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  • Import Tariffs
  • Trade Barriers
  • Import Requirements and Documentation
  • U.S. Export Controls
  • Temporary Entry
  • Labeling and Marking Requirements
  • Prohibited and Restricted Imports
  • Customs Regulations and Contact Information
  • Standards
  • Trade Agreements
  • Web Resources

Import Tariffs

The Integrated Tariff of the Community, referred to as TARIC (Tarif Intégré de la Communauté), is designed to show the various rules which apply to specific products being imported into the customs territory of the EU or, in some cases, exported from it. To determine if a license is required for a particular product, check the TARIC.

The TARIC can be searched by country of origin, Harmonized System (HS) Code, and product description on the interactive website of the Directorate-General for Taxation and the Customs Union. The online TARIC is updated daily.

Key Link: http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/customs/customs_duties/tariff_aspects/customs_tariff/index_en.htm

Trade Barriers

For information on existing trade barriers, please see the National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers, published by USTR and available through the following website: http://www.ustr.gov/sites/default/files/2013 percent20NTE percent20European percent20Union percent20Final.pdf

Information on agricultural trade barriers can be found at the following website:


To report existing or new trade barriers and get assistance in removing them, contact either the Trade Compliance Center at http://www.trade.gov/tcc or the U.S. Mission to the European Union at http://export.gov/europeanunion/

Import Requirements and Documentation

The TARIC (Tarif Intégré de la Communauté), described above, is available to help determine if a license is required for a particular product.

Many EU member states maintain their own list of goods subject to import licensing.

For example, Germany's "Import List" (Einfuhrliste) includes goods for which licenses are required, their code numbers, any applicable restrictions, and the agency that will issue the relevant license. The Import List also indicates whether the license is required under German or EU law.

Practically all goods originating in the United States can be imported into Italy without import licensing or free of quantitative restrictions. Only a small group of agricultural items may be subject to import regulations. There are, however, monitoring measures applied to imports of certain sensitive products. The most important of these measures are the import licenses for dual-use items. The import license is the responsibility of the Italian importer and is granted by the Italian Ministry of Economic Development. Importers may download the application (international import certificate) from the Ministry’s website at http://www.mincomes.it/dualuse/dualuse_2010/moduli_2010/modulo_internazionale_import.pdf.

Various controlled products (such as arms and munitions), are the most frequently regulated items. Import licenses are generally granted for goods of U.S. origin rapidly and delays are usually caused by lack of proper documentation, or information.

Licenses are not transferable, although they may be used to cover several shipments within the total quantity authorized. In general, the goods involved are indicated on the license by the Harmonized System classification number and the corresponding wording of the tariff position.

For information relevant to member state import licenses, please consult the relevant member state Country Commercial Guide: EU Member States' Country Commercial Guides or conduct a search on the Commerce Department’s Market Research Library, available from: http://www.export.gov/mrktresearch/index.asp.

Import Documentation

Non-agricultural Documentation

The official model for written declarations to customs is the Single Administrative Document (SAD). European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries including Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein also use the SAD. However, other forms may be used for this purpose. Information on import/export forms is contained in Title VII, of Council Regulation (EEC) No. 2454/93, which lays down provisions for the implementation of Council Regulation (EEC) No. 2913/92 establishing the Community Customs Code (Articles 205 through 221). Articles 222 through 224 provide for computerized customs declarations and Articles 225 through 229 provide for oral declarations.

Additional information on import/export documentation can be found in Title III, of Council Regulation (EEC) No. 2913/92 of October 12, 1992, establishing the Community Customs Code (Articles 37 through 57). Goods brought into the customs territory of the Community are, from the time of their entry, subject to customs supervision until customs formalities are completed.

Goods presented to customs are covered by a summary declaration, which is lodged once the goods have been presented to customs. The customs authorities may, however, allow a period for lodging the declaration, which cannot be extended beyond the first working day following the day on which the goods are presented to customs. The summary declaration can be made on a form corresponding to the model prescribed by the customs authorities. However, the customs authorities may permit the use, as a summary declaration, of any commercial or official document that contains the particulars necessary for identification of the goods. It is encouraged that the summary declaration be made in computerized form.

