Table of Contents

The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of 28 member states that are located in Europe. It has an estimated population of about 513 million and a 2017 gross domestic product at PPP of 20.8 U.S. dollars

The EU has developed an internal single market through a standardised system of laws that apply in all member states in those matters, and only those matters, where members have agreed to act as one. EU policies aim to ensure the free movement of people, goods, services and capital within the internal market act legislation in justice and home affairs and maintain common policies on trade, agriculture, fisheries and regional development. For travel within the Schengen Area, passport controls have been abolished.A monetary union was established in 1999 and came into full force in 2002 and is composed of 19 EU member states which use the euro currency.

512 mio. (2017)

28 Member states[1]: Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Great Britain, Netherlands, Ireland, Italy, Croatia, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Czech Republic, Hungary, Cyprus

[1] As of May 2019

English, French, German (most common)
There is no EU-wide uniform holiday regulation. As a rule, in the member states of the EU January 1st, Good Friday, Easter Monday, May 1st and December 25th and December 26th are public holidays. There are other national holidays in each country.
Catholic (45.3%), Protestant (11.1%), Orthodox (9.6%), Other Christian (5.6%), No religion/Agnostic (13.6%), Atheist (10.4%), Muslim (1.8%), other religion (2.6%)

EURO (€): 1 € = 100 cent (aka Eurocent)

The Euro is the official currency in 19 EU countries (Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, Spain, France, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Finland, Greece, Slovenia, Malta, Cyprus, Slovakia, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania)

Other currencies within the EU:

British pound

Bulgarian lev

Danish crown

Gibraltar Pound

Croatian Kuna

Polish złoty

Romanian leu

Swedish crown

Czech crown

Hungarian forint

Currency converter [1]

GDP compostion by sectors (2017, %) [1]

(2017, %)[2]: Agriculture and Forestry 1.6; Industry 19.6; Construction 5.4; Trade, repair, transport, hospitality, accommodation and catering 19.00; Information and Communication 5.0; Financial and insurance services 4.9; Real estate 11.3; Freelance, scientific, technical and other economic services 11.2; Public Administration, Defense, Education, Health and Welfare 18.6; Other services 3.5

(2017, in% of the total import) [1] Machinery, Vehicles 31.9; Chemicals 10.5; Food and beverages 6.0; Raw materials 4.2; Mineral fuels, Lubricants and similar 18.2; other 29.2

[1] GTAI

(in% of the total export)[1]: Machinery, Vehicles 42.0; Chemicals 17.7; Basic materials 2.7; Mineral. Fuels, Lubricants and similar 5.2; Food and beverages 6.5; other 25.9

[1] GTAI

Main supplier countries (2017; %)[1]

(2017; share in %)[2]

USA 13.8

China 20.2

Russian Federation 7.8

Switzerland 5.9

Norway 4.2.

Turkey 3.8

Japan 3.7

South Korea 2.7

Vietnam 2.0

India 2.4

Other 33.5

[1] GTAI

[2] GTAI

(2017; share %)[1]

USA 20.0

China 10.5

Russian Federation 4.6

Switzerland 8.0

Norway 2.7

Turkey 4.5

Japan 3.2

South Korea 2.6

India 2.2

UAE 2.3

Other 39.4

[1] GTAI

Product Export to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan (€ mio.)[1] Import from the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan (€ mio.)[2]
All products 3,569.00 300.00
Agricultural products 764.0 14.3
Fishery products 5.0 0.0
Industrial products 2,799.0 85.7

An Association Agreement between the European Union (EU) and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan came into force in May 2002. [1]

1. Production in the EU 2017 (Selection, Unit €) [1]

Manufacture of clothing (Without leather clothes, without other wearing apparel and accessories)
Manufacture of workwear
Men's ensembles, jackets and blazers, industrial and occupational 554,055,238
Men's trousers, bib and brace overalls, breeches and shorts, industrial and occupational 313,852,597
Women' s ensembles, jackets and blazers, industrial and occupational
Women's trousers, bib and brace overalls, breeches and sorts, industrial and occupational
Other workwear 636,000
Manufacture of other outerwear
Men's or boys' overcoats, car coats, capes, cloaks, anoraks, windcheaters, wind-jackets and similar articles, knitted or crocheted 265,486,593
Men's or boys' suits, ensembles, jackets, blazers, trousers, bib and brace overalls, breeches and shorts, knitted or crocheted 424,586,728
Women's or girls' overcoats, car coats, capes, cloaks, anoraks, windcheaters, wind-jackets and similar articles, knitted or crocheted 218,840,838
Women's or girls' suits, ensembles, jackets, blazers, dresses, skirts, divided skirts, trousers, bib and brace overalls, breeches and shorts, knitted or crocheted 1,775,059,518
Men's or boys' overcoats, raincoats, car coats, capes, cloaks, anoraks, wind-cheaters, wind-jackets and similar articles of textile fabrics, not knitted or crocheted 511,877,000
Men's or boys' suits and ensembles of textile fabrics, not knitted or crocheted 570,000,000
Men's or boys' jackets and blazers, of textile fabrics, not knitted or crocheted 656,000,000
Men's or boys' trousers, bib and brace overalls, breeches and shorts of textile fabrics, not knitted or crocheted 1,398,349,679
Women's or girls' overcoats, car coats, capes, cloaks, anoraks, wind-cheaters, wind-jackets and similar articles of textile fabrics, not knitted or crocheted 836,366,315
Women's or girls' suits and ensembles of textile fabrics, not knitted or crochete 185,372,097/td>
Women's or girls' jackets and blazers of textile fabrics, not knitted or crocheted 1,028,000,000
Women's or girls' dresses, skirts and divided skirts of textile fabrics, not knitted or crocheted 1,914,000,000
Women's or girls' trousers, bib and brace overalls, breeches and shorts of textile fabrics, not knitted or crocheted 121,203,1710
Manufacture of underwear
Men's or boys' shirts, knitted or crocheted 309,891,061
Men's or boys' underpants, briefs, nightshirts, pyjamas, bathrobes, dressing gowns and similar articles, knitted or crocheted 298,874,841
Women's or girls' blouses, shirts and shirt-blouses, knitted or crocheted 512,000,000
Women's or girls' slips, petticoats, briefs, panties, nightdresses, pyjamas, dressing gowns, negligees, bathrobes and similar articles, knitted or crocheted 463,728,453
Men's or boys' shirts, of textile fabric not knitted or crocheted 909,318,048
Men's or boys' singlets and other vests, underpants, briefs, nightshirts, pyjamas, bathrobes, dressing gowns, of textile fabric not knitted or crocheted 65,717,407
Women's or girls' blouses, shirts and shirt-blouses, of textile fabric not knitted or crocheted 1,296,000,000
Women's and girls' singlets and other vests, slips, petticoats, briefs, panties, nightdresses, pyjamas, negligees, bathrobes, dressing gowns and similar articles, of textile fabric not knitted or crocheted 154,390,028
Brassieres, girdles, corsets, braces, suspenders, garters and similar articles and parts thereof, whether or not knitted or crocheted 433,986,394
T-shirts, singlets and other vests, knitted or crocheted 1734,000,000

Key Players of the European textile industry are Italy, Germany, Spain and France. The consumer price levels of clothing and footwear considerably across the EU Member States. In 2017, the highest prices for clothing and footwear were recorded in Sweden (33,8% higher than the EU average), followed by Denmark (32,9%) and Finland (23,4,8%).

Bulgaria was the least expensive clothing and footwear (21,7% lower than the EU average), followed by Poland (14,2%) and Hungary (12,8%). [2]

2. Import of clothes in the EU 2018 (Unit €) [3]

Import of clothes
HS Code 61
Articles of apparel and clothing accessories, knitted or crocheted 42,199,321,356

In 2018, €17 billion-worth of clothes was imported by Germany from non-EU Member States (20% of total extra-EU imports of clothes imports by value). This makes Germany the largest EU importer of clothing from non-EU countries, ahead of the United Kingdom (over €12 billion, 15%) and Spain (€12 billion, 14%), followed by France (€10 billion, 12%), the Netherlands (€10 billion, 11%) and Italy (€8 billion, 9%).

