Customs Law 

The sources of customs law are to be found in international agreements, European law and national law. This makes the rules governing customs procedures complex. In addition, there are numerous exceptions to the general rules. We help our clients to comply with these complex rules and regulations and represent them before the competent authorities and courts in the event of an infringement.

The Community Customs Code and Customs Code Implementing Provisions form the legal framework for customs law in the EU. National legal provisions, such as the German Customs Administration Act (ZollverwaltungsgesetzZollVG), supplement the EU regulatory regime. One of the most important pieces of national legislation in practice is the German Fiscal Code (AbgabenordnungAO). However, customs law is now almost entirely "communitised", as it is known in EU-parlance, meaning that numerous key provisions of the German Fiscal Code are inapplicable or only applicable in a modified form. Furthermore, other import levies arising under, for example, the German Turnover Tax Act (UmsatzsteuergesetzUStG) may be applicable.

The import and export of goods carries risks which should not be underestimated. Unforeseen risks, which can have very serious economic consequences for the importer, may materialise, such as the post-clearance recovery of anti-dumping duties. In addition, due to the complexity of customs regulations, there is also the constant danger of unintentionally infringing one provision or another. 

The violation of a customs provision is generally punishable as an administrative offence. In some cases it may even constitute a criminal offence, which can result in the imposition of severe sanctions. 

We advise clients on customs matters and assert their interests in administrative and court proceedings, including before the European Commission and the European Courts. The scope of our services in the customs field includes in particular matters relating to: 

  • Anti-dumping duties
  • Repayments and remissions of customs duties
  • Tariff preferences
  • Rules of origin
  • Support in preparing and obtaining binding Tariff information (BTI)
  • Tariff classification
  • Import VAT.


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