The summary declaration is to be lodged by:

  • the person who brought the goods into the customs territory of the Community or by any person who assumes responsibility for carriage of the goods following such entry; or
  • the person in whose name the person referred to above acted.

Non-EU goods presented to customs must be assigned a customs-approved treatment or use authorized for such non-Community goods. Where goods are covered by a summary declaration, the formalities for them to be assigned a customs-approved treatment or use must be carried out:

  • 45 days from the date on which the summary declaration is lodged in the case of goods carried by sea;
  • 20 days from the date on which the summary declaration is lodged in the case of goods carried other than by sea.

Where circumstances so warrant, the customs authorities may set a shorter period or authorize an extension of the period.

The Modernized Customs Code (MCC) of the European Union is expected to be fully put into place by 2013 although there are concerns that this deadline may be missed due to the complexity of the project. Some facets of the MCC implementation have already been put into place such as Economic Operators Registration and Idendification (EORI) numbers. The MCC will replace the existing Regulation 2913/92 and simplify various procedures such as introducing a paperless environment, centralized clearance, and more. Check the EU’s Customs website periodically for updates: http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/customs/procedural_aspects/general/community_code/index_en.htm.


EU battery rules changed in September 2006 following the publication of the Directive on batteries and accumulators and waste batteries and accumulators (Directive 2006/66). This Directive replaces the original Battery Directive of 1991 (Directive 91/157). The updated Directive applies to all batteries and accumulators put on the EU market including automotive, industrial and portable batteries. It aims to protect the environment by restricting the sale of batteries and accumulators that contain mercury or cadmium (with an exemption for emergency and alarm systems, medical equipment and cordless power tools) and by promoting a high level of collection and recycling. It places the responsibility on producers to finance the costs associated with the collection, treatment, and recycling of used batteries and accumulators. The Directive also includes provisions on the labeling of batteries and their removability from equipment. For more information, see our market research report: http://www.buyusainfo.net/docs/x_8086174.pdf or visit the CS EU website Batteries Direct page at: http://www.buyusa.gov/europeanunion/batteries.html


REACH is a major reform of EU chemicals policy that was adopted in December 2006 and became national law in the 27 EU Member States in June 2007 (Regulation 1907/2006). Virtually every industrial sector, from automobiles to textiles, is affected by the new policy. REACH stands for the "Registration, Evaluation and Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals." Since June 1 2008, REACH requires chemicals produced or imported into the EU in volumes above 1 ton per year per to be registered with a central European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), including information on their properties, uses and safe ways of handling them. Chemicals pre-registered before December 1 2008, benefit from extended registration deadlines, from three to eleven years depending on the volume of the substance and its hazard properties. U.S. companies without a presence in Europe cannot register directly and must have their chemicals registered through their importer or EU-based ‘Only Representative of non-EU manufacturer’. A list of Only Representatives can be found on the website of the U.S. Mission to the EU: http://www.buyusa.gov/europeanunion/reach.html.

U.S. exporters to the EU should carefully consider the REACH ‘Candidate List’ of substances of very high concern. Substances on that list are subject to communication requirements and may at a later stage require Authorization for the EU market. For more information, see the ECHA website:



EU rules on waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE), while not requiring specific customs or import paperwork, may entail a financial obligation for U.S. exporters. They require U.S. exporters to register the products with a national WEEE authority, or arrange for this to be done by a local partner. Similarly, related rules for EEE restricting the use of the hazardous substances (RoHS) lead, cadmium, mercury, hexavalent chromium, PBBs, and PBDEs, do not entail customs or importation paperwork. However, U.S. exporters may be asked by a European RoHS enforcement authority or by a customer to provide evidence of due diligence in compliance with the substance bans on a case-by-case basis. The WEEE and RoHS Directives are currently being revised to enlarge the scope and add substances to be banned in electrical and electronic equipment; the new rules could take effect as early as 2011. U.S. exporters seeking more information on WEEE and RoHS regulations should visit: http://www.buyusa.gov/europeanunion/weee.html

Agricultural Documentation

Phytosanitary Certificates: Phytosanitary certificates are required for most fresh fruits, vegetables, and other plant materials.

