January 30, 2022
en lt
Customs duties (tariffs)

Adobe Stock

What is customs duty?

Customs duty is a tax imposed on goods upon their entry (import) or exit (export) from the customs territory. Import duty means customs duty payable on the import of goods. Export duty means customs duty payable on the export of goods. Upon importation, the goods might be subject to other taxes as well, which, in the EU, are import VAT and import excise tax.

What are the types of customs duties?

There are several types of customs duties: 

  • The ‘normal’ duty or MFN duty. World Trade Organization (WTO) member countries must comply with the most-favoured-nation (MFN) clause, which requires a country to provide any privileges granted to one nation to all other WTO member countries – that means the equal treatment of all countries.
  • The anti-dumping and countervailing duties: these duties are used as trade defence measures against dumped or subsidised imports and are applied in addition to the MFN duties.
  • Preferential duties are an exception of the MFN clause: countries may make trade deals, for example, the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement, and agree on lower or zero duty rates on goods originating in partner countries. Preferential duty rates may also be set unilaterally on imports of goods originating in developing and least developed countries, for example, under the EU’s Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP).  

Where are the EU rates of duties set out?

The EU’s MFN rates of customs duties are set out in the Combined Nomenclature (CN), which is an annually updated Annex to the Council Regulation (EEC) No 2658/87 on the tariffs and statistical nomenclature and on the Common Customs Tariff. CN 2022 is set out in the Commission Implementing Regulation 2021/1832 of 12 October 2021.

The anti-dumping and countervailing duty rates are set out on a case-by-case basis in the regulations of the European Commission, for example, Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2022/72 of 18 January 2022 imposing definitive countervailing duties on imports of optical fibre cables originating in China.

The preferential duty rates are set out in trade agreements, for example, in the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement. The rules of calculation of EU GSP rates are set out in the Regulation (EU) No 978/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012.

Where can be the rates found (is there an online tool)?

The rates of all the types of EU duties can be found online in the Integrated Tariff of the EU (TARIC). It is a multilingual and multifunctional database integrating all measures relating to EU customs tariff as well as commercial and agricultural legislation.