The transport of goods between countries requires a series of bureaucratic formalities, including the payment of taxes, which is one of the most important.

When transporting goods outside our borders, it is necessary to take into account that a type of tax must be paid for the goods to enter or leave a place.

These types of taxes are called customs duties and are an active part of the logistics between countries.

Let’s take a closer look at what customs duties are and what they entail for logistics companies.


What are customs duties?

Customs duties are taxes lev ied on imports and exports of goods.

They are a type of tax levied on the movement of goods when crossing different borders. This means that, in most countries, customs duties will have to be paid in order to move our goods.


Import and export duties

When we talk about customs tariffs, two common types of tariffs stand out:

Import Duties

Import duties are those taxes that are levied on goods coming from outside the borders of a given country.

Its main function is to protect the country’s own production of products and services. The idea is that by raising the price of these products coming from abroad, it will be more expensive than the national ones, promoting and facilitating the sale of the nation’s own products.

Export Duties

Export duties are not as common as those discussed above. Export duties apply to domestic goods sold outside the territory.

Today their use, at least in the European Union, is non-existent and their appearance may be caused by strategic economic reasons.

In fact, in Europe, exporting is a movement that is favored and rewarded with tax benefits.


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Customs tariffs in the European Union

Belonging to the European Union allows you to enjoy the free movement of goods, a fact regulated in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU).

All matters relating to import procedures and tariffs in the European Union are regulated by EU regulations. This ensures the free circulation of goods with common export tariffs.

Thus, it avoids favoring the movement of goods to countries with a lower price of such taxes.

In the case of Spain, customs duties are collected by the Tax Agency and will form part of the European Union’s own revenue.


The U.S. customs tariff

The United States is one of the large countries where the movement of products and goods is the highest in volume.

U.S. Customs is responsible for protecting and collecting the various duties and taxes on goods arriving at its borders.

They are particularly careful and detailed, carrying out a thorough inspection of all products and applying the appropriate rate in each case.

Customs duties are a percentage rate for imported products. Generally, 3.5% of the value is applied. For specific cases, there is also the so-called specific rate of duty.


What they are used for

Customs duties have a clear revenue-raising function. This means that whatever is collected in tariffs is revenue for the State.

While this revenue-raising function is the easiest to understand, it is not the only purpose of customs tariffs.

One of the most interesting functions is strategic, as an instrument of economic policy. Setting a certain tariff can protect a country’s production and encourage demand for domestic products.

Therefore, tariffs are also a great tool to guarantee and protect the production of a country’s industry.


How they work

The operation of a customs tariff is not very complex. Each country establishes a series of tariff fractions that allow to know how much the final value of the merchandise will be.

Generally, a customs tariff will raise the price of imported merchandise, which results in lower consumption of imported products, favoring the country’s own products.


Tariff rates

In the case of the tariffs applied in Spain, we can distinguish the following types of tariffs:

  • Value Added Tariffs. Tariffs applied as a fixed percentage of the price or customs value of the product.
  • Specific Tariffs. Tariffs are set at a fixed percentage of what arrives at customs.
  • Combined Tariffs. Combination between Value Added and Specific Tariff rates.
  • Zero Tariffs. These are tariffs that affect imported goods between countries that have reached a prior agreement, favoring the transit of products between them.

Customs duties are a tool that serves its purpose in the movement of goods. Knowing the value of this type of taxes is important to have a clear idea of the final price of the shipment of goods between countries.


Advisory services for customs management.

From Across Logistics we offer advice on customs management, both in imports and exports, complying with current regulations.

Some of the procedures we can help you with are:

  • Customs declarations
  • Assistance to physical inspections
  • Customs, fiscal and tax consultancy
  • Authorized Economic Operators
  • Particular services
  • Certificates of Origin


Contact us if you need more information.