Sanitary Certificates: For commodities composed of animal products or by-products, EU countries require that shipments be accompanied by a certificate issued by the competent authority of the exporting country. This applies regardless of whether the product is for human consumption, for pharmaceutical use, or strictly for non-human use (e.g., veterinary biologicals, animal feeds, fertilizers, research). The vast majority of these certificates are uniform throughout the EU, but the harmonization process is not complete. During this transition period, certain Member State import requirements continue to apply. In addition to the legally required EU health certificates, a number of other certificates are used in international trade. These certificates, which may also be harmonized in EU legislation, certify origin for customs purposes and certain quality attributes. Up-to-date information on harmonized import requirements can be found at the following website: http://www.fas.usda.gov/posthome/useu/certificates-overview.html

Sanitary Certificates (Fisheries): In April 2006, the European Union declared the U.S. seafood inspection system as equivalent to the European one. Consequently, a specific public health certificate must accompany U.S. seafood shipments. Commission Decision 2006/199/EC places specific conditions on imports of fishery products from the U.S. Sanitary certificates for live shellfish are covered by Commission Regulation (EC) 1664/2006 and must be used for gastropods, bivalve mollusks, tunicates and echinoderms. The two competent Authorities for issuing sanitary certificates are the FDA and the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS/NOAA/USDC).

Since May 1, 2007, with the implementation of the second Hygiene Package, aquaculture products coming from the United States must be accompanied by a public health certificate according to Commission Decision 2006/199/EC and the animal health attestation included in the new fishery products certificate covered by Regulation (EC) 1664/2006. This animal health attestation is not required in the case of live bivalve mollusks intended for immediate human consumption (retail).

For detailed information on import documentation for seafood, please contact the NOAA Fisheries office at the U.S. Mission to the EU (stephane.vrignaud@trade.gov) or visit the following FDA dedicated web site: http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/.

U.S. Export Controls

For controlled items needing licenses, contact the Export Administration http://www.bis.doc.gov

Temporary Entry

Material may temporarily be imported into Italy without payment of duties or tax if the material is to be used in the production or manufacture of a product that is to be exported. The importer gives a security deposit, usually in the form of a guarantee from a bank or insurance company, for the amount of the usual duties and taxes. Upon exportation of the finished product, the guarantee is released or the deposit returned.

Temporary entry of goods intended to be re-exported in the same condition is permissible free of import duties and taxes upon approval of an application by Italian Customs.

Italy participates in the International Convention to Facilitate the Importation of Commercial Samples and Advertising Materials. Samples of negligible value imported to promote sales are accorded duty-free and tax-free treatment. Prior authorization is not required. To determine whether the samples are of negligible value, their value is compared with a commercial shipment of the same product. Granting of duty-free status may require that the samples be rendered useless for future sale by marking, perforating, cutting, or other means.

Imported samples of commercial value may be granted a temporary entry with exemption from custom charges. However, a bond or cash deposit may be required as security that the goods will be removed from the country. This security is the duty and tax normally levied plus 10 percent. Samples may remain in the country for up to 1 year. They may not be sold, put to their normal use (except for demonstration purposes), or utilized in any manner for remuneration. Goods imported as samples may be imported only in quantities constituting a sample according to normal commercial usage.

Samples of products, without commercial value, are admitted free of duty and taxes. Product literature should be marked "product literature - no commercial value". Samples with commercial value are also admitted duty and tax free, provided that the following conditions are complied with:

(a) The samples are accompanied by a representative of the U.S. firm with a statement, notarized by an Italian Consulate, identifying the commercial traveler and attesting to the intention that the samples are being imported into Italy only for show or demonstration, and will be re-exported without sale.

(b) A certificate of origin from a recognized chamber of commerce is submitted to identify the source of the goods.

(c) A deposit or bond, in the amount of the applicable customs duties and taxes, is made at the point of entry. This will be refunded when the goods are re-exported.

(d) A list (in duplicate) with a full description of each sample, including weight and value, is submitted. It is helpful to have such a list in Italian.

