As a business trading in Europe you can benefit from the EU Single Market and also from certain trade arrangements with other European countries. This means your goods are in the EU, they can move freely within this territory without any extra costs or quantitative restrictions. This is known as free movement of goods. A central policy of the European Union has been the establishment of an internal single market in which the free movement of goods, persons, services and capital is ensured. The Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union provides clear guidance on how the single market should operate and in particular how the free movement of goods should be ensured. The Court of Justice has supported the implementation of the single market and the free movement of goods through its decisions.
There is a customs union between Turkey and the EU, which entered into force on 01.01.1996. The EU and Turkey therefore have a common customs territory for most products. In relation to third countries, Turkey has adopted the Common Customs Tariff (CCT) for products covered by the Agreement. Higher tariff rates apply to certain categories of goods. Upon import, in addition to the VAT for some products, a special consumer tax will be charged. Details can be displayed after a paid research. All imports linked to a term of payment will incur a tax of 6%.
The exemption from customs duty applies in each case to goods of "free circulation", ie those which have been obtained or produced in the customs territory of the Customs Union or have been imported into them.
Agricultural products are not covered by the Customs Union and are included in lists I (agriculture) and IV (fisheries) of the import regime. A gradual improvement of the preferential arrangements for these products is sought.
EU product rules and regulations
Prior to bringing goods onto the EU market, you must ensure that your products meet the EU requirements to protect human and animal health, the environment and consumers rights. This could be rules and specifications that are harmonised within the EU or those managed by each EU country but recognised by the EU; known as mutual recognition.
The most effective way to avoid unsafe products to be placed on the EU market is to carry out adequate checks before those products are released for free circulation in the European Union. This requires the involvement of customs, which is the only service with a complete overview over trade flows across the EU external border and can be achieved through systematic cooperation between Market Surveillance Authorities (MