As a member of the European Union, Germany has chosen to participate in the community's standard tariffs and practices for imports. As with most markets, import duties are handled by German Customs and depend on the country of origin, type of goods and their value. Germany, as all EU members, maintains strict standards for the quality of goods entering its borders. All goods must be accompanied by the appropriate documentation. Online customs declarations are available for Germany.
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EU Countries Importing to Germany
Import duties are not applied to goods being imported into Germany from fellow European Union markets. The Single European Market means goods can be freely moved within participating countries. For Germany, this means goods imported are exempt from import duties when they originate from an EU state or have already been cleared by customs of another EU state before arriving in Germany. Statistics on the volume of trade within Germany, and the entire EU, are monitored by the Intrastat system. In Germany, under this system, companies whose trade volume exceeds €400,000 must report to the Federal Statistical Office.
Common Customs Tariff
Germany, as part of the EU, uses the TARIC -- an online customs tariff database -- to determine the duties relevant to all imports into Germany. The TARIC comprises a shared classification of goods and their customs value. Goods are evaluated based on their value, ad-valorem and importers must provide an official invoice demonstrating the sale price of the goods. German laws dictate the information required on such invoices when importing into Germany.
Preferential Trade Agreements
Germany also participates with all agreements between the EU and other countries that provide importers reduced formalities and import duties. These preferential trade agreements exist between Germany (via the EU) and many other countries including Switzerland, Norway, Turkey, 48 African nations, 16 Caribbean nations, Mexico, South Africa and several Balkan states. Each country must complete the relevant documentation to import into Germany or any EU country. Details of each participating country's benefits are available online, as are many declaration forms to determine import duties in Germany.
Germany has a one-stop help centre for all information on importing and import duties. The Customs' Information and Knowledge Management (Customs' IKM) can be contacted by post, phone, fax or e-mail.
The Customs' Information and Knowledge Management
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