In practice, samples valued in excess of 2,582 Euro ($3,380) are practically impossible to clear through Italian customs informally. In such cases, it is advisable to engage the services of a local freight forwarder.

As a result of various customs agreements, simplified procedures are available to U.S. business and professional people for the temporary importation of commercial samples and professional equipment. A carnet is a customs document that facilitates clearance for temporary imports of samples or equipment. With a carnet, goods may be imported without the payment of duty, tax, or additional security. The carnet also usually saves time since formalities are all arranged before leaving the United States. A carnet is usually valid for 1 year from the date of issuance. A bond or cash deposit of 40 percent of the value of the goods covered by the carnet is required, in addition to the price of the carnet. This will be forfeited in the event the products are not re-exported and duties and taxes are not paid.

Carnets are sold in the United States by the U.S. Council for International Business at the following locations:

  • 1212 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10036, (212) 354-4480; or 1400 K Street NW, Suite 905, Washington, DC 20005, (202) 371-1316, email at info@uscib.org.
  • Website: www.uscib.org

Goods in Transit

Goods may clear customs with an EU transit procedure, issuing a single transit document under which the goods may be easily shipped across frontiers of the EU member states. These transit documents are completed for the importer by freight forwarders in Italy. The EU transit document provides the basis for a single, comprehensive procedure covering the goods within the EU. Since the single transit document is an EU form, the European importer, customs house broker, freight forwarder, or shipper must prepare the document at the point of entry.

Inward and Outward Processing

Inward processing is the temporary importation of raw material or products for additional manufacture or processing. Merchandise imported for additional processing and eventual re-export out of the EU is eligible for custom-free treatment.

The re-exported goods may be partly or totally processed. The import duty and taxes are levied only on those goods that are not re-exported and are finally sold in the EU. To qualify for inward processing, an Italian (or EU) firm must satisfy customs that it is necessary to use imported goods instead of EU goods; state an intention to export products manufactured from the imported goods (or equivalent goods available in the EU); and assure that, upon re-exportation, the conditions set forth in the authorization are satisfied, the exported products are accounted for, and the entered goods are identifiable and relate to specific importations.

In outward processing, a firm in Italy may export goods, for further manufacture or processing, from the EU customs area and then re-import the final product. Duties and taxes are levied only on the increased value added by the expatriate manufacturing or processing when the goods are returned to Italy, not on the total value of the product. Only firms located in Italy or other EU countries are eligible to take advantage of this option, by gaining approval of the Customs authorities.

Labeling and Marking Requirements

An overview of EU mandatory and voluntary labeling and marking requirements has been compiled in a market research report that is available at: http://www.buyusainfo.net/docs/x_4171929.pdf.

The subject has been also been covered in the section about standards (see below).

Prohibited and Restricted Imports

The TARIC is designed to show various rules applying to specific products being imported into the customs territory of the EU or, in some cases, when exported from it. To determine if a product is prohibited or subject to restriction, check the TARIC for that product for the following codes:

CITES Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species

PROHI Import Suspension

RSTR Import Restriction

For information on how to access the TARIC, see the Import Requirements and Documentation Section above.

Key Link: http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/common/databases/taric/index_en.htm

Customs Regulations and Contact Information

Homepage of Customs and Taxation Union Directorate (TAXUD) Website

Key Link: http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/customs/index_en.htm

Major Regulatory Efforts of the EC Customs and Taxation Union Directorate:

Electronic Customs Initiative – Deals with major EU Customs modernization developments to improve and facilitate trade in the EU Member States. The electronic customs initiative is essentially based on the following three pieces of legislation:

  • The Security and Safety Amendment to the Customs Code22, which provides for full computerization of all procedures related to security and safety;
  • The Decision on the paperless environment for customs and trade (Electronic Customs Decision23) which sets the basic framework and major deadlines for the electronic customs projects;
  • The modernized Community Customs Code24 which provides for the completion of the computerization of customs

Key Link: http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/customs/policy_issues/electronic_customs_initiative/electronic_customs_legislation/index_en.htm

Customs Valuation – Most customs duties and value added tax (VAT) are expressed as a percentage of the value of goods being declared for importation. Thus, it is necessary to dispose of a standard set of rules for establishing the goods' value, which will then serve for calculating the customs duty.