Imports of clothes from non-EU countries came mainly from China (€27 billion, or 32% of total extra-EU clothes), Bangladesh (€16 billion, 19%) and Turkey (€10 billion, 12%), followed by India (€5 billion, 6%), Cambodia (€4 billion, 5%), Vietnam (over €3 billion, 4%), Morocco and Pakistan (both €3 billion, 3%). [4]

3. Export of clothes from the EU 2018 (Unit €) [5]

Export of clothes
HS Code 61
Articles of apparel and clothing accessories, knitted or crocheted 9,978,546,122

Among EU Member States, Italy exported to non-EU Member States clothes worth €9 billion in 2018 (36% of total extra-EU exports of clothes by value). This makes Italy the largest extra-EU exporter of clothes, ahead of Germany and Spain (both €5 billion, 17%), followed by France (€3 billion, 12%) and the United Kingdom (€1 billion, 5%) [6]

Among non-EU countries, Switzerland was the main destination for EU exports of clothes and footwear. The EU Member States sent €6.4 billion of clothes and footwear to Switzerland in 2017 (representing 20% of the total value of extra-EU exports of clothes and footwear). The next largest market was the United States (€4.5 billion, 14%). Other major destinations were Russia (€2.9 billion, 9%), Hong Kong (€2.3 billion, 7%), Japan (€1.7 billion, 5%) and China (€1.6 billion, 5%). [7]

4. Garment and textiles fairs in the EU

An overview of all trade fairs taking place in the member state of the EU can be found on the website of the AUMA - Association of the German Trade Fair Industry under the link The AUMA service also includes the provision of the organisator and project team account information. The selection of garment and textiles fairs in the EU below is exemplary and by no means exhaustive.

PromoTex Expo

Dusseldorf / Germany (International Trade Show for Promotion, Sports and Workwear, annual)


Paris / France (Apparel, Clothing, Fashion, Ready-to-Wear, Lingerie, Corsetry, annual)


Milan / Italy (Lifestyle Trade Fair, annual)

Exporting to the EU means making international legal arrangements with your customer. If you are selling directly to a European customer, it is advisable to make a contract. Although this is not legally required, an international sale contract provides clarity to both partners and prevents business conflicts when, for example, a shipment is late or is damaged. If you use the ICC Incoterms 2010 for the transport of goods, it is still advisable to make an international sale contract. In an international sale contract you can arrange:

Contract Design

The contract sets the „rules of the game“ of the business, which are much more important and difficult to define in an international context than domestically, due to different cultures, languages and legal systems. The exporter is primarily concerned with the questions: How will I get my money? Who bears the risks and costs of transport? Which court decides in case of problems? Which law will then be used?

Only trust the written word

The purchase contract is not subject to formal requirements i.e. it can be concluded verbally or in writing. Only certain components such as jurisdiction or court of arbitration requires a written form in any case. In export, however, all contracts should be in writing, as the written form facilitates the argument in case of disputes.

Forms of the purchase contract

Basically, there are the following possibilities to conclude a contract:

- verbally

- in writing

- in „higher written form“ e.g. with notarised signatures

In the case of a verbal agreement, it should be noted that a declaration of intent can also be made through a telephone conversation. In foreign trade, however, written form is absolutely to be recommended, oral agreements should always be confirmed subsequently in writing.

The most important forms of written purchase contracts are:

- correspondence (letters, fax, e-mail)

- final letter

- contract note or Conclusion Certificate

In foreign trade, so-called correspondence contracts are by far the most important form of contract. In fact, it rarely happens that the contracting parties meet in one place to construct only a single document. It is customary, to have a contract with at least two documents, namely offer and acceptance (order). But there may also be a correspondence with several letters, until the contract finally takes effect after lengthy negotiations.

Final letters are standardized purchase contracts, that are usual in business with large companies. They usually start with the wording: "We sell you and you buy from us the following goods under the following conditions." Written on the front of these forms are the general terms and conditions and on the back the individual agreements. Contract notes or Conclusion Certificates are simplified forms of the final letter.

Subject matter of the contract

According to the subject matter of the contract, a distinction is made between commodity and service contracts. Commodity contracts are commercial or transit transactions. Among the service contracts, agency agreements (with sales representatives or independent dealers) and cooperation agreements (for example in joint ventures) are of particular importance.

Which components must a purchase contract contain?

In foreign trade, the purchase contract includes at least provisions on

- the services of the exporter

- the services of the importer

- the legislative framework

The performances of the exporter are defined by the following points:

- quality (nature and quality of the goods)

- quantity (quantity of the goods)

- price

- delivery conditions (place of fulfilment and period of performance)

The performances of the importers are defined by the following points:

- method of payment

- term of payment

The legal framework is determined by agreement of

- choice of law

- court of jurisdiction or court of arbitration

How is the quality of the goods determined?

There are various methods for determining quality that are reflected in the contract:

- inspection of all the goods, e.g. at auctions

- inspection of part of the goods e.g. of patterns or samples

- description of the goods e.g. through plans, photos, drawings, specifications

- reference to type designations or norms

After the arrival of the goods it comes to the quality assessment:

The buyer examines the quality delivered compared to what has been contractually agreed. In the process open or secret defects can be detected. Open defects must be reported immediately, secret defects after their discovery, but no later than six months after delivery of the goods.

The defect complaint

Open defects are immediately apparent at the first inspection and must be reported immediately. "Immediate" means at the earliest possible time after delivery, but without having to do overtime or night work.

However, the notification of defects must not only be immediate, but also substantively meaningful. It is not enough merely to announce that the goods have arrived in faulty condition, but the defects which have occurred must also be described. If they are described wrongly, then the complaint is invalid.

There are no formal requirements for complaints, but it is definitely advisable to submit them in writing for later proof. Quantity defects are always open defects and are therefore immediately to be reported after delivery.

If the buyer takes over the goods despite obvious defects, then he has no warranty claim later. A takeover "with reservation" does not guarantee the warranty claims in case of open defects.

Secret defects that only become apparent over time must be claimed no later than 6 months after delivery of the goods. Many suppliers, in particular of industrial products, voluntarily extend this period by guarantee or warranty.

Basically, the buyer is not obliged to accept a defective product. If he does and reprimands the deficiencies in time, then he has a warranty claim.

The product liability is different from the warranty. This refers to the liability of the manufacturer for personal injury and property damage resulting from the defectiveness of the product. If the manufacturer is located outside the European Economic Area or Switzerland, then the importer can be used for liability within this area.

If a faulty product has led to damage, then the manufacturer or the importer is liable in any case, even without fault. This product liability can`t be excluded by agreement. Excluded are only property damage suffered by an entrepreneur (but not a consumer). In this case, an exclusion is possible.

How can the price be changed during the course of the transaction?

The price is usually fixed in the purchase contract. However, with a longer period between contract conclusion and delivery of goods there is a risk that essential cost elements of the original calculation will change. Therefore special adjustment clauses are included in such cases.

These clauses could be

- cost fluctuation clauses and

- price fluctuation clauses

In a cost fluctuation clause changes in important costs e.g. wages or raw material prices are taken into account. For example, an agreement to increase wages by 25% may increase the selling price by 10%.

Terms of delivery

The terms of delivery regulate the place of performance and the fulfilment time. Place of performance is the place where the exporter has to accomplish the transfer action relevant for the fulfilment of the contract. He has to bear costs and risks up to the place of performance. Depending on the agreement, this may be his factory, the state border, the port of shipment or another location. If no place of performance has been agreed, the exporters place of business shall be deemed as such.

Fulfilment time is the time or period during which the exporter has to provide the transfer action relevant for the fulfilment of the contract.

