Autonomous tariff suspensions - zero rated imports

This page was last modified on 09-01-2018

European businesses can request temporary or permanent tariff suspensions (called autonomous tariff suspensions), i.e. customs duties bearing zero duty, regarding the import of certain goods unavailable in the European Union (EU).

Businesses who produce the goods concerned in the EU can object to those requests through their Member State.

Businesses established in Luxembourg have to contact the Industry Directorate at the Ministry of the Economy in order to:

  • request a tariff suspension;
  • join or object to a request for a tariff suspension under examination;
  • or benefit from or object to a tariff suspension in force.

The Ministry of the Economy will examine the admissibility of requests before submitting them to the European Commission.

Autonomous tariff suspensions adopted by the European Commission apply to every operator in every EU Member State.

Forms / Online services

Carry out your procedure:

Who is concerned

Each business in the EU can request a tariff suspension for the import of the following goods if they are unavailable (or not in sufficient quantity) in the EU:

  • raw materials;
  • semi-finished goods;
  • or components used for the manufacture of end products.

If said goods are effectively unavailable in the EU, the European Commission can grant tariff suspensions which will allow the business to purchase these goods outside the EU without being required to pay the customs duties laid down in the common customs tariff.

Businesses who manufacture the goods concerned in the EU can file an objection against these requests.

If said goods are effectively available in the EU but not in sufficient quantity, the European Commission can set tariff quotas which enable the businesses concerned to import only the missing quantities in the EU by benefitting from reduced customs duties.

Whenever a tariff suspension or quota is granted, any operator in any EU Member State is entitled to benefit from it. No suspensions will be granted:
  • for products that are manufactured in sufficient quantities within the EU or in a third country with preferential tariff agreements (GSP);
  • for finished products;
  • for goods subject to an exclusive trading agreement preventing other European importers from buying them in third countries;
  • in cases where a suspension could result in a distortion of competition on the finished products.

Prerequisites

Tariff suspensions or quotas may be granted by the European Commission if they allow to:

  • stimulate European economic activities;
  • improve the competitiveness of businesses;
  • create jobs.

The suspension should enable all businesses in the EU to save customs duties of at least EUR 15,000 per year.

Duration and deadlines

Requests for suspenstion or quotas have to be submitted:

  • before 1 March, if they are to enter into force on 1 January of the following year;
  • before 1 September if they are to enter into force on 1 July of the following year.

The suspensions granted are valid:

  • for 5 years and can be renewed;
  • or until a European business files an objection against their renewal.

How to proceed

Request for tariff suspension or quota

Every economic operator established in Luxembourg can contact the Industry Directorate at the Ministry of the Economy in order to submit a request for a suspension of customs duties.

After examination of the suspension request and provided it is admissible, the Ministry will submit the request to the European Commission.

The European Commission informs the other Member States who will consult with the businesses in their country.

Products available in the EU

If a business manufactures an identical product, an equivalent or substitute product, in sufficient quantities to satisfy the needs, the administration in the country concerned can present an objection to the suspension request.

In this case, the tariff suspension may be refused and the applicant has to:

• either purchase the product from the business in the EU that manufactures the product;

• or continue to import the product and pay the duty.

Products available in insufficient quantities in the EU

If a business in an EU Member State manufactures an identical, equivalent or substitute product, but in insufficient quantities to satisfy the needs, a tariff quota can be negotiated with the European Commission.

In this case, only the quantity corresponding to the difference between the actual needs and the quantities manufactured in the EU can benefit from a reduced or zero rate customs duty.

Product unavailable in the EU

If there is no business in any other EU country that manufactures the goods, the opening of a tariff suspension can be negotiated with the European Commission.

Tariff suspensions or quotas under examination

Each EU business can consult the list of suspension requests in progress on the website of the European Commission.

Participation in a request in progress

Luxembourg businesses that wish to benefit from a tariff suspension or quota for a product for which a request is being examined, can participate in the request by contacting the Industry Directorate at the Ministry of the Economy.

In this case, if a quota is approved, the business' needs will be taken into account when setting the quota.

Objection to a request in progress

Luxembourg businesses that manufacture an identical, equivalent or substitute product can submit an objection to the suspension request in progress by contacting the Industry Directorate at the Ministry of the Economy.

If the objection is admissible, the Ministry of the Economy will submit it to the European Commission.

Tariff suspensions and quotas in force

Each business in the EU can consult the list of autonomous tariff suspensions in force as well as the list of tariff quotas in force on the website of the European Commission.

The database with tariff quotas provides information on the outstanding quantities for each tariff quota during the year and the preceding year.

Use of tariff suspensions or quotas in force

In order to import products at reduced or zero rates, applicants can request the autonomous tariff suspension or quota in their EU import declaration.

Objection to a suspension or quota in force

Luxembourg businesses that manufacture an identical, equivalent or substitute product in sufficient quantities to satisfy the needs can submit an objection to the tariff suspension or quota by contacting the Industry Directorate at the Ministry of the Economy.

If the objection is admissible, the Ministry of the Economy will submit it to the European Commission.

Who to contact

Ministry of the Economy
19-21, boulevard Royal
L-2449 - Luxembourg
Postal box L-2914
Luxembourg
Phone: (+352) 247-84145
Email francois.knaff@eco.etat.lu