The EU imports in excess of one trillion euro worth of goods (year 2004 estimate). It is vitally important that the value of such commerce is accurately measured, for the purposes of

  • economic and commercial policy analysis,
  • application of commercial policy measures,
  • proper collection of import duties and taxes, and
  • import and export statistics.

These objectives are met using a single instrument - the rules on customs value.

The EU applies an internationally accepted concept of ‘customs value’26.

The value of imported goods is one of the three 'elements of taxation' that provides the basis for assessment of the customs debt, which is the technical term for the amount of duty that has to be paid, the other ones being the origin of the goods and the customs tariff.

Key Link: http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/customs/customs_duties/declared_goods/index_en.htm

Customs and Security – At the end of July 2003, the Commission presented to the Parliament and Council a series of measures to address security issues. These measures can be found in two communications and a proposal for amending the Community Customs Code28. This package brings together the basic concepts underlying the new security-management model for the EU's external borders, such as a harmonized risk assessment system. The security amendment to the Community Customs Code (Regulation (EC) n° 648/2005 of 13 April 200529) has been published in the Official Journal of the European Union on 4 May 2005. With this amendment the European Union introduces a number of measures to tighten security around goods crossing international borders. The measures will mean faster and better-targeted checks. The results are positive for customs authorities, the public and industry.

The measures cover three major changes to the Customs Code:

  • require traders to provide customs authorities with information on goods prior to import to or export from the European Union (see Pre Arrival / Pre Departure Declarations30);
  • provide reliable traders with trade facilitation measures see Authorized Economic Operator31 (AEO);
  • introduce a mechanism for setting uniform Community risk-selection criteria for controls, supported by computerized systems.

Key Link:


Contact Information at national customs authorities:



  • Overview
  • Standards Organizations
  • Conformity Assessment
  • Product Certification
  • Accreditation
  • Publication of Technical Regulations
  • Labeling and Marking
  • Contacts


Products tested and certified in the United States to American standards are likely to have to be retested and re-certified to EU requirements as a result of the EU’s different approach to the protection of the health and safety of consumers and the environment. Where products are not regulated by specific EU technical legislation, they are always subject to the EU’s General Product Safety Directive as well as to possible additional national requirements.

European Union standards created under the New Approach are harmonized across the 27 EU Member States and European Economic Area countries to allow for the free flow of goods. A feature of the New Approach is CE marking. For a list of new approach legislation, go to http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/european-standards/documents/harmonised-standards-legislation/list-references/index_en.htm

While harmonization of EU legislation can facilitate access to the EU Single Market, manufacturers should be aware that regulations and technical standards might also function as barriers to trade if U.S. standards are different from those of the European Union.

Agricultural Standards

The establishment of harmonized EU rules and standards in the food sector has been ongoing for several decades, but it took until January 2002 for the publication of a general food law establishing the general principles of EU food law. This Regulation introduced mandatory traceability throughout the feed and food chain as of Jan 1, 2005. For specific information on agricultural standards, please refer to the Foreign Agricultural Service’s website at: http://www.fas.usda.gov/posthome/useu/

There are also export guides to import regulations and standards available on the Foreign Agricultural Service’s website: http://www.fas.usda.gov/posthome/useu/

Standards Organizations

EU standards setting is a process based on consensus initiated by industry or mandated by the European Commission and carried out by independent standards bodies, acting at the national, European or international level. There is strong encouragement for non-governmental organizations, such as environmental and consumer groups, to actively participate in European standardization.