Method and term of payment

The performance of the importer, besides accepting the goods, is the proper payment of the purchase price. In many cases however, this causes concern for the exporter, so he tries to take precautions as best as possible. The possibilities of payment protection in international business are:

Advance payment or deposit:

- receipt of the sales proceeds or a part even before the delivery

- thus lower risk

- very cheap, as there are no interest charges

- disadvantage: often not enforceable


- payment after the delivery of the goods

- exporter bears the full risk

- liquidity is claimed

- to be used only with confidence in the customer

Documentary collection

- documents and goods will be handed out only after payment

- business is handled through the respective house bank

- difficult realization, as customer must agree

- the risk is mitigated

Documentary letter

- In co-operation with the customer's house bank, there is an agreement that the product documents are first handed over to the customer's house bank and that it then promises to pay the purchase price.

- Most extensive security for the exporter

The legal framework

For each export business, it should be agreed which law and jurisdiction should be used in the event of a dispute. It often is the case that the judgements given in the country of the exporter or the importer are not enforceable in the other country. You have a valid court ruling, but you can not do anything with it abroad.

This disadvantage disappears on agreement of an arbitral tribunal, since arbitration awards are practically enforceable throughout the world.

Applicable law

Despite all the standardisation efforts of the European Union, every European state still has its own civil and commercial law. Only the law of Sale of Goods is the same in (almost) all EU Member States as a result of the nearly worldwide effective UN Convention on Contracts.

The UN Convention on Contracts governs the rights and obligations of buyers and sellers. However, it only applies to contracts between entrepreneurs, but not if the buyer is a private individual. In this case, the law at the place of business of the seller applies in principle, as far as no contrary choice-of-law has been agreed upon.

The agreement of the UN Sales Convention offers itself as a compromise solution, if the salesman wants his country right, the buyer however wants his country right. In this case, the UN Sales Convention forms a balanced middle course that takes into account the interests of both parties.

Choice of court agreement

Export contracts can mean that the exporting company must seek the help of foreign courts to enforce its purchase price claim. On the other hand, it is possible that the company will be involved in a foreign proceeding, for example if the buyer asserts claims for damages or warranty claims.

A lawsuit abroad can best be avoided by a jurisdiction agreement. However, jurisdiction agreements are only valid if they are made in writing. Since such an agreement is very important in an emergency, care must be exercised and, if necessary, the assistance of a lawyer should be used.

Arbitration has always been of great importance in international business. The parties agree in an arbitration agreement that instead of the ordinary courts, a court of arbitration should decide.

The following reasons speak for the agreement of a court of arbitration:

- arbitral awards are enforceable worldwide

- special expertise of the arbitrators

- the language of the proceedings may be freely chosen between the parties

- neutrality of the place of arbitration

- flexibility of arbitration

- non-publicity of the proceeding

A model clause on the agreement on arbitration is:

„All disputes arising out of or in connection with the present contract shall be finally settled under the Rules of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce by one or more arbitrators appointed in accordance with the said Rules. The place of arbitration shall be…………..The substantive law of….. shall be applicable and the language to be

used in the arbitral proceedings shall be........................... “

The maintenance of business relationships after the conclusion of contract

After conclusion of the negotiations, the question of contract loyalty arises. If both parties fulfil their contractual obligations, the business relationship is organized. Here and there it may come to an overdraft of the agreed delivery times, and the customer may apply for a bridging loan due to temporary illiquidity, but essentially the transaction proceeds satisfactorily and without major complications.

In cultures like the American or the German one comes to the negotiating table already with a draft contract and quite concrete ideas and then goes through clause-by-clause. Should it later come to differences of opinion, one adheres strictly to the wording of the contract. An American would find it very suspicious if his partner came up with non contractually agreed points, such as long-standing good relationships, if there are unexpected complications.

In these deal-based cultures, contracts are considered final and binding. Usually they have written form, because you do not like relying on verbal agreements. Even the fine print has its meaning. Emphasis is placed on maximum precision of the written word. Friendship and personal relationships are rather bothering in contract negotiations, they only come into play later in the maintenance of business relationships.

All hints given here are taken from publicly available sources. Among others, the source used was It is expressly pointed out that all information given in the legal matters section is not legally binding information. These are general recommendations. Before concluding contracts, a lawyer should always be called in.

Harmonised System [1]

The Harmonised System or 'HS' (Harmonised Commodity Description and Coding System) is a nomenclature developed by the World Customs Organisation (WCO) which comprises about 5 000 commodity groups, organised by Sections, Chapters (2 digit), Headings (4 digits) and Sub-headings (6 digits). The logic of the products classification relies on a hierarchical structure. In order to facilitate a uniform interpretation, the HS is supported by implementation rules and explanatory notes.

It is an important tool in foreign trade, as it allows the products to be exported to be accurately classified and specified according to internationally accepted definitions and standards. This classification makes it easy to determine the requirements applicable to the product in the destination country.

The European Union and its Member States apply the Harmonised System for tariff classification. The system is used by more than 200 countries as a basis for their customs tariffs and for international trade statistics.

The Combined Nomenclature (CN) is the European Union's coding system for classifying products, which was established to meet the requirements both of the Common Customs Tariff and of the international and intra-EU trade statistics. It is an 8-digit coding system, which is composed of the HS nomenclature with further EU subdivisions.

The Integrated Tariff of the European Communities (TARIC) identifies goods with a view to include all trade policy and tariff measures applicable in the EU (such as temporary suspension of duties, antidumping duties, etc.). Its structure is based on the 8-digit code of the CN and on two additional digits (Taric subheadings), as depicted in the example:

64 Footwear, gaiters and the like; parts of such articles (HS Chapter)
6403 Footwear with outer soles of rubber, plastics, leather or composition leather and uppers of leather (HS Heading)
640391 covering the ankle (HS Subheading)
64039105 Made on a base or platform of wood, not having an inner sole (CN Code)
6403910510 Handmade (Taric code)
6403910590 Other (Taric code)

EU Trade Helpdesk [1]

A good starting point to prepare yourself for exporting to the EU is the EU Trade Helpdesk of the European Commission.

The EU Trade Helpdesk is the main source of information for exporters to the EU.

To help exporters seize their trade opportunities EU Trade Helpdesk provides

  1. A search tool to find product-specific market information.
  2. General information about the EU market and the EU trade agreements in place

Within a few minutes companies can check:

  • health, safety and technical standards they'll need to meet
  • customs duties they'll need to pay at the border
  • internal taxes in each of the 28 countries
  • the rules of origin that define where a product is from and whether it profits from preferential duty rates
  • forms to send with they'll shipments

The EU Trade Helpdesk can also help you answer other question such as:

How can my product pass the EU borders?

The EU Trade Helpdesk provides you with the full list of technical, safety and labelling requirements your product needs to fulfill. You can also find the documents needed for customs clearance and information on import procedures.

How much will it cost me?

The EU Trade Helpdesk can calculate the import duty applying to your product and tells you whether you qualify for import duty exemption or discount. You can also find the Value Added Tax and excise duties for all EU countries.

How to obtain a preferential tariff?

The EU Trade Helpdesk explains the preferential trade agreements applying to your product and country and how to prove the origin of your product.

Which authorities to contact in each EU Member state?

The EU Trade Helpdesk provides you with contacts in EU countries.

How much of your product is imported or exported?

The Export Helpdesk assists your market research by providing detailed statistics on product-by-product EU trade flows.

One of the most helpful tools of the EU Trade Helpdesk is My Export. Most importantly, this search tool shows which tariffs, requirements and preferential trade arrangements apply per country and per product.

In order to identify EU technical regulations, technical standards and other requirements for the product to be exported, the already mentioned EU Trade Helpdesk should be used.

It is a link-based system and it can be assumed that the information and regulations determined are up-to-date.

First, the CN code or, if possible, the Taric code of the product must be determined.

