has signed free trade agreements with many countries. The content of these agreements varies, and their scope may vary. They can cover services, customs preferences, market access, intellectual property and so on.

In a free trade area countries keep their customs rules and tariffs. Goods must therefore meet certain rules of origin to have access to a lower customs duty/exemption from customs duty in a free trade agreement.

Certificate of origin

All free trade agreements have rules about how to determine what is called the ‘economic origin’ of a product. If the rules of origin requirements have been met, this must be proved by a certificate or similar. One common certificate is the certificate, which is used to access favourable, generally wholly duty-free, rates of duty in the importing country.

Read more about the certificate on the website of Sweden’s Chambers of Commerce (in Swedish)

Read more about rules of origin for imports on the website of the Swedish Customs (In Swedish)

Read more about rules of origin for exports on the website of the Swedish Customs

Alongside the rules of origin in free trade agreements there are general rules of origin that are used for trade statistics, protective tariffs and other protective measures in international trade. It is the chambers of commerce that issue certificates under the general rules of origin.

Read more about general rules of origin on the website of Sweden’s Chambers of Commerce (in Swedish)

Read more about the economic origin of products on the website of the National Board of Trade (in Swedish)

Special customs controls of import of products

The Swedish Customs is responsible for the customs procedure and for collecting customs duty, tax and other charges. But they also have the right to stop counterfeit products and products that have serious safety defects.

Read more about intellectual property and stopping counterfeit products on the website of the Swedish Customs (in Swedish)

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Responsible: Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth

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