Many standards in the EU are adopted from international standards bodies such as the International Standards Organization (ISO). The drafting of specific EU standards is handled by three European standards organizations:

  • CENELEC, European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization

(http://www.cenelec.eu/Cenelec/Homepage.htm )

  • ETSI, European Telecommunications Standards Institute (http://www.etsi.org/ )
  • CEN, European Committee for Standardization, handling all other standards

(http://www.cen.eu/cenorm/homepage.htm )

Standards are created or modified by experts in Technical Committees or Working Groups. The members of CEN and CENELEC are the national standards bodies of the Member States, which have "mirror committees" that monitor and participate in ongoing European standardization. CEN and CENELEC standards are sold by the individual Member States standards bodies. ETSI is different in that it allows direct participation in its technical committees from non-EU companies that have interests in Europe and gives away its individual standards at no charge on its website. In addition to the three standards developing organizations, the European Commission plays an important role in standardization through its funding of the participation in the standardization process of small- and medium-sized companies and non-governmental organizations, such as environmental and consumer groups. The Commission also provides money to the standards bodies when it mandates standards development to the European Standards Organization for harmonized standards that will be linked to EU technical legislation. Mandates can be checked on line at http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/european-standards/standardisation-requests/index_en.htm

Due to the EU’s vigorous promotion of its regulatory and standards system as well as its generous funding for its development, the EU’s standards regime is wide and deep - extending well beyond the EU’s political borders to include affiliate members (countries which are hopeful of becoming full members in the future) such as Albania, Croatia, FYR of Macedonia, and Turkey among others. Another category, called "partner standardization body" includes the standards organization of Australia, which is not likely to become a CEN member or affiliate for political or geographical reasons. Many other countries are targets of the EU’s extensive technical assistance program, which is aimed at exporting EU standards and technical Regulations to developing countries, especially in the Mediterranean and Balkan countries, Africa, as well as programs for China and Latin America.

To know what CEN and CENELEC have in the pipeline for future standardization, it is best to visit their websites. CEN’s "sectors" page provides an overview by sector and/or technical committee whereas CENELEC offers the possibility to search its database. ETSI’s portal (http://portal.etsi.org/Portal_Common/home.asp ) leads to ongoing activities.

With the need to adapt more quickly to market needs, European standards organizations have been looking for "new deliverables" which are standard-like products delivered in a shorter timeframe. While few of these "new deliverables" have been linked to EU Regulations, expectations are that they will eventually serve as the basis for EU-wide standards.

Key Link: http://www.cen.eu/cenorm/products/cwa/index.asp

NIST Notify U.S. Service

Member countries of the World Trade Organization (WTO) are required under the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT Agreement) to report to the WTO all proposed technical regulations that could affect trade with other Member countries. Notify U.S. is a free, web-based e-mail subscription service that offers an opportunity to review and comment on proposed foreign technical regulations that can affect your access to international markets. Register online at Internet URL: http://www.nist.gov/notifyus/

Conformity Assessment

Conformity Assessment is a mandatory step for the manufacturer in the process of complying with specific EU legislation. The purpose of conformity assessment is to ensure consistency of compliance during all stages of the production process to facilitate acceptance of the final product. EU product legislation gives manufacturers some choice with regard to conformity assessment, depending on the level of risk involved in the use of their product. These range from self-certification, type examination and production quality control system, to full quality assurance system. You can find conformity assessment bodies in individual Member State country in this list by the European Commission.

Key Link: http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/newapproach/nando/

To promote market acceptance of the final product, there are a number of voluntary conformity assessment programs. CEN’s certification systems are the Keymark, the CENCER mark, and CEN workshop agreements (CWA) Certification Rules.. CENELEC has its own initiative. ETSI does not offer conformity assessment services.

Product Certification

To sell products on the EU market of 27 Member States as well as Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland, U.S. exporters are required to apply CE marking whenever their product is covered by specific product legislation. CE marking product legislation offers manufacturers a number of choices and requires decisions to determine which safety/health concerns need to be addressed, which conformity assessment module is best suited to the manufacturing process, and whether or not to use EU-wide harmonized standards. There is no easy way for U.S. exporters to understand and go through the process of CE marking, but hopefully this section provides some background and clarification.

Products manufactured to standards adopted by CEN, CENELEC and ETSI, and published in the Official Journal as harmonized standards, are presumed to conform to the requirements of EU Directives. The manufacturer then applies the CE marking and issues a declaration of conformity. With these, the product will be allowed to circulate freely within the EU. A manufacturer can choose not to use the harmonized EU standards, but then must demonstrate that the product meets the essential safety and performance requirements. Trade barriers occur when design, rather than performance, standards are developed by the relevant European standardization organization, and when U.S. companies do not have access to the standardization process through a European presence.

