European Union Customs Union
Non-EU states which participate in the customs union, or are in bilateral customs unions with the EU
|5,200,000 km2 (2,000,000 sq mi)|
• 2014 estimate
|GDP (PPP)||2014 estimate|
|GDP (nominal)||2014 estimate|
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politics and government of
the European Union
The European Union Customs Union (EUCU) is a customs union which consists of all the member states of the European Union (EU), Monaco, the United Kingdom, and some dependencies of the United Kingdom which were not part of the EU.Some detached territories of EU members do not participate in the customs union, usually as a result of their geographic separation. In addition to the EUCU, the EU is in customs unions with Andorra, San Marino, and Turkey (with the exceptions of certain goods), through separate bilateral agreements.
The customs union is a principal component of the European Union, since its establishment in 1958 as the European Economic Community. There are no tariffs or non-tariff barriers to trade between members of the customs union and – unlike a free trade area – members of the customs union impose a common external tariff on all goods entering the union.
The European Commission negotiates for and on behalf of the Union as a whole in international trade deals (such as that with Canada and many others), rather than each member state negotiating individually. It also represents the Union in the World Trade Organization and any trade disputes mediated through it.
During the Brexit transition period the United Kingdom continues to function as a part of the Customs Union. As of February 2020 [update] , the United Kingdom's relationship with the European Union after the end of the transition period remains to be negotiated.
Monaco, the United Kingdom*, and the British dependencies of Akrotiri and Dhekelia, Guernsey, the Isle of Man and Jersey are integral parts of the EU's customs territory.
|State / territory||Agreement||Entry into force||Notes|
|Franco-Monegasque Customs Convention||1963|
And The United Kingdom in respect of
|During the Brexit Transition Period, the United Kingdom (and the Associated Territories) will continue to function as a part of the European Union Customs Union until (by default) 31 December 2020.||1 February 2020||Ends on 31 December 2020|
Andorra, San Marino and Turkey, a candidate for EU membership, are each in a customs union with the EU.
|State||Agreement||Entry into force||Notes|
|Agreement in the form of an Exchange of Letters between the European Economic Community and the Principality of Andorra – Joint Declarations||1 January 1991||Excludes agricultural products|
|Agreement on Cooperation and Customs Union between the European Economic Community and the Republic of San Marino||16 December 1991|
|Decision No 1/95 of the EC-Turkey Association Council of 22 December 1995 on implementing the final phase of the European Union–Turkey Customs Union||31 December 1995||Excludes agricultural products|
While all EU member states are part of the customs union, not all of their respective territories participate. Territories of member states which have remained outside of the EU (overseas territories of the European Union) generally do not participate in the customs union.
However, some territories within the EU do not participate in the customs union:
The following are not listed in Regulation 952/2013 but may be non-participant in some aspects for other reasons:
The Union Customs Code (UCC), intended to modernise customs procedures, entered into force on 1 May 2016.Implementation will take place over a period of time and full implementation is anticipated by 31 December 2020 at the latest. The European Commission has stated that the aims of the UCC are simplicity, service and speed.
The EU Customs Union sets the tariff rates for imports to the EU from other countries. These rates are detailed and depend on the specific type of product imported, and can also vary by the time of year.The full WTO Most Favoured Nation tariff rates apply only to those countries that do not have a Free Trade Agreement with the EU, or are not on a WTO recognised exemption scheme such as Everything but Arms (an EU support arrangement for Least Developed Countries).
The European Free Trade Association (EFTA) is a regional trade organization and free trade area consisting of four European states: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland. The organization operates in parallel with the European Union (EU), and all four member states participate in the European Single Market and are part of the Schengen Area. They are not, however, party to the European Union Customs Union.
The European Economic Area (EEA), which was established via the EEA Agreement in 1992, is an international agreement which enables the extension of the European Union's single market to non-EU member parties. The EEA links the EU member states and three European Free Trade Association (EFTA) states into an internal market governed by the same basic rules. These rules aim to enable free movement of labour, goods, services, and capital within the European Single Market, including the freedom to choose residence in any country within this area. The EEA was established on 1 January 1994 upon entry into force of the EEA Agreement. The contracting parties are the EU, its member states, and three EFTA member states.
