Spain as a member of the European Union (EU) is also a member of the EU Customs Union. The Spanish customs authority is the Agencia Tributaria (Tax Authority).
The basic rules of the EU Customs Union include: no customs duties at internal borders between the EU Member States, common customs duties on imports from outside the EU, common rules for origin of products from outside the EU, and common definition of a customs value. In general, EU external import duties are relatively low, especially for industrial goods (3 – 5 percent on average). Applicable customs duty for a specific product imported from selected country of origin can be found on the TARIC website. The combined nomenclature of the European Community (EC) integrates the HS nomenclature and has supplementary eight figure subdivisions and its own legal notes created for community purposes. For goods from outside Europe, customs duties are calculated ad valorem on the CIF value, in accordance with the Common Customs Tariff (CCT) for all the countries of the Union.
The documents required for shipments include items such as the commercial invoice, bill of landing or airway bill, packing list, insurance documents, and when required, special certificates of origin, sanitation, and ownership. A copy of the commercial invoice should accompany the shipment to avoid delays in customs clearance. It is worth noting that a clear description of the goods is essential to avoid delays in customs clearance. The description needs to be easily understood by individuals who may not necessarily understand a particular industry or article. A clear description of goods should satisfy three basic questions: what the product is, for what is it used, and of what it is made. At least two additional copies of the invoice should be sent to the consignee.
Customs and Security
With the passing of Regulation (EC) n° 648/2005 of 13 April 2005 the EU introduced several measures amending the Community Customs Code designed to tighten security around goods crossing international borders.
One of these initiatives is the Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) program (known as the “security amendment”). AEO certification issued by a national customs authority is recognized by all member states’ customs agencies. Economic operators can apply for an AEO status to have easier access to customs simplifications or to be in a more favorable position to comply with the new security requirements.
Other 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 Declaration and introduce a mechanism for setting uniform Community risk-selection criteria for controls, supported by computerized systems. Further information on EU customs and security.
U.S. - EU Agreement on Customs Cooperation and Mutual Assistance in Customs Matters. The U.S. and the EU have had a Customs Cooperation and Mutual Assistance in Customs Matters Agreement (CMAA) since 1997.
Contact information for the Spanish National Customs Authorities:
- Agencia Estatal de Administración Tributaria
Departamento de Aduanas e Impuestos Especiales
Avda. Llano Castellano, 17
Tel: A.M. (34) 91-728-9450/P.M. (34) 91-728-9502
Fax: (34) 91-729-2065
General information : Telephone: 901 335 533/+34 91 554 87 70)