The CE marking addresses itself primarily to the national control authorities of the Member States, and its use simplifies the task of essential market surveillance of regulated products. Although CE marking is intended primarily for inspection purposes by Member State inspectors, the consumer may well perceive it as a quality mark.

The CE marking is not intended to include detailed technical information on the product, but there must be enough information to enable the inspector to trace the product back to the manufacturer or the authorized representative established in the EU. This detailed information should not appear next to the CE marking, but rather on the declaration of conformity (which the manufacturer or authorized agent must be able to provide at any time, together with the product's technical file), or the documents accompanying the product.


Independent certification bodies, known as notified bodies, have been officially accredited by competent national authorities to test and certify to EU requirements. However, under U.S.-EU Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs), notified bodies based in the United States and referred to as conformity assessment bodies, are allowed to test in the United States to EU specifications, and vice versa. The costs are significantly lower which results in U.S. products becoming more competitive. At this time, the U.S.-EU MRAs cover the following sectors: EMC (in force), RTTE (in force), medical devices (in transition), pharmaceutical (on hold), recreational craft (in force) and marine equipment (in force). The U.S. Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), has a link on its website to American and European Conformity Assessment bodies operating under a mutual recognition agreement.

Key Link: http://ts.nist.gov/Standards/Global/mra.cfm

Accreditation is handled at Member State level. "European Accreditation" (http://www.european-accreditation.org/content/home/home.htm ) is an organization representing nationally recognized accreditation bodies. Membership is open to nationally recognized accreditation bodies in countries in the European geographical area that can demonstrate that they operate an accreditation system compatible with EN45003 or ISO/IEC Guide 58.

Publication of Technical Regulations

The Official Journal is the official gazette of the European Union. It is published daily on the internet and consists of two series covering draft and adopted legislation as well as case law, studies by committees, and more (http://eur-lex.europa.eu/JOIndex.do ). It lists the standards reference numbers linked to legislation (http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/european-standards/documents/harmonised-standards-legislation/list-references/index_en.htm ). National technical Regulations are published on the Commission’s website http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/tris/index_en.htm to allow other countries and interested parties to comment.

Member countries of the World Trade Organization (WTO) are required under the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Agreement to report to the WTO all proposed technical regulations that could affect trade with other member countries. Notify U.S. is a free, web-based e-mail subscription service that offers an opportunity to review and comment on proposed foreign technical regulations that can affect access to international markets. Register online at Internet URL: http://tsapps.nist.gov/notifyus/data/index/index.cfm

Labeling and Marking

Manufacturers should be mindful that, in addition to the EU’s mandatory and voluntary schemes, national voluntary labeling schemes might still apply. These schemes may be highly appreciated by consumers, and thus, become unavoidable for marketing purposes.

Manufacturers are advised to take note that all labels require metric units although dual labeling is also acceptable. The use of language on labels has been the subject of a Commission Communication, which encourages multilingual information, while preserving the right of Member States to require the use of language of the country of consumption.

The EU has mandated that certain products be sold in standardized quantities. Council Directive 2007/45/EC, harmonizes packaging of wine and spirits throughout the EU. Existing national sizes will be abolished with a few exceptions for domestic producers.

Key Link: http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/prepack/packsize/packsiz_en.htm

The Eco-label

The EU eco-label is a voluntary label which US exporters can display on products that meet high standards of environmental awareness. The eco-label is intended to be a marketing tool to encourage consumers to purchase environmentally-friendly products. The criteria for displaying the eco-label are strict, covering the entire lifespan of the product from manufacture, to use, to disposal. These criteria are reviewed every three to five years to take into account advances in manufacturing procedures. There are currently twenty-three different product groups, and approximately 250 licenses have been awarded for several hundred products.

Applications to display the eco-label should be directed to the competency body of the member state in which the product is sold. The application fee will be somewhere between €300 and €1300 depending on the tests required to verify if the product is eligible. The eco-label also carries an annual fee equal to 0.15% of the annual volume of sales of the product range within the European community. However, the minimum annual fee is currently set at €500 and maximum €25,000.