The special territories of the European Union are 21 territories of EU member states which, for historical, geographical, or political reasons, enjoy special status within or outside the European Union. The special territories divide themselves in three categories: 9Outermost Regions (OMR) that form part of the European Union, though they benefit from derogations from some EU laws due to their geographical remoteness from mainland Europe, 13 Overseas Countries and Territories (OCT) that do not form part of the European Union, though they cooperate with the EU via the Overseas Countries and Territories Association, and 10special cases where EU law make ad hoc provisions.
The European microstates or European ministates are a set of very small sovereign states in Europe. The term is typically used to refer to the six smallest states in Europe by area: Andorra, Liechtenstein, Malta, Monaco, San Marino, and Vatican City. Four of these states are monarchies, with all these states tracing their status back to the first millennium or the early second millennium, except for Liechtenstein, created in the 17th century.
The following table lists the independent European states, and their memberships in selected organisations and treaties.
At present, there are four multi-lateral free trade areas in Europe, and one former free trade area in recent history. Note that there are also a number of bilateral free trade agreements between states and between trade blocks; and that some states participate in more than one free trade area.
A customs union is the principal area of robust formal agreement between the Principality of Andorra and the European Union (EU).
The European Union-Mediterranean Free Trade Area, also called the Euro-Mediterranean Free Trade Area or Euromed FTA, is based on the Barcelona Process and European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). The Barcelona Process, developed after the Barcelona Conference in successive annual meetings, is a set of goals designed to lead to a free trade area in the Mediterranean Region and the Middle East by 2010.
The Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) is a payment-integration initiative of the European Union for simplification of bank transfers denominated in euro. As of 2020, there were 36 members in SEPA, consisting of the 27 member states of the European Union, the four member states of the European Free Trade Association, and the United Kingdom. Some countries participate in the technical schemes: Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, and Vatican City.
The Directorate-General for Trade is a Directorate-General of the European Commission. It covers a wide area from manufactured goods to services, intellectual property and investment.
There are a number of microstates in Europe. While there is no clear consensus on which political units qualify as "microstates", most scholars view Andorra, Liechtenstein, Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican City as examples of such states. At the same time, some academics dispute even qualifying Vatican as a true state arguing that it does not meet the "traditional criteria of statehood" and that the "special status of the Vatican City is probably best regarded as a means of ensuring that the Pope can freely exercise his spiritual functions, and in this respect is loosely analogous to that of the headquarters of international organisations." According to the qualitative definition of microstates suggested by Dumienski (2014), microstates can also be viewed as "modern protected states, i.e. sovereign states that have been able to unilaterally depute certain attributes of sovereignty to larger powers in exchange for benign protection of their political and economic viability against their geographic or demographic constraints." And indeed, all of the European microstates are sovereign states that function in a close association with their respective larger neighbour. Currently, all of the European microstates have some form of relations with the European Union (EU).
1 These countries are currently not participating in the EU's single market (EEA), but the EU has common external Customs Union agreements with Turkey, Andorra and San Marino. Monaco participates in the EU customs union through its relationship with France; its ports are administered by the French. Vatican City has a customs union in effect with Italy.
2 Monaco, San Marino and Vatican City are not members of Schengen, but act as such via their open borders with France and Italy, respectively.
3 Switzerland is not official member of EEA but has bilateral agreements largely with same content, making it virtual member.
The European Customs Information Portal (ECIP) is an importing and exporting service provided by the EU for business operators of the member states of the European Union.
A customs territory is a geographic territory with uniform customs regulations and there are no internal customs or similar taxes within the territory. Customs territories may fall into several types:
Relations between the Principality of Monaco and the European Union (EU) are primarily conducted through France. Through that relationship Monaco directly participates in certain EU policies. Monaco is an integral part of the EU customs territory and VAT area, and therefore applies most measures on excise duties and VAT.
The 1973 enlargement of the European Communities was the first enlargement of the European Communities (EC), now the European Union (EU). Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom (UK) acceded to the EC on 1 January 1973. Gibraltar and Greenland also joined the EC as part of the United Kingdom and Denmark respectively, but the Faroe Islands, the British Overseas Territories and the Crown dependencies of the United Kingdom did not join the EC.
The border of the European Union consists of European Union (EU) countries' borders with countries which are not members of the EU.
The trade policy of Switzerland refers to Switzerland's approach to importing and exporting with other countries.