Imports of goods from EU/EEA countries

The page was last modified:

The EU has a common market where goods can move freely across borders without customs clearance or customs duties. Therefore for many goods, the EU countries have common rules. For certain goods however, the EU countries have their own national rules. The purpose of the rules is to protect human health and the environment, or safety.

A product manufactured or sold legally in one EU country may be sold in Sweden without further requirements. This is referred to as the principle of mutual recognition.

These rules also apply to trade between the EU countries plus Norway, Iceland, and Lichtenstein, which form the EEA market. However, customs borders and customs controls remain between the EU and the three countries. Thus the customs procedure applies to imports from non-EU countries.

Read more about customs duties on imports from EU countries outside the EU

Handbook for Importing to Sweden

The Handbook for Importing to Sweden is intended for those who plan to start an import business, want to further develop their import activities, or have general questions regarding import. The Handbook for Importing to Sweden is published (in Swedish) by Chamber Trade Sweden.

Read more about the Handbook for Importing to Sweden, on Chamber Trade Sweden’s website

The CE mark and mutual recognition

Goods encompassed within common EU rules on basic health, environmental and safety requirements must be CE marked. No other goods may bear the CE mark. CE-marked goods may be sold without restriction on the EEA market.

Read more about CE marking

When you import goods that are not encompassed within the EU’s common rules, the EEA countries own national rules become applicable. When there are national requirements for a product, the principle of mutual recognition applies. This is based on the trust the countries have for each other that each country’s law fully provides protection for consumers and the environment.

Derogation from the principle of mutual recognition

EEA countries have the right to derogate from the principle of mutual recognition and apply national rules for EEA goods. In such case, the governmental authority in the country must show that the requirement is justified to protect fundamental social interests. Examples include the protection of life and human health, as well as consumer and environmental protection. The governmental authority must provide adequate justification for its decision.

Thus, Swedish public authorities and municipalities can apply their rules and regulations, if such is motivated by the protection of fundamental social interests. If you want to find out about the Swedish rules for various different products, contact the Contact Point For Goods at Kommerskollegium, the National Board of Trade.

Read more about the Contact Point For Goods, on the National Board of Trade’s website

In order for the country to be excepted from the principle of mutual recognition, the measure must be absolutely necessary, proportionate and constitute as minimal as possible trade barrier.

SOLVIT – network for free movement

If you encounter any obstacles with Swedish public authorities when purchasing a product in the EEA, you can obtain free assistance from SOLVIT at the National Board of Trade.

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

You can also contact the National Board of Trade if you need assistance in finding information, or if you want to influence the legislation.

Read more on the National Board of Trade’s website

Import Restrictions

There are special provisions for bringing in certain goods. If a special provision applies, you will need a permit/license or some form of permission to bring the goods into Sweden from another EU country. Examples of such goods include:

The EU regions outside the customs union or EU tax area

When you purchase a product from another country, it is important to determine if the other party is doing business within the EU or not. If the EU region does not belong to the Customs Union, the rules for imports of goods from non-EU countries apply.

Read more about imports of goods from countries outside the EU

If the EU region is not part of the EU tax area, VAT and excise tax rules with the importation from non-EU countries apply.

Read more about VAT with importation from non-EU countries

Read more about excise taxes with importation from non-EU countries

Did you find this information helpful?

Responsible: Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth

Back to top