European Union Customs Union

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European Union Customs Union

EU Customs Union.svg
  Non-EU states which participate in the customs union, or are in bilateral customs unions with the EU
Policy ofFlag of Europe.svg European Union
Type Customs union
5,200,000 km2 (2,000,000 sq mi)
 2014 estimate
GDP  (PPP)2014 estimate
$19.6 trillion
GDP  (nominal)2014 estimate
$19.2 trillion
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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. [lower-alpha 1] Some detached territories of EU members do not participate in the customs union, usually as a result of their geographic separation. [lower-alpha 2] In addition to the EUCU, the EU is in customs unions with Andorra, San Marino, and Turkey (with the exceptions of certain goods), [lower-alpha 3] through separate bilateral agreements. [2]


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. [3]

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, the United Kingdom's relationship with the European Union after the end of the transition period remains to be negotiated.

Non-EU participants

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. [2]

State / territoryAgreementEntry into forceNotes
Flag of Monaco.svg Monaco Franco-Monegasque Customs Convention [4] [5] 1963
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom
And The United Kingdom in respect of Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Akrotiri and Dhekelia,
and the Flag of the Isle of Man.svg Isle of Man,
and Flag of Jersey.svg Jersey and Flag of Guernsey.svg Guernsey
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 2020Ends on 31 December 2020
(by default)

Bilateral customs unions

Andorra, San Marino and Turkey, a candidate for EU membership, are each in a customs union with the EU. [2]

StateAgreementEntry into forceNotes
Flag of Andorra.svg Andorra Agreement in the form of an Exchange of Letters between the European Economic Community and the Principality of Andorra – Joint Declarations [6] 1 January 1991Excludes agricultural products
Flag of San Marino.svg San Marino Agreement on Cooperation and Customs Union between the European Economic Community and the Republic of San Marino [7] 16 December 1991
Flag of Turkey.svg Turkey 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 [8] 31 December 1995Excludes agricultural products

EU territories with an opt-out

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. [9]

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:

Union Customs Code

The Union Customs Code (UCC), intended to modernise customs procedures, entered into force on 1 May 2016. [12] Implementation will take place over a period of time and full implementation is anticipated by 31 December 2020 at the latest. [13] The European Commission has stated that the aims of the UCC are simplicity, service and speed.

Common external tariffs

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. [14] 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).

See also


  1. Akrotiri and Dhekelia, a British Overseas Territory; and the British Crown dependencies: Bailiwick of Guernsey, Bailiwick of Jersey, and the Isle of Man. [1]
  2. For example, exclaves of Germany and Italy within Switzerland, some Spanish and Portuguese islands.
  3. See European Union–Turkey Customs Union.

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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:

Monaco–European Union relations

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.

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External border of the European Union Wikimedia list article

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The trade policy of Switzerland refers to Switzerland's approach to importing and exporting with other countries.


  1. FAQ: Customs, Taxation and Customs Union, European Commission. Retrieved 20 August 2016.
  2. 1 2 3 Customs unions, Taxation and Customs Union, European Commission. Retrieved 20 August 2016.
  3. Erskine, Daniel H (2006). "The United States-EC Dispute Over Customs Matters: Trade Facilitation, Customs Unions, and the Meaning of WTO Obligations". Florida Journal of International Law. 18: 432–485.
  4. "Taxation and Customs – FAQ". European Commission. Archived from the original on 8 June 2012. Retrieved 12 September 2012.
  5. "Council Regulation (EEC) No 2913/92 of 12 October 1992 establishing the Community Customs Code". Official Journal of the European Union . 19 October 1992. Retrieved 12 September 2012.
  6. "Andorra: Customs Unions and preferential arrangements". European Commission. Archived from the original on 26 October 2012. Retrieved 12 September 2012.
  7. "Agreement on Cooperation and Customs Union between the European Economic Community and the Republic of San Marino".
  8. "Decision No 1/95 of the EC-Turkey Association Council of 22 December 1995 on implementing the final phase of the Customs Union" (PDF).
  9. 1 2 Territorial status of EU countries and certain territories   European Commission, retrieved 18 December 2018
  10. 1 2 3 4 Article 6 of Council Directive 2006/112/EC, 28 November 2006
  11. 1 2 3 "REGULATION (EU) No 952/2013 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 9 October 2013 laying down the Union Customs Code, Article 4" (PDF). EURLEX. October 2013. p. 11. Retrieved 17 December 2018.
  12. "Union Customs Code – Taxation and customs union – European Commission". Taxation and customs union.
  13. UCC: an Introduction, accessed 29 January 2017
  14. Taric and Quota Data & Information   European Commission Communication and Information Resource Centre for Administrations, Businesses and Citizens.