Import of services from EU/EEA countries

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The EU has a common market in which goods, services, persons and capital can move freely across national borders. It should be possible to sell a service sold legally in an EU country in Sweden without additional requirements. This is called the principle of reciprocity.

These rules also apply to trade between the EU countries, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, which make up the EEA market.

The principle of reciprocity

Just like for goods the fundamental principle is that services have to be able to move freely in the EU. Therefore Sweden is not normally able to prevent or set additional requirements for a company that wants to sell a service to you if the company has a licence to sell the service in its country of origin.

There are few common EU rules for individual service industries. Instead there is a general Services Directive that regulates almost 70 per cent of the private services sector.

Exceptions from the principle of reciprocity

The principle of reciprocity applies to the area of services. It is only in some cases that Swedish government agencies or local authorities are able to require that a services company from another EEA country has to follow Swedish rules for service operations to be allowed to sell services in Sweden.

The agency or authority must be able to justify the requirement with regard to the protection of fundamental public interests, such as protection of life and health, consumer protection and environmental protection. The requirements must be necessary and proportionate. They must not impede trade unnecessarily.

Contact point for trade in services

To make it easier for companies selling services in the EEA, each EEA country has a central government website that is called the point of single contact for services. There you will find information about what requirements and licences are applicable in that particular country. In Sweden it is that is the national point of single contact for services. On you can make an electronic application for the licences required to sell services in Sweden.

Read more about the national point of single contact for services under Point of single contact for services

SOLVIT – network for free movement

If you have problems doing business in Sweden because a public authority is acting contrary to EU law, you can get help from SOLVIT. This is an informal network in the EEA that solves obstacles to free movement of goods, services, persons and capital. SOLVIT is free of charge. In Sweden SOLVIT is at the National Board of Trade.

Read more about SOLVIT on the National Board of Trade’s website

Read more about VAT on purchases of services from other EU countries

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Responsible: Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth

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