January 16, 2021
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Customs duties (tariffs)

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Definition

"Customs duties“ ("tariffs“) - although at present the precise definition is not directly enshrined in EU law, on the basis of case law of the Court of Justice of the EU (see cases 2/62 and 3/62, Commission of the European Economic Community v Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and Kingdom of Belgium; cases 52 and 55/65, Federal Republic of Germany v Commission of the EEC; Case 7/68, Commission v. Italy), they are understood as taxes, calculated on the basis of the tariffs to be paid by the importer to the host country, which make the imported product more expensive than a competing domestic product.

The concept of "customs duties" is generally used separately from the broader concept of "tariff trade regulatory measures (methods)", which is broader and includes not only customs duties but also tariff quotas and suspensions from duties.

EU duty tariffs

EU duty tariffs are set out in the Combined Nomenclature (CN), which is an Annex to the Council Regulation (EEC) No 2658/87 on the tariff and statistical nomenclature and on the Common Customs Tariff. CN shall be updated annually and published in the Official Journal of the European Union. In 2021, CN set out in the Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/1577 applies.

The Combined Nomenclature is used to calculate the amount of import/export duties and taxes and to compile the data on goods used in Community trade statistics.