As a member of the European Union, Germany is (with minor exceptions) part of the associated customs union (cf. Art. 4 UCC). Trading and travelling with goods within the customs territory is relatively easy, as there are no customs duties or barriers to action here. However, the EU imposes external customs duties on third countries and controls the movement of goods from and to these territories. Therefore, companies trading with third countries need to be aware of their requirements for importing and exporting goods – from classifying goods to determining and declaring the value of goods to complying with declared customs duties. These standards can complicate the business of importing and exporting.
Customs law for consumers
Whether ordering online or travelling to a destination outside the Federal Republic of Germany – when crossing the border, private individuals must observe the customs-controlled restrictions. Within the EU, the travellers’ allowances for alcoholic beverages, medicines and tobacco products must be followed. If you are travelling outside the EU, you should inform yourself in detail before the trip concerning entry and exit and regarding the return to comply with any restrictions and import bans.
Certain restrictions regarding the cross-border movement of goods must also be observed when ordering online. In particular, you should ask which goods you are allowed to have sent to you or whether they are subject to an import ban/restriction. Our lawyers for German customs law will inform you about the existing restrictions and advise you in your possibly already existing customs case.
Customs law for companies
Companies should familiarise themselves with the customs regulations. We recommend obtaining information early and to complete documentation regarding the execution of exports and imports.
The applicable restrictions and regulations relevant to you and your company depend on the type of goods. For example, the movement of goods with chemicals, pharmaceuticals and narcotics, animals or agricultural products is subject to stricter regulations. These must be checked and complied with.
Our customs law practice group advises companies of all sizes. We carefully examine your business’s legal aspects and provide clear recommendations for your customs law needs. This will enable your company to develop and implement appropriate strategies. We will check which regulations need to be complied with and how they should be implemented. Should you require specialised advice tailored to your needs, please do not hesitate to contact our law firm.