Overview of Procedures for importing goods into Germany

As a member of the EU, Germany basically applies the same processes and procedures for importing goods as the EU.

The process of importing goods into the EU is detailed at the European Commission's Access2Markets Portal (https://trade.ec.europa.eu/access-to-markets/en), with the specific link address: https://trade.ec.europa.eu/access-to-markets/en/content/guide-import-goods.

In addition, the website of the German Customs (https://www.zoll.de/EN) at: https://www.zoll.de/EN/Businesses/Movement-of-goods/Import/import_node. html also regulates the import process.

(It should be noted that the links mentioned in this section are for reference only and may be changed. In any case, businesses can directly access the Access2Markets Portal and the website of the German Customs to find information).

Below is a summary of the steps for importing goods from non-EU countries into Germany:

Step 1: Preparation for import

Registering EORI Number - Economic Operators Registration and Identification number

In order to import and export goods into and out of the EU, individuals/enterprises of the EU are required to use the EORI number as an identification number in all customs procedures when exchanging information with the EU’s Customs administrations.

Determining the import category of goods

Not all goods are allowed to be imported into Germany, and not all goods imported into Germany have the same import mechanism. In fact, for a number of reasons, Germany may impose import bans/restriction regulations on certain countries, individuals/organizations and goods.

Detail of Step 1 at:  https://wtocenter.vn/german-market/18713-preparation-for-import-into-germany   

Step 2: Classification of goods

Determining the classification of goods (HS code) is a very important step in determining the import tariff on that good.

Vietnam currently uses 8-digit HS code under the ASEAN Harmonized Tariff Nomenclature (AHTN). Meanwhile, Germany applies the EU's combined nomenclature (CN) (8-digit) for the purpose of imposing import tariffs, and the 11-digit code for the purpose of imposing VAT and some other measures.

Detail of Step 2 at: https://wtocenter.vn/german-market/18717-classification-of-goods-imported-into-germany

Step 3: Determining the tariffs, duties and fees

Import tariffs

For Vietnamese goods imported into Germany, there are 03 tariff options, each corresponding to a specific tariff rate and condition, specifically:

MFN tariff;

GSP tariff;

EVFTA preferential tariff.

Other taxes and duties

Goods imported into Germany are also subject to other taxes such as:

Excise tax;

Value Added Tax (VAT);

Anti-dumping, anti-subsidy and safeguard duties.

Detail of Step 3 at: https://wtocenter.vn/german-market/18718-determining-the-tariffs-duties-and-fees-for-goods-imported-into-germany

Step 4: Transportation, Customs declaration and clearance for the shipment

All commercial goods transported from non-EU countries, including Vietnam, to Germany will have to make a declaration to the German Customs - the competent authority on release of goods imported into the EU at the first border gate in the territory of Germany.

Customs procedures for importing into Germany include the following steps:

  • Declaring the Entry Summary Declaration (ENS);

  • Declaring Import Declaration;

  • Checking import documents;

  • Physical inspection of means of transport and goods, if necessary;

  • Collecting import tariffs, taxes and other fees.

After the importers submit all the required documents for their consignments, pay all tariffs, taxes and fees and the goods are checked without problems (if the goods are physically inspected), goods shall be released and cleared by German Customs. During the process of customs clearance, imported goods will be stored in Temporary storage under Customs supervision (no more than 90 days) until the goods are cleared.

After being cleared and released, imported goods will be freely circulated in Germany and all EU member territories.

Detail of Step 4 at: https://wtocenter.vn/german-market/18716-transportation-customs-declaration-and-clearance-for-the-shipment-imported-into-germany

Source: "Business Handbook: Exploiting the EVFTA  to import and export goods between Vietnam and Germany" - Center for WTO and International Trade