Trade and customs

TRADE AND CUSTOMS PROCEDURES

Since accession to the EU in 2004, customs policy has been regulated by EU legislation. Latvian customs legislation only regulates specific areas not covered by EU legislation.

Trade with EU member states

In accordance with the EU principles of free movement of goods and the European Trade and Customs Union, Latvian economic operators benefit from preferential trade procedures with other EU Member States. Customs borders between member states of EU are replaced by random customs control by mobile customs control units. Goods purchased from within the EU are not subject to customs declarations and VAT payment at the border. Supplies of goods between member states are not treated as import or export, but as free circulation. According to the Community Customs Code, community goods are:

  • goods fully produced in the EU, without any raw materials from third countries
  • goods imported from third countries which have been released for free circulation in the EU customs zone
  • goods produced in the EU customs zone from the above goods

Goods are subject to internal transit procedures (preparation of respective customs declaration) if they are transported from one member state to another, crossing the territory of a third country.
Companies exporting goods from Latvia to any EU Member State or importing goods from the EU must declare the amounts of the corresponding goods in the statistical-information tracking system INTRASTAT.

Trade with third countries

According to the EU Customs Code, the owner of the goods or his representative must lodge a customs declaration for all goods related to trade with third countries and the territories of the EFTA or the movement of non-EU goods within the EU by submitting a Single Administrative Document (SAD), which covers the placement of any goods under any customs procedure, whatever the mode of transport used.

According to Article 79(2) of the EU Customs Code, goods imported into the EU must undergo a procedure for release into free circulation including the collection of import duties in line with the Community Customs Tariff and other taxes payable for import procedures, as well as any other formalities laid down as regards the importation of goods. The time a customs declaration is accepted for release into free circulation determines, in principle, the date to be used for calculating the amount of import duties if the goods are liable. In cases of temporary importation, when goods are re-exported to the same state they were in, oral declarations may be made at import for certain types of goods and goods may be fully or partly exempt from customs duties or other taxes.

The export procedure involves the application of all export measures (export restrictions and surveillance measures) and is obligatory for Community goods leaving the EU customs territory. To complete the export procedure, exporters or their representatives must present a goods and export declaration using a SAD. Goods are released for export on condition they leave the EU customs territory in the same condition as when the declaration was accepted. Goods declared for export are subject to customs control from the accepting of customs declarations until the moment the goods leave the EU customs territory, are destroyed or their customs declaration is cancelled.

TRADE AND CUSTOMS DUTIES

Customs duty is applied to goods imported from or exported to third countries. Upon the release of goods for free circulation in the EU customs area, Common External Tariffs are applied, meaning that the same duty is applied for import into any EU Member State. The amount of import duty applied depends on the classification and origin of the goods and is stipulated in EU legislation. VAT and other taxes, if applicable, are applied to imported goods only in the country where the goods are released for consumption.

The origin of goods may be preferential or non-preferential. Goods of preferential origin can apply for lowered or zero customs duty. The EU has concluded agreements granting preferential treatment to goods traded with the countries of the European Economic Area, Mediterranean and African countries, the western Balkans and others.

Importers of goods can acquire EU tariff quotas permitting importers to import certain amount of goods in certain periods of time for lowered or zero customs duty. Importers can obtain tariff quotas applicable to specific goods or specific goods from a specific country.

Additional information at:
State Revenue Service: www.vid.gov.lv
Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Latvia: www.fm.gov.lv