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Selling US Goods and Services in the EU

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MR-183/ Fighting Late Payments in the EU

Many payments in commercial transactions are delayed or late, resulting in losses to businesses especially small-and-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). According to the European Commission (EC) this costs Europe 450,000 jobs and $32 billion every year. This report explains the rules and protection mechanisms introduced by Directive 2011/7/EU on combating late payment in commercial transactions that is designed to alter the late payment culture in Europe. The Directive applies to all commercial transactions in business-to-business (B2B) and in public-authorities-to-business (PA2B) but does NOT apply to business-to-consumer (B2C) transactions. U.S. businesses should take this Directive into account for all the contracts they sign that fall under a European country’s law.

MR-161/ VAT impact on US businesses

This report provides an overview of the EU’s VAT rules and how they impact U.S. exporters of goods and services to the EU.  VAT is a consumption tax that is charged on most goods and services sold in the EU.  The lists of VAT exemptions are defined by the individual EU Member States and thus vary from country to country.  While the guidelines for VAT policy are set at the EU level, the Member States implement, administer and enforce the rules. Therefore, while the EU sets minimum rates, Member States define their own VAT rates, which currently vary between 17%-27%.  Member States, at their discretion, may apply reduced rates for specific goods and services, or even temporary derogations.  This report focuses on the basic set of principles that will help U.S. companies understand and navigate the VAT system.

MR 130/ Understanding EU Customs

Member States of the European Union operate one common customs union with a common tariff system for third country operators. Trade between member states is free of tariffs. The Union Customs Code (UCC) which is the legislative background to the customs proceedings can be found in Regulation 952/2013. UCC entered into force in October 2013 and its main provisions apply from May 1, 2016. In addition to the main Regulation, there are two other policies: a Delegated and an Implementing Act that detail the actual procedures, the forms and the required documentation of importers and exporters.

The Union Customs Code's Implementing Act specifies the procedural rules for some of its elements. It intends to ensure the existence of uniform conditions for the implementation of the UCC and a harmonized application of procedures by all Member States. The delegated act  establishes transitional rules for operators and customs authorities pending the introduction of new IT systems to create a fully electronic customs environment. These three legislations replace the previous Regulation called Modernized Community Customs Code (MCCC) which was in place from 2008 and signal a complete a shift to fully electronic customs procedures.

MR-109/ The New Machine Directive

Machines are subject to product safety requirements in the European Union. At the end of 2009, the legislation currently in force (Directive 98/37/EC) will be replaced by the recently adopted "New Machinery Directive" 2006/42/EC. This report will focus on the steps to comply with the new machinery directive, highlighting some of the changes compared to the existing legislation. Manufacturers who already sell on the EU market will want to consider the implications of the new machinery directive for their product.

MR-103/ European Union: EU Marking, Labeling and Packaging- An Overview

There is a broad array of EU legislation pertaining to the marking, labeling and packaging of products, with neither an “umbrella” law covering all goods nor any central directory containing information on marking, labeling and packaging requirements. This overview is meant to provide the reader with a general introduction to the multitude of marking, labeling and packing requirements or marketing tools to be found in the EU.

MR-117 / E-commerce with the EU

This report will address the range of regulatory issues that should be taken into account by US companies wanting to do business with EU customers over the Internet. It consists of a series of paragraphs addressing various aspects of EU law that affects e-commerce. Of necessity, this report is a high-level summary. In all cases, links are provided to Web addresses that provide more complete information. The summary below is intended as an aid only. E-commerce is one of the most lightly regulated areas of the EU economy. The legal framework is relatively consistent across the EU; as a result, it should be a major motor of transatlantic trade.


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