Does your company intend to import goods into the EU? This section helps you understand some of the tariffs, quotas and other duties that may apply.
Product classification and BTI
How to find the tariff for a specific imported product?
- every product imported into the EU is classified under a tariff. The tariff code, also called product code, helps you understand which tariffs apply to your specific product. Accordingly, you first have to identify the tariff code of your product. You can find more information on product classification here.
- once you have identified the relevant tariff code for your specific product, you can check the tariff rate in My Trade Assistant
Binding Tariff Information on the tariff classification of goods
- the EU's Binding Tariff Information (BTI) system can identify the right tariff classification for the goods you intend to import. It will thus allow you to understand what customs duty applies to your good, and whether you need an import certificate. Having a BTI decision gives you legal certainty about this tariff classification.
- since 1st October 2019, all BTI-related processes are electronic and economic operators have to introduce all new applications electronically. See ‘’ for more information
- all BTI decisions already taken can be looked up here
- customs valuation is the calculation of the economic value of goods declared for importation
- customs duties (and VAT) is calculated as a percentage of the goods’ value - once the value of the goods is determined, the customs tariff and the origin of the good can be factored in to calculate the total customs duty due for the product
More information on how customs value is calculated in the EU can be found here.
Duty relief and suspension
In general, most imported products are subject to import duties. However, for some special cases, an exception may apply and no duties need to be paid.
Common customs tariff duties apply to goods which are imported from third countries across the EU's external borders. In some special circumstances, such import duties may be relieved.
See all the cases where duty relief can be granted (Council Regulation 1186/2009).
In some circumstances, import duties can also be temporarily suspended (totally or partially) for certain goods. This does not affect any anti-dumping duties which may also be in place.
- goods imported under suspension arrangements are allowed to continue in free circulation on the EU market, just like all other legally imported goods
- suspensions are normally granted for raw materials, semi-finished goods or components not available within the EU - they are never granted for finished products
- Commission Communication on autonomous tariff suspensions and quotas
- information on the suspension of import duties
- list of products currently under suspension
- search suspensions database
Under tariff quotas, specified quantities of goods can be imported at reduced or zero duty rate. This doesn't affect any anti-dumping duties also in place.
Tariff rate quotas (TRQs) allow products imported within a certain quota to enter the European Union's market at a lower tariff rate than for quantities outside the quotas. They allow more variety to consumers whilst also encouraging non-EU countries to open up their markets to European goods.
Preferential tariff quotas
- these types of quotas are commonly found in trade agreements and preferential arrangements between the EU and certain other countries
- this type of quota means that a predetermined volume of goods coming from a specified country can be imported into the EU at a favourable rate of duty
Autonomous tariff quotas
- these quotas can be opened in some economic sectors in order to stimulate competition inside the EU - they usually apply Erga Omnes (to all competitors) and are normally granted to raw materials, semi-finished goods or components not available in the EU in sufficient quantities
- no tariff quotas are granted for finished products
See here for more information on tariff quotas.
Management of quotas
- most tariff quotas are managed by the European Commission's Directorate-General for Taxation and Customs Union, on a 'first-come, first-serve' basis. This is done regardless of which Member State a good is imported into. Information about the current balances is available online.
- certain tariff quotas which apply to specific agricultural products, are managed by the European Commission's Directorate-General responsible for Agriculture and Rural Development. Various Council and Commission Regulations contain the specific provisions for the management of these tariff quotas. Check if a quota may apply to your product in My Trade Assistant.
Further information by sector
- fruits and vegetables
- wine and spirits
- oilseeds, protein crops and rice
- live plants and flowers
- milk and milk products
- beef and veal
- sheepmeat and goatmeat
How to find out about tariff quotas?
The search results for your product in My Trade Assistant provides information on tariff quotas and standard import values. You will also find a reference to the legislation applicable to that information.
Apart from regular import duties, a product can also be subject to anti-dumping or other trade defence instruments when it is imported into the EU
- EU producers can submit a complaint to the European Commission if they think a product is being unfairly dumped onto the EU market by producers in non-EU countries - community producers who are considering lodging an anti-dumping complaint, should contact the European Commission
- the European Commission can also open an investigation into dumping on its own initiative or at the request of an EU Member State
The anti-dumping proceeding
After receiving a complaint from the EU producers of the product concerned, the Commission publishes a notice in the EU's Official Journal - opening an anti-dumping proceeding. The maximum time limit for an investigation under these proceedings is 15 months. The detailed findings are published in the Official Journal. For example, these findings may include a regulation imposing anti-dumping duties or terminate the proceeding without duties being imposed.
See also the flowchart of the anti-dumping investigation process
Conditions for anti-dumping measures
The investigation must show that
- there is dumping by the exporting producers in the country/countries concerned
- material injury has been suffered by the impacted EU industry
- there is a causal connection between the dumping and injury found
- the imposition of measures is not against the EU interest
For detailed information on conditions for imposing an anti-dumping measure, see Conditions.
If the investigation finds that the above four conditions have been met, then anti-dumping measures can be imposed on imports of the product concerned.
These measures usually take the form of one of the following
- an ad valorem duty (taxed according to transaction value)
- specific duties (taxed per specific amount of the product)
- price undertakings (the non-EU exporter agrees to sell its products at a minimum price in the EU)
The duties are paid by the importer in the EU, and collected by the national customs authorities of the EU Member State concerned.
Please note: if the EU accepts the producer's price undertaking, (a voluntary increase in price) anti-dumping duties will not be collected on imports. The Commission is not obliged to accept an offer of an undertaking.
The 'lesser duty' rule
A duty may be imposed to remove the effects of dumping on imports of a particular product. An assessment is made of the level of duty needed to remove the injurious effects of dumping. Measures will be imposed at the level of dumping or injury, whichever is lower.
Anti-dumping and ships
EU rules include a regulation on the sale of newly built ships at excessively low prices. See shipbuilding for further details.
Duration of measures and reviews
Measures are generally imposed for 5 years. They may be subject to review during this period if
- the circumstances of the exporters have changed
- importers request a full or partial refund of duties paid
- new exporting producers request an accelerated review
Measures will lapse after 5 years unless an expiry review is initiated.
The Commission monitors measures to ensure they are effective and respected by exporters and importers.
Current anti-dumping duties
You can find information on all completed and on-going anti-dumping investigations here.
Anti-subsidy or countervailing measures
- apart from anti-dumping duties, anti-subsidy measures can apply to your import product - these are also called countervailing measures and are intended to offset the effects from an unfair subsidy by a trade partner
- there are rules when such subsidies are allowed and when they may be counteracted by the EU - you can read more about these rules on EU anti-subsidy rules
- countervailing measures can consist of different types of tools, but they are usually applied in the form of increased duties - a countervailing measure can consist of an additional ad valorem or specific duty and can be applied in the form of a minimum import price, or it can consist of a 'price undertaking,' where the exporter commits to sell the product above a minimum price
- similar to anti-dumping proceedings, an EU industry can lodge a complaint with the Commission if it believes that imports of a product from a non-EU country are subsidised, and injuring the EU industry producing the same product
You can find more information on anti-subsidy measures here.
You can find information on all completed and on-going anti-subsidy investigations here.
- safeguard measures can be applied when an EU industry is impacted by an unforeseen, sharp, and sudden increase of imports
- such measures are used very rarely, and only in very specific circumstances
- safeguard measures can consist of quantitative import restrictions (trade quotas), or of duty increases - they may apply to all imports of the product in question from all trade partners, or from goods of specific origins
You can read more about safeguards in the EU here.