1. TheEU Trade Helpdesk [1] has to be started.

2. In the window "I want to export from:" the name of the country of the exporter must be selected from the stored list.

3. In the window "To an EU Member State:" must be selected the EU member state to export to.

4. Then the right button "Find my product code" must be pressed. It opens the complete Combined Nomenclature of the EU. The best search function here is "search by productname" and then "guided search", as this method leads directly to the product with the help of product-specific questions.

5. Then the yellow button "Show in list of goods" must be pressed, the product will be highlighted in yellow in the list.

6. The yellow marked product must be clicked. Thus, the customs tariff number is adopted in the search mask.

7. Clicking on the yellow button "View rates and requirements" displays the following provisions of the export market country for the goods to be exported

There will be a window with 8 tabs.

Tab 1 EU import procedures and country-specific information

Amongst other things:

EU import procedures

Documents for customs clearance

Import procedures and competent authorities for the choosed EU Country

Tab 2 Product-specific requirements for EU market access

Amongst other things:

- Prohibition of product contents
- Import requirements

- Labelling

- Restrictions

- Technical standards

Tab 3 EU Import duties

Here, the import duties for the product in the EU and possibly existing tariff preferences are mentioned.

Tab 4 Internal Taxes of the choosed EU Member

Tab 5 Rules of Origin FTA Euromed

There appears a table with the following header:

HS heading Description of product Working or processing, carried out on non-originating materials, which confers originating status

Appropriate rules for the selected HS headings are mentioned. This section deals with the rules of origin relating to concluded free trade agreements, details of which can be found below this link .[2]

Tab 6 Rules of Origin PEM Convention

There appears a table with the following header:

HS heading Description of product Working or processing, carried out on non-originating materials, which confers originating status

Appropriate rules for the selected HS headings are mentioned. Here are the rules of origin regarding Pan-Euro-Med cumulation, details under this link . [3]

Tab 7 Statistics

Overview of foreign trade between the EU destination country and the exporting country

Tab 8 Show all

Overview of all topics in one window

EU Classifying textiles

Under this link [1] you can find clearly explained definitions of common garments. While it may seem complex at first glance, you should check the attributes of the garments to ensure that they are being correctly classified. Often a small feature or point of difference will mean classifying your garments in a different classification code than you may otherwise assume.

Import requirements for seal products [2] [3]

Prohibition on imports of skins of certain seal pups

Imports for commercial purposes of the following seal products into the European Union (EU) are prohibited:

  • Raw furskins and furskins, tanned or dressed, including furskins assembled in plates, crosses or similar forms, of whitecoat pups of harp seals and pups of hooded seals (blue-back)
  • Articles made of these furskins

The prohibition does not apply to products resulting from traditional hunting by the Inuit people or others indigenous communities.

Import requirements for seal products

Regulation (EC) No 1007/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council (OJ L-286 31/10/2009) (CELEX 32009R1007) prohibits the placing on the EU market of products from seals and other pinnipeds unless they:

  • result from traditional hunts conducted by Inuit and other indigenous communities, provided that all of the following conditions are fulfilled:
    • the hunt has traditionally been conducted by the community;
    • the hunt is conducted for and contributes to the subsistence of the community and is not conducted primarily for commercial reasons;
    • the hunt is conducted in a manner which has due regard to animal welfare, taking into consideration the way of life of the community and the subsistence purpose of the hunt.
  • are of an occasional nature, exclusively for the personal use of travellers or their families. Goods should not be of a nature or quantity to indicate that they are being imported for commercial reasons.

In order to ensure the correct application of the traditional hunting, the release for free circulation of the seal product is subject to the presentation of an attesting document issued by a recognised body.

Seal products acquired on site in a third country by travellers and imported by them at a later date, must be accompanied by a written notification of import and a document giving evidence where the products were acquired.

Import requirements for seal products [1] [2]

Prohibition on imports of skins of certain seal pups

Imports for commercial purposes of the following seal products into the European Union (EU) are prohibited:

  • Raw furskins and furskins, tanned or dressed, including furskins assembled in plates, crosses or similar forms, of whitecoat pups of harp seals and pups of hooded seals (blue-back)
  • Articles made of these furskins

The prohibition does not apply to products resulting from traditional hunting by the Inuit people or others indigenous communities.

Import requirements for seal products

Regulation (EC) No 1007/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council (OJ L-286 31/10/2009) (CELEX 32009R1007) prohibits the placing on the EU market of products from seals and other pinnipeds unless they:

  • result from traditional hunts conducted by Inuit and other indigenous communities, provided that all of the following conditions are fulfilled:
    • the hunt has traditionally been conducted by the community;
    • the hunt is conducted for and contributes to the subsistence of the community and is not conducted primarily for commercial reasons;
    • the hunt is conducted in a manner which has due regard to animal welfare, taking into consideration the way of life of the community and the subsistence purpose of the hunt.
  • are of an occasional nature, exclusively for the personal use of travellers or their families. Goods should not be of a nature or quantity to indicate that they are being imported for commercial reasons.

In order to ensure the correct application of the traditional hunting, the release for free circulation of the seal product is subject to the presentation of an attesting document issued by a recognised body.

Seal products acquired on site in a third country by travellers and imported by them at a later date, must be accompanied by a written notification of import and a document giving evidence where the products were acquired.

Restriction on the use of certain chemical substances in textile and leather products [1][2] [3]

The placing on the EU market of textile and leather articles containing certain chemical substances, group of substances or mixtures are prohibited or severely restricted, in order to protect human health and environment.

Dangerous chemical substances

Acording to provisions listed on Annex XVII to Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council (REACH Regulation) (OJ L-396 30/12/2006) (CELEX 32006R1907) the main chemical substances, group of substances or mixtures which are not allowed in textile and leather articles are:

  • Tris (2,3 dibromopropyl) phosphate in textile articles intended to come into contact with the skin.
  • Tris (aziridinyl) phosphinoxide in textile articles intended to come into contact with the skin.
  • Polybrominated biphenyls (PBB) in textile articles intended to come into contact with the skin.
  • Mercury compounds in the impregnation of heavy-duty industrial textiles and yarn intended for their manufacture.
  • Dioctyltin (DOT) compounds in textile articles, footwear or part of footwear intended to come into contact with the skin.
  • Nickel in articles intended to come into direct and prolonged contact with the skin, such as rivets buttons, tighteners, rivets, zippers and metal marks, when these are used in garments.
  • Azodyes which may release one or more of the aromatic amines listed in Appendix 8 , in textile and leather articles which may come into direct and prolonged contact with the skin or oral cavity.
  • Nonylphenol and nonylphenol ethoxylates in textile and leather processing.
  • Chromium VI compounds in leather articles intended to come into contact with the skin.
  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons compounds (PAH) in clothing, footwear, gloves and sporstwear if any of their rubber or plastic components come into direct as well as prolonged or short-term repetitive contact with the skin or the oral cavity.
  • Perfluorooctanoic acid ('PFOA'), its salts and PFOA related substances in textiles for protection of workers and membranes intended for use in medical textiles.
  • The substances listed in column 1 of the Table in Appendix 12 in clothing or relating accessories, footwear and other textiles intended to come into contact with human skin in a concentration, measured in homogeneous material, equal to or greater than that specified for that substance in Appendix 12 .

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) manages and coordinates the registration, evaluation, authorisation and restriction processes of chemical substances to ensure consistency in management of chemicals across the EU.

Persistent organic pollutants

Persistent organic pollutants are toxic chemical substances which resist degradation.

Regulation (EC) No 850/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council (OJ L-158 30/04/2004) (CELEX 32004R0850) lays down the prohibition on imports of POP substances listed in its Annex I , whether on their own, in preparations or as constituents of articles. Therefore, POP substances listed in Annex I to this Regulation are not allowed in textile and leather articles.

