European Union Customs Union
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The European Union Customs Union (EUCU) is a customs union which consists of all the member states of the European Union (EU), Monaco, and some dependencies of the United Kingdom which are not part of the EU.[a] Some detached territories of EU members do not participate in the customs union, usually as a result of their geographic separation.[b] In addition to the EUCU, the EU is in customs unions with Andorra, San Marino, and Turkey (with the exceptions of certain goods),[c] through separate bilateral agreements.
The customs union is a principal component of the European Union, since its establishment in 1958 as the European Economic Community. There are no tariffs or non-tariff barriers to trade between members of the customs union and – unlike a free trade area – members of the customs union impose a common external tariff on all goods entering the union.
The European Commission negotiates for and on behalf of the Union as a whole in international trade deals (such as that with Canada and many others), rather than each member state negotiating individually. It also represents the Union in the World Trade Organization and any trade disputes mediated through it.
|State / territory||Agreement||Entry into force||Notes|
|Monaco||Franco-Monegasque Customs Convention||1963|
| United Kingdom in respect of
Akrotiri and Dhekelia
|Act concerning the conditions of accession of the Czech Republic, the Republic of Estonia, the Republic of Cyprus, the Republic of Latvia, the Republic of Lithuania, the Republic of Hungary, the Republic of Malta, the Republic of Poland, the Republic of Slovenia and the Slovak Republic and the adjustments to the Treaties on which the European Union is founded
Protocol No 3 on the sovereign base areas of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Cyprus
|1 May 2004|
| United Kingdom in respect of
|Documents concerning the accession to the European Communities of the Kingdom of Denmark, Ireland, the Kingdom of Norway and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Protocol No 3 on the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man
|1 January 1973|
Bilateral customs unions
Andorra, San Marino and Turkey, a candidate for EU membership, are each in a customs union with the EU.
|State||Agreement||Entry into force||Notes|
|Andorra||Agreement in the form of an Exchange of Letters between the European Economic Community and the Principality of Andorra – Joint Declarations||1 January 1991||Excludes agricultural products|
|San Marino||Agreement on Cooperation and Customs Union between the European Economic Community and the Republic of San Marino||16 December 1991|
|Turkey||Decision No 1/95 of the EC-Turkey Association Council of 22 December 1995 on implementing the final phase of the European Union–Turkey Customs Union||31 December 1995||Excludes agricultural products|
EU territories with an opt-out
While all EU member states are part of the customs union, not all of their respective territories participate. Territories of member states which have remained outside of the EU (overseas territories of the European Union) generally do not participate in the customs union.
However, four EU member countries have territories that do not participate in the customs union:
- Büsingen am Hochrhein (a German exclave within Switzerland, part of the Switzerland–Liechtenstein customs area)
- Campione d’Italia and the adjacent Italian waters of Lake Lugano (an Italian exclave within Switzerland, part of the Switzerland–Liechtenstein customs area), and Livigno
- Ceuta and Melilla (the two Spanish autonomous cities in Africa).
- French Polynesia, the French Southern and Antarctic Lands, New Caledonia, Saint Barthélemy, Saint Pierre and Miquelon and Wallis and Futuna: “The French overseas countries and territories to which the provisions of Part Four of the TFEU apply”.
The following are not listed in Regulation 952/2013 but may be non-participant for other reasons:
Union Customs Code
The Union Customs Code (UCC), intended to modernise customs procedures, entered into force on 1 May 2016. Implementation will take place over a period of time and full implementation is anticipated by 31 December 2020 at the latest. The European Commission has stated that the aims of the UCC are simplicity, service and speed.
Common external tariffs
The EU Customs Union sets the tariff rates for imports to the EU from other countries. These rates are detailed and depend on the specific type of product imported, and can also vary by the time of year. The full WTO Most Favoured Nation tariff rates apply only to those countries that do not have a Free Trade Agreement with the EU, or are not on a WTO recognised exemption scheme such as Everything but Arms (an EU support arrangement for Least Developed Countries).
- European Customs Information Portal
- European Economic Area (EU and EFTA except Switzerland)
- European Free Trade Association (EFTA)
- European integration
- European Single Market
- European Union–Turkey Customs Union
- Free trade areas in Europe
- Non-tariff barriers to trade
- FAQ: Customs, Taxation and Customs Union, European Commission. Retrieved 20 August 2016.
- Customs unions, Taxation and Customs Union, European Commission. Retrieved 20 August 2016.
- Erskine, Daniel H (2006). “The United States-EC Dispute Over Customs Matters: Trade Facilitation, Customs Unions, and the Meaning of WTO Obligations”. Florida Journal of International Law. 18: 432–485.
- “Taxation and Customs – FAQ”. European Commission. Archived from the original on 8 June 2012. Retrieved 12 September 2012.
- “Council Regulation (EEC) No 2913/92 of 12 October 1992 establishing the Community Customs Code”. Official Journal of the European Union. 19 October 1992. Retrieved 12 September 2012.
- “EUR-Lex – 12003T/PRO/03 – Act concerning the conditions of accession of the Czech Republic, the Republic of Estonia, the Republic of Cyprus, the Republic of Latvia, the Republic of Lithuania, the Republic of Hungary, the Republic of Malta, the Republic of Poland, the Republic of Slovenia and the Slovak Republic and the adjustments to the Treaties on which the European Union is founded – Protocol No 3 on the sovereign base areas of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland on Cyprus”. eur-lex.europa.eu.
- “EUR-Lex – 11972B/PRO/03 – DOCUMENTS CONCERNING THE ACCESSION TO THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITIES OF THE KINGDOM OF DENMARK, IRELAND, THE KINGDOM OF NORWAY AND THE UNITED KINGDOM OF GREAT BRITAIN AND NORTHERN IRELAND, PROTOCOL NO 3 ON THE CHANNEL ISLANDS AND THE ISLE OF MAN”. eur-lex.europa.eu.
- “Andorra: Customs Unions and preferential arrangements”. European Commission. Archived from the original on 26 October 2012. Retrieved 12 September 2012.
- “Agreement on Cooperation and Customs Union between the European Economic Community and the Republic of San Marino”.
- “Decision No 1/95 of the EC-Turkey Association Council of 22 December 1995 on implementing the final phase of the Customs Union” (PDF).
- Territorial status of EU countries and certain territories – European Commission, retrieved 18 December 2018
- Article 6 of Council Directive 2006/112/EC, 28 November 2006
- “REGULATION (EU) No 952/2013 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 9 October 2013 laying down the Union Customs Code, Article 4” (PDF). EURLEX. October 2013. p. 11. Retrieved 17 December 2018.
- “Consolidated Version of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (Annex II)”. European Commission. p. 336. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
- Article 28 of the Act concerning the conditions of Accession and the Adjustments to the Treaties, 22 January 1972
- “Union Customs Code – Taxation and customs union – European Commission”. Taxation and customs union.
- UCC: an Introduction, accessed 29 January 2017
- Taric and Quota Data & Information – European Commission Communication and Information Resource Centre for Administrations, Businesses and Citizens.
- TARIC database enquiry system, gives current tariff rates applicable by exporting country and season – European Commission: Communication and Information Resource Centre for Administrations, Businesses and Citizens.
- TARIC and Quota Data & Information: user guides for the TARIC database above – European Commission: Communication and Information Resource Centre for Administrations, Businesses and Citizens.
- Turkey border gridlock hints at pain to come for Brexit Britain Financial Times, February 16, 2017