There are plans to significantly reform the eco-label in the near future, reducing the application and annual fees and expanding the product ranges significantly. It is also possible that future eligibility criteria may take into account carbon emissions.

Key Links: Eco-label Home Page

Product Categories eligible for the Eco-label

Eco-Label Catalogue

List of Competent Bodies

Revision of the Eco-label

The Eco-label and Carbon Footprint


Standards points of Contacts at the U.S. Mission to Italy:

Robert Bannerman

Deputy Senior Commercial Officer Rome


Maria Calabria

Commercial Specialist

U.S. Commercial Service Rome


Federico Bevini

Commercial Specialist

U.S. Commercial Service Milan


Standards points of Contacts at the U.S. Mission to the E.U.:

Louis Santamaria

Standards Attaché


Sylvia Mohr

Standards Specialist


Trade Agreements

For a list of trade agreements with the EU and its Member States, as well as concise explanations, please see http://tcc.export.gov/Trade_Agreements/index.asp .

Web Resources

EU websites:

Online customs tariff database (TARIC):


The Modernized Community Customs Code MCCC):

http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/customs/procedural_aspects/general/community_code/index_en.htm .

ECHA: http://echa.europa.eu/doc/press/pr_08_38_candidate_list_20081028.pdf

Taxation and Customs Union: http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/customs/index_en.htm

Regulation (EC) 648/200529

Security and Safety Amendment to the Customs Code22

Decision N° 70/2008/EC62


Regulation (EC) 450/2008:Modernized Community Customs Code24

Legislation related to the Electronic Customs Initiative:


International Level: Customs value26

What is Customs Valuation?


Customs and Security:

Two communications and a proposal for amending the Community Customs Code28


Establishing the Community Customs Code:

Regulation (EC) n° 648/2005 of 13 April 200529

Pre Arrival/Pre Departure Declarations: Pre Arrival / Pre Departure Declarations30

AEO: Authorized Economic Operator31

Contact Information at National Customs Authorities:


New Approach Legislation: http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/european-standards/documents/harmonised-standards-legislation/list-references/index_en.htm

Cenelec, European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization: http://www.cenelec.eu/Cenelec/Homepage.htm

ETSI, European Telecommunications Standards Institute: http://www.etsi.org/

CEN, European Committee for Standardization, handling all other standards: http://www.cen.eu/cenorm/homepage.htm

Standardisation – Mandates: http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/standards_policy/mandates/ .


ETSI – Portal – E-Standardisation : http://portal.etsi.org/Portal_Common/home.asp

CEN – Sector Fora: http://www.cen.eu/cenorm/sectors/index.asp

Nando (New Approach Notified and Designated Organizations) Information System:


Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs):


European Co-operation for Accreditation:


Eur-Lex – Access to European Union Law:


Standards Reference Numbers linked to Legislation:


National technical Regulations: http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/tris/index_en.htm

NIST - Notify us: http://tsapps.nist.gov/notifyus/data/index/index.cfm

Metrology, Pre-Packaging – Pack Size:


European Union Eco-label Homepage:


Eco-Label Catalogue: http://www.eco-label.com/default.htm

U.S. websites:

National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers: http://www.ustr.gov/about-us/press-office/reports-and-publications/2009/2009-national-trade-estimate-report-foreign-trad

Agricultural Trade Barriers:


Trade Compliance Center: http://www.trade.gov/tcc

U.S. Mission to the European Union: http://www.buyusa.gov/europeanunion

The New EU Battery Directive: http://www.buyusainfo.net/docs/x_8086174.pdf

The Latest on REACH: http://www.buyusa.gov/europeanunion/reach.html .

WEEE and RoHS in the EU: http://www.buyusa.gov/europeanunion/weee.html

Overview of EU Certificates:


Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition: http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/

EU Marking, Labeling and Packaging – An Overview

http://www.buyusainfo.net/docs/x_4171929.pdf .

The European Union Eco-Label: http://buyusainfo.net/docs/x_4284752.pdf

Trade Agreements: http://tcc.export.gov/Trade_Agreements/index.asp

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