Biocidal products

Biocidal product is any active substance or mixture to be used with the intention of destroying, deterring, rendering harmless, preventing the action of, or otherwise exerting a controlling effect on, any harmful organism by any means other than mere physical or mechanical action. All types of biocidal products are listed and described in a Annex V to Regulation (EU) No 528/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 May 2012 concerning the making available on the market and use of biocidal products (OJ L-167 27/06/2012) (CELEX 32012R0528) .

Biocidal products are not allowed in textile and leather articles unless authorised in accordance with this Regulation.

1. Labelling of textiles [1] [2]

Textile products may only be placed on the European Union (EU) market provided that they are labelled, marked or accompanied with commercial documents in compliance with Regulation (EU) No 1007/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council (OJ L-272 18/10/2011) (CELEX 32011R1007) .

The main purpose of the Regulation is to ensure that consumers, when purchasing textile products, are given an accurate indication of their fibre composition.

Product scope

The Regulation applies to textile products defined as any raw, semi-worked, worked, semi- manufactured, manufactured, semi-made-up or made-up product which is exclusively composed of textile fibres, regardless of the mixing or assembly process employed. In addition the following products are treated as textile products:

  1. Products containing at least 80% by weight of textile fibres;
  2. Furniture, umbrella, and sunshade coverings containing at least 80% by weight of textile products;
  3. The textile components of the upper layer of multi-layer floor coverings, mattress coverings and coverings of camping goods (provided that such textile components constitute at least 80% by weight)
  4. Products incorporating textile components and which form an integral part of the product, where the compositions should be specified.

The Regulation does not apply to customised products made-up by self-employed tailors.

Labelling and marking requirements

General requirements

When placing a textile product on the market, the manufacturer, distributor or importer must ensure the supply of the label or marking indicating the fibre composition of the product. The information must be accurate, not misleading and easily understandable.

The label or mark shall be durable, easily legible, visible, accessible and, in the case of a label, securely attached. Besides, it shall be provided in the official language or languages of the Member State where the product is offered to the consumer unless otherwise is provided by the Member State concerned.

The information provided on the labels should not contain abbreviations, with the exception of mechanised processing codes, or where the abbreviations are defined in international standards.

For textile products listed in Annex V to the Regulation, labelling or marking bearing the fibre name or composition is not mandatory.

Specific requirements

  1. Only textile products exclusively composed of the same fibre may be labelled or marked as '100%', 'pure' or 'all'.
  2. Multi-fibre textile products shall be labelled or marked with the name and percentage by weight of all constituent fibres in descending order. Fibres not yet listed in Annex I to the Regulation or fibres accounting for less than 5% of the total weight, may be designated as Other fibres, immediately preceded or followed by their total percentage by weight.
  3. Textile product containing two or more textile components which have different textile fibre contents shall bear a label or marking stating the textile fibre content of each component.
  4. Decorative fibres and fibres with antistatic effect not exceeding 7% and 2% respectively of the weight of the product are excluded from the indication of fibre content.
  5. The presence of non-textile parts of animal origin is required to be marked as Contains non-textile parts of animal origin on the labelling or marking.
  6. For textile products whose fibre composition is difficult to determine, the terms mixed fibres or unspecified textile composition may be used.
  7. Annex IV to the Regulation sets out special provisions for the labelling and marking of certain textile products (corsetry products, embroidered textiles, etc.).

Authorised names

Only fibres that are listed in Annex I to the Regulation may be used for the description of fibre composition.

Manufacturers may apply to the Commission to add a new textile fibre name to this list. The application must include a technical file compiled in accordance with the requirements of Annex II to the Regulation.

The use of the following names is subject to certain conditions:

  1. The term 'cotton linen union' is reserved for products having a pure cotton warp and a pure flax weft, in which the percentage of flax accounts for not less than 40% of the total weight of the fabric. This name must be accompanied by the composition specification 'pure cotton warp - pure flax (or linen) weft'
  2. The terms 'virgin wool' or 'fleece wool' may be used only for products composed exclusively of a fibre which:
    1. has not previously been part of a finished product,
    2. has not been subjected to any spinning and/or felting processes other than those required in the manufacture of that product,
    3. has not been damaged by treatment or use.

These names may be used to describe fibre mixtures subject to certain conditions. The full percentage composition must be given in such cases.

In certain cases, small percentages of extraneous fibres may be allowed.

Labelling alternatives

Only products for sale to the end consumer need to be labelled, for other products the labelling or marking can be replaced or supplemented by accompanying commercial documents.

In the case of textile products listed in Annex VI to the Regulation, the label can be replaced by an inclusive label, where they are of the same type and fibre composition.

Products sold by the metre need to be labelled only on the piece or roll offered for sale.

Market surveillance

Market surveillance authorities shall check the conformity of the fibre composition of textile products with the supplied information in accordance with the methods for quantitative analysis set out in Annex VIII to the Regulation. When establishing and testing fibre percentages it is necessary to apply the relevant agreed allowances set out in Annex IX to the Regulation to the anhydrous mass of each type of fibre.

The Regulation allows for some tolerances between the stated fibre composition and the percentages obtained after the analysis.

The items listed in Annex VII to the Regulation (e.g. non-textile parts, buttons, accessories, decorations...) shall not be taken into account for the determination of fibre composition.

2. (Voluntary) EU Ecolabel for textile products[3] [4]

The Community Ecolabel or 'Flower logo' is the official mark in the European Union (EU) for products with the lowest environmental impact in a product range. Its aim is to promote, as well as to help consumers to identify those products which contribute significantly to improvements in relation to key environmental aspects.

Participation on the scheme is voluntary. This means that products can be sold within the EU market without the Flower logo and that there are no regulations which oblige to apply for the Eco-label.

Product scope

According to Commission Decision 2014/350/EU (OJ L-174 13/06/2014) (CELEX 32014D0350) the product group 'textile products' comprises:

  • Textile clothing and accessories: clothing and accessories consisting of at least 80 % by weight of textile fibres in a woven, non-woven or knitted form
  • Interior textiles: textile products for interior use consisting of at least 80 % by weight of textile fibres in a woven, non-woven or knitted form
  • Textile fibres, yarn, fabric and knitted panels: intermediate products intended for use in textile clothing andaccessories and interior textiles, including upholstery fabric and mattress ticking prior to the application ofbackings and treatments associated with the final product
  • Non-fibre elements: intermediate products that are incorporated into textile clothing and accessories and interior textiles, including zips, buttons and other accessories, as well as membranes, coatings and laminates
  • Cleaning products: woven or non-woven products made from textile fibres and intended for the wet or drycleaning of surfaces and the drying of kitchenware


When a product is included in the product group definition and complies with the published Ecolabel criteria, manufacturers, importers, service providers, trader or retailers who want to market their products in the EU, may apply for the Ecolabel in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 66/2010 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 November 2009 on the EU Ecolabel (OJ L-27 30/01/2010) (CELEX 32010R0066) .

For a product made outside the European Union, the application must be presented to a Competent Body of any of the Member States in which the product is to be or has been placed on the market.

The application must include all relevant documentation to prove that the product complies with the ecological and performance criteria. The Competent Body will inform the applicant of the necessary documents that need to be submitted, the test results that must be provided, how they should be carried out, etc.

After assessing whether the product conforms to the Ecolabel criteria and that the application complies with the assessment and verification requirements set out in Commission Decision 2014/350/EU, the Competent Body will decide on the award the label. If the application is successful the Competent Body will conclude a contract with the applicant covering the terms of use of the label. Eco-labelled products can be marketed in all Member States.

Once obtained, the holder has the choice of displaying the Flower logo on any part of the product. It can be used from the date it is awarded until the end of the period of validity of the criteria.

Applications for the award of an Ecolabel are subject to payment of a fee. In addition, there is an annual fee for the use of the label.


In order to be awarded the Community Eco-label, textile products must comply with the criteria set out in the Annex to Commission Decision 2014/350/EU referring to:

  • Textile fibre criteria
  • Components and accessories
  • Chemicals and processes
  • Fitness for use
  • Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Supporting information

The end of the period of validity of the criteria for textile products will be 20 December 2020.

3. (Voluntary) Fairtrade label for textile products

Corporate social responsibility

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a concept whereby companies integrate social and environmental concerns in their business operations and in their interaction with stakeholders on a voluntary basis. It refers to business practices involving initiatives that benefit society. CSR practices in a company can encompass a wide variety of tactics, from giving away a portion of a company’s proceeds to charity, to implementing “greener” business operations. CSR has been placed higher on company agendas in recent years, where it is now common practice among European companies to include at least some consideration for environmental and social performance in their business. Where legal requirements set the basis for products to be granted market access in Europe, CSR requirements go even further. These look into the social performance of not only the European company, but increasingly also of the suppliers. Likewise, environmental considerations in the production process are no longer considered only in European locations, but also within the total supply chain, starting at supplier facilities. This means that European companies often put additional requirements on their suppliers. As such, there has been an increase in certification schemes which are now required by the suppliers to the European market. Depending on how well the supplier performs in other areas, the European counterpart may be willing to work together to achieve better social and environmental performance.

European consumers expect the products or services they buy to not cause unnecessary harm to the environment, and to be produced under acceptable social circumstances, such as those set by the International Labour Organisation Conventions. There are clear differences between European regions in terms of how much attention social and environmental concerns receive, and there is also a difference as to which aspect receives more attention; sometimes this depends on the product in question, but also on the region. The main means of communication of CSRpractices towards European consumers is by labels: environmental labels and social/fair trade labels. There is much consumer interest for textile and apparel products that take into account labor and production conditions. For other industrial products, companies could develop methods that take into account environmental considerations. For example, by producing paint manufactured on a water basis instead of an oil basis.

More information can be found under thislink. [5]

4. "CE" marking [6] [7]

Many products require CE marking before they can be sold in the EU. CE marking proves that a product has been assessed and meets EU safety, health and environmental protection requirements. It is valid for products manufactured both inside and outside the EU, that are then marketed inside the EU.[8]

CE marking indicates that a product complies with all requirements for CE marking and that it has passed the relevant conformity assessment procedure.

Confirmity Assessment

Procedures to assess the conformity of products to the essential requirements laid down in technical harmonisation directives are carried out by:

  • the manufacturer, or
  • a third party. 'Notified bodies' in each EU country are responsible for conformity assessment when a third party is required.

More information on notified bodies

Conformity assessment procedures cover the design phase of products, their production phase or both, in a variety of ways: internal control of production, full quality assurance, etc.

Mutual recognition agreements exist between the EU and certain non-EU countries which are on a comparable level of technical development and have a compatible approach to conformity assessment.

A manufacturer can only place a product on the EU market when it meets all the applicable requirements. The conformity assessment procedure is carried out before the product can be sold. The European Commission’s main objective is to help ensure that unsafe or otherwise non-compliant products do not find their way to the EU market.

A conformity assessment is

  • The conformity of a product is assessed before it is placed on the market.
  • It needs to demonstrate that all legislative requirements are met.
  • It includes testing, inspection and certification.
  • The procedure for each product is specified in the applicable product legislation.

How does it work in practice?

  • Product legislation describes the conformity assessment procedures for each product.
  • Manufacturers may choose between different conformity assessment procedures, if applicable.
  • The assessment is carried out by the manufacturer. If the applicable legislation requires it, a conformity assessment body is involved in the conformity assessment process – see Notified bodies

Declaration of Conformity

As part of conformity assessment, the manufacturer or the authorised representative must draw up an Declaration of conformity (DoC). The declaration should contain all information to identify:

  • the product
  • the legislation according to which it is issued
  • the manufacturer or the authorised representative
  • the notified body if applicable
  • a reference to harmonised standards or other normative documents, where appropriate.

Below the link [9] you will find a current list of products subject to certification in the EU. There are also all directives of the EU for the respective products to call. Textiles and shoes are not affected.

How to get a CE Marking

Six steps to affix a CE marking to a product:

  1. Identify the applicable directive(s) and harmonised standards
  2. Verify product specific requirements
  3. Identify whether an independent conformity assessment (by a notified body) is necessary
  4. Test the product and check its conformity
  5. Draw up and keep available the required technical documentation
  6. Affix the CE marking and draw up the EU Declaration of Conformity (27 KB).

These six steps may differ by product as the conformity assessment procedure varies. Manufacturers must not affix CE marking to products that don’t fall under the scope of one of the directives providing for its affixing.

For products that present higher safety risks such as gas boilers, safety cannot be checked by the manufacturer alone. In these cases, an independent organisation, specifically a notified body appointed by national authorities, has to perform the safety check. The manufacturer may affix the CE marking to the product only once this has been done. [10]

Details can be found on the website of the European Committee for Standardisation [1] .

Technical standards in single EU Countries

If there is no EU-wide regulation (around 15% of EU product legislation is not harmonized) different specifications may apply in different EU countries.

In such cases, you only have to comply with the regulations in force in your country.

If you can prove that your products meet all the technical and quality requirements in your own country and provide a comparable level of safety, other countries can not prohibit their sale, or require changes or additional testing. That is the principle of mutual recognition.

The governments of the EU countries are obliged to publish their national regulations.

Information on this and more about the principle of mutual recognition can be found in the TRIS database [2] for non-harmonized product legislation.

The national requirements may differ in particular with regard to

  • Size / Dimensions
  • Mass
  • Composition
  • Labelling
  • Packaging
  • Examination

At the product information points, you can find out which technical regulations apply to specific products in each EU country and how you can reach the relevant authorities.

Origin is the ‘economic’ nationality of goods traded in commerce. It is the origin that determines which duties apply to your product when it enters the EU market. The rules of origin are used to determine whether a product may be considered as sufficiently linked to the country from which it is exported to say that it ‘originates’ from there.

To benefit from a EPA preferential tariff (duty-free/quota-free) when exporting to the EU, refer to the EPA’s rules of origin applying to your type of clothing. Be aware that the rules of origin applied to each country are not identical in all cases.

Basic concepts of rules of origin - Goods wholly obtained in your country

For example, cotton originates in your country when it is harvested there. Goods sufficiently transformed in your country

The EU rules of origin define – for each product – the degree of processing that must be carried out in your country for the product to be considered as originating there. Three basic criteria determine if a product was sufficiently transformed in your country:

- Value added rule: you need to compare the customs value of the materials not originating in your country with the ex-work price of your final product.

- Change of tariff classification: compare the product code (four-digit tariff classification) of the materials not originating in your country with the product code of your good.

- Specific requirements: you may use the quoted non-originating materials.

In some cases, the applicable rule may involve a combination of the above criteria.

General information about Economic Partnership Agreements Clothing and the regulations for rules of origins in this sector can be found here. [1]

Rules and proofs of origine for the Trade between the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and the EU can be found here. [2]


Producer and supply chain requirements [1]

By promoting the sustainable and responsible management of supply routes within global value chains, the EU aims to ensure that the choices made by European consumers do n undermine human rights, labour rights, environmental protection or economic opportunity in countries further down the supply chain. With its support in this area, the EU underpins efforts to achieve the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals , many of which relate directly to sustainability and responsibility in supply chains.

The EU adopts a horizontal approach to policy formulation, based on Trade Policy Coherence for Development, and so ensures that its policies are better aligned towards the goal of greater sustainability in GVCs. Through its Private Sector Engagement efforts, the EU encourages businesses to invest more responsibly by enhancing market rewards for corporate social and environmental responsibility.

EC actions to support responsible business practices, both within Europe and internationally, are based on its Communication on CSR from 2011. This Communication aims to encourage companies to take responsibility for the impact that activities in their value chains have on society and the environment.

These values are also reflected in ' Trade for All ' - the new trade and investment strategy of the European Union - and in the relevant chapters in the EU's trade and investment agreements, including the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA). The GSP+ scheme also provides a clear structure for engagement with partner countries on sustainability and responsibility issues.

As part of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (Euromed) , the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan has an Association Agreement with the EU, which grants it:

  • duty-free access to the EU market for manufactured goods
  • preferential treatment for agricultural, processed agricultural and fisheries products.

The agreement progressively establishes a free trade area between the EU and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, in conformity with WTO rules.

The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is covered by the European Neighbourhood Policy , specifically by an Action Plan which aims at further liberalisation of trade with the EU.

EU import procedures[1]

EU customs code

EU customs code is the set of rules covering customs matters in trade with non-EU countries. These rules ensure that customs practices in all EU countries are uniform and transparent. Legislation

Registering as an economic operator (EORI number)

The Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number is a unique identifier, assigned by a customs authority in an EU country to all economic operators (both companies and individuals) persons engaging in activities covered by EU customs legislation. Importers established outside the EU will be assigned an EORI the first time they lodge:

  • a customs declaration
  • an entry summary declaration (ENS)
  • an exit summary declaration (EXS)

Operators use this number in all communications with any EU customs authorities where an EU-based identifier is required, for example in customs declarations.

See also the EORI Guidelines

Entry Summary Declaration (ENS)

The entry summary declaration contains advance cargo information about consignments entering the EU. It must be lodged at the first customs office of entry to the EU by the carrier of the goods (by the carrier of the goods, although in some cases it can be done by the importer-consignee, or a representative of the carrier or importer) - even if the goods are not going to be imported in the EU. The deadline for lodging the ENS depends on the mode of transport carrying the goods:

  • Container maritime cargo: at least 24 hours before loading commences in the foreign port
  • Bulk maritime cargo: at least 4 hours before arrival
  • Short sea shipping: at least 2 hours before arrival
  • Short haul flights (less than 4 hours): at least by the actual time of take off of the aircraft
  • Long haul flights (4 hours or more): at least 4 hours before arrival at the first airport in the customs territory of the EU
  • Road traffic: at least 1 hour before arrival.

Note: The Entry Summary Declaration requires information included in documents originating with the exporter (bill of lading, commercial invoices, etc). Make sure these documents reach the party responsible for lodging the declaration in time! More information about the entry summary declaration . The Union Customs Code has introduced more details on risk analysis to this declaration which are expected to be defined in the coming months.See also: Transit movements electronic map

Customs procedures

When goods arrive at the customs office of entry to the EU, they are placed into temporary storage under customs supervision (no longer than 90 days) until they are assigned one of the following customs procedures (or re-exported):

1. Release for free circulation

Goods are released for consumption once all the import requirements have been met:

  • all applicable tariff duties, VAT and excise duties have been paid
  • all applicable authorisations and certificates (e.g. health requirements) have been presented

2. Special procedures

Goods may be placed under any of the following treatments:

Transit , which comprises external and internal transit:

  • External transit: non-Union goods may be moved from one point to another within the customs territory of the EU without being subject to import duties, other charges related to the import of the goods (i.e. internal taxes) and commercial policy measures. Moving goods to another EU Member State means the customs clearance procedures are transferred to the customs office of destination.
  • Internal transit: Union goods may be moved from one point to another within the customs territory of the EU without any change to their customs status. This includes transporting goods through another territory that is outside the EU customs territory.

Storage , which comprises customs warehousing and free zones:

  • Customs warehousing: non-Union goods may be stored in premises or any other location authorised by the customs authorities and under customs supervision ('customs warehouses') without being subject to import duties, other charges related to the import of the goods and commercial policy measures.
  • Free zones: Member States may designate parts of the customs territory of the Union as free zones. They are special areas within the customs territory of the Union where goods can be introduced free of import duties, other charges (i.e. internal taxes) and commercial policy measures, until they are either assigned another approved customs procedure or re-exported. Goods may also undergo simple operations such as processing and re-packing.

Specific use , which comprises temporary admission and end-use:

  • Temporary admission: Non-Union goods can enter the EU without the payment of import duties, provided they are intended for re-export without being changed. The maximum period for temporary import is two years.
  • End-use: goods may be released for free circulation under a duty exemption or at a reduced rate of duty on account of their specific use.

Processing , which comprises inward and outward processing:

  • Inward processing: Goods can be imported into the EU, without being subject to duties, taxes and formalities, to be processed under customs control and then re-exported. If the finished products are ultimately not exported, they become subject to the applicable duties and formalities.
  • Outward processing: Union goods may be temporarily exported from the customs territory of the Union for processing purposes. The processed goods may be released for free circulation with total or partial relief from import duties.

See also:

Customs declaration - Single Administrative Document (SAD)

Goods are placed under customs-approved treatment or use using the Single Administrative Document (SAD) . The use of SAD has several aims:

  • ensuring openness in national administrative requirements
  • rationalize and reduce administrative documentation
  • reduce the amount of requested information
  • standardize and harmonize data

The SAD can be presented to the customs authorities by the importer or a representative, either electronically (each EU country has its own system) or by delivery directly to the premises of the customs office. The SAD covers the placement of any goods whatever the mode of transport used and under any customs procedure, including:

  • export
  • import
  • transit where the new computerised transit system (NCTS) is not yet used
  • warehouses
  • temporary import
  • inward and outward processing

See also:

Value for Customs purposes

Most customs duties and VAT are expressed as a percentage of the value of the goods being imported. Customs authorities define the value of merchandise for customs purposes based on its commercial value at the point of entry into the EU.

This is defined as the purchase price plus delivery costs up to the point where the goods enter the customs territory. This value does not always equal the price stated on the sales contract and may be subject to specific adjustments.

See also: More information on customs valuation

1. Commercial Invoice

The commercial invoice is a record or evidence of the transaction between the exporter and the importer. Once the goods are available, the exporter issues a commercial invoice to the importer in order to charge him for the goods. The commercial invoice contains the basic information on the transaction and it is always required for customs clearance.

2. Customs Value Declaration

The Customs Value Declaration is a document, which must be presented to the customs authorities where the value of the imported goods exceeds EUR 20 000. The Customs Value Declaration must be drawn up conforming to form DV 1, whose specimen is laid down in Annex 8 to Regulation (EU) 2016/341 (OJ L-69 15/03/2016) (CELEX 32016R0341) known as UCC Transitional Delegated Act. This form must be presented with the Single Administrative Document (SAD). The main purpose of this requirement is to assess the value of the transaction in order to fix the customs value (taxable value) to apply the tariff duties.

3. Freight Documents (Transport Documentation)

Depending on the means of transport used, the following documents are to be filled in and presented to the customs authorities of the importing European Union (EU) Member State (MS) upon importation in order for the goods to be cleared:

  • Bill of Lading
  • FIATA Bill of Lading
  • Road Waybill (CMR)
  • Air Waybill (AWB)
  • Rail Waybill (CIM)
  • ATA Carnet
  • TIR Carnet

4. Freight Insurance

The insurance is an agreement by which the insured is indemnified in the event of damages caused by a risk covered in the policy. Insurance is all-important in the transport of goods because of their exposure to more common risks during handling, storing, loading or transporting cargo, but also to other rare risks, such as riots, strikes or terrorism.

5. Packing List

The packing list (P/L) is a commercial document accompanying the commercial invoice and the transport documents. It provides information on the imported items and the packaging details of each shipment (weight, dimensions, handling issues, etc.) It is required for customs clearance as an inventory of the incoming cargo.

More information about EU import procedures can be found under this link . [1]

1. A basic requirement for an export success - in addition to a suitable and demanded product as well as good sales or trading partners - is an honest and self-critical assessment of your company. Ask yourself these questions below and discuss them with your business partners and family. We tried to answer some questions at least partially. But first and foremost, your knowledge and initiative is important.

Is the product suitable for export?

Is there enough time available for company management and employees for foreign activities?

Does the company have enough employees for additional activities?

Is the know-how of the employees sufficient?

Are your language skills and / the language skills or of the employees sufficient?

Is there enough capacity to meet an increasing demand if the start was good?

Do other business areas (e.g. product development, other marketing activities) need to be limited to save time and money?

Do you need to build up additional capacities (e.g. production, logistics, accounting, sales, marketing)?

2. Choosing the right target market is also very important. The fact that you are convinced of your product does not automatically mean that it is also the potential customers of the chosen target market.

Is the new foreign market different from the markets you know?

Which specific customer groups do you want to address?

Which (other) needs do the customers have?

How do your products cover these needs?

What prices are paid for comparable products?

How do you want to fit into this price structure?

Are special labeling requirements for your product to be observed?

What financial options do the customers have you want to address?

Which distribution channels you can use to reach these customers?

Which competitors are there in the target market?

Are you familiar with the customs (payment methods, traditional delivery and insurance conditions, cultural features) of the target market?

Is your target market really the right one?

3. Sales abroad - at least in the start-up phase - will be unsuccessful without reliable partners in the target market.

How do you find customers or business partners in the target market?

How do you plan your customer and business partner relationship management?

How can you distribute your products successfully in the target market?

What should you pay attention to during business talks?

4. It's always about the money. Before you make money with the export, you first have to spend money. Check your budget, to make an honest decision: can you even afford the export?

What financial resources are available to you?

Which budget do you plan for your export activities (a budget set in advance makes the step abroad financially calculable even in the case of a failure)?

Are you liquid enough to finance the foreign engagement?

Can you use or finance unused capacity in the event of a sluggish course (e.g. in the start-up phase)?

Do you need to translate, print and distribute promotional materials?

Do you have to pay for consultants and interpreters?

5. No risk, no fun, as it is jokingly called, but a risk assessment is indispensable.

Are there any financial sponsorship programs or special export promotion programs for your products?

Are there any insurance policies that reduce the risk of exports?

How will export affect the financial situation of your company?

Some (in any case incomplete) answers

Is the new foreign market different from the markets you know? How do you find customers or business partners in the target market?

There are different possibilities.

Attend international fairs in your country that are relevant to your product - you probably do that anyway.

Go to exhibitors from your target market and get in touch.

Check which trade fairs take place in the destination country that are relevant to your product - for example, via the AUMA.[1] Consider whether it is worth visiting. You should not immediately think about presenting yourself as an exhibitor (these are unnecessary costs in the first step). See such trade shows as an opportunity to engage with potential distributors and get to know potential competitors. Incidentally, you can also easily get an idea about the offer and prices in the relevant stores of the target market.

Good sources of information are also bilateral chambers in your country or other foreign business organizations. For example, German Chambers of Commerce abroad usually publish product-specific inquiries from Germany free of charge on their websites, so use the online offers of the foreign chambers.

If there is no chamber representation of the target market in your country, look for contact with the embassy of the target market in your country. As a rule, there is an economic officer in every embassy who will gladly advise you. Apart from that, contacts to the embassy of the destination country are always worthwhile...

German and other foreign chambers of commerce also offer targeted address research and support in contacting them. Consider whether you should accept bids to help you get in touch, even though they are usually chargeable. Let's be honest: It makes a difference whether a company representative unknown until then by the potential distribution partner or an official institution of the target market announces itself.

Maintain contacts to companies from the target market, located in your country - also via chambers and trade associations. Even if they have nothing to do with your product at first glance: Relationships only harm those who have none. You get first-hand information about the destination country and who knows, maybe the person you are talking to will have interesting contacts in your industry.

How do you plan your customer and business partner relationship management?

Making contacts is relatively easy; maintaining business contacts over a longer period of time is much more difficult. But doing business with an existing client is much easier and cheaper than constantly recruiting. The following tips make it easier to maintain contacts:

Information: Inform your customers about changes - new contact persons or direct dial numbers, new products and locations, new distribution channels or export successes. It also encourages customers to share similar information with you. So you stay up to date. Also inform foreign customers about changed funding opportunities or new export regulation You show that you do not just want to do current business: In the sense of a holistic customer relationship you have the well-being of the customer in mind.

Personal: Do not hesitate to collect personal information about your most important business partners: birthdays, family, hobbies, etc. This gives you the opportunity to stay in contact outside the business relationship - on a very personal level.

Invitations: Invite customers over and over again when there is something new or when you are presenting at a trade fair or similar.

Cultural features: If you have foreign customers, it is important to know the customs of the exporting country more closely. When are holidays? Which gifts are usual? Take advantage of these opportunities to be remembered as an attentive business partner.

Spontaneity: Do not be afraid to call "spontaneously" if, for example, an important intermediate step has been reached in order processing. Your customer will be grateful to you, because he always feels sufficiently informed.

Business environment: Maintain contacts not only with your actual business partners, but also with your Business environment. Secretary, assistant or important employees are decisive multipliers for future orders.

It is difficult to give universal rules and guidelines for the European Union - we are talking about 28 countries and 28 different nations, each with very different cultural habits and different business cultures.

Therefore, here are just a few general rules.

Preparing for export means preparing for new business encounters. Remember that first impressions can only be made once and that being unprepared for a meeting, or not knowing what are the norms and customs of your business partner, can decrease your chance of establishing a business relationship. The following tips will help you when preparing to meet with a European business partner.

Be well prepared. This counts in terms of having an agenda for the meeting, sufficient business cards, a pricelist of your products, and informing yourself about your business partner.

Think about how you can deliver your products, how many, and how quickly, to the potential customer. Know the business culture. There are differences in language, culture and business practices in the different EU countries. Familiarizing yourself with the country’s customs and habits is important. Know something about the local politics or sports.

Having a few introductory talking points can go far in setting the right mood for the business meeting.

Define what the goal is of your meeting. Clearly defining what you want to get out of a meeting or visit will provide clarity to you and your business partner. This can be anything from a general introduction to finalizing a sale.

Translate your business cards and catalogue into the local language. This will impress your customers and shows that you are serious about doing business there. To avoid possible embarrassment, get all translations double checked by a native speaker.

Have information brochures or flyers about your company and products. Make sure your information material is easy to read and informative. Include any customer testimonials you have. Having product samples with you can be helpful in demonstrating the quality or uniqueness of your product. In addition, ensure your business is easily available to your international clients.

Give follow-up to the agreed action points. To a large extent doing business is about trust. Earning this trust through keeping your word is one of the easiest ways of creating a good business relationship. However, don’t make promises you can’t keep.

Further information on business culture in Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands, France, Austria and Luxembourg can be found at this link.[1] More about life and business in the EU can be found here.[2]

Are there any financial sponsorship programs or special export promotion programs for your products?

Here you should talk with banks from the target market, if they are represented in your country and of course with your house bank. Chambers and business associations are other good contacts. It is important to have contact with international development cooperation organizations. These can provide information on ongoing projects in your industry and related funding opportunities. Use the discussions with the international development cooperation organizations to obtain information on other organizations, such as foreign foundations, where further information on potential export subsidies is available.

Austria - Austro – Arab Chamber of Commerce

Belgium - Arab – Belgian – Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce

Belgium - Brussels office Arab – Belgian – Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce



CBI – Centre for the Promotion of Imports from developing countries






EU Trade Helpdesk

France - Arab Franco Chamber of Commerce

France – CCI FRANCE Jordanie France – CAFRAJ


Germany - Chambre Algéro-Allemande de Commerce et d'Industrie

Germany - Chambre Allemande de Commerce et d'Industrie au Maroc

Germany - Chambre Tuniso-Allemande de l'Industrie et du Commerce

Germany - German-Arab Chamber of Industry and Commerce

Germany - German-Saudi Arabian Liaison Office for Economic Affairs (GESALO)

Germany – Ghorfa Arab – German Chamber of Commerce & Industry

Germany - The German Industry and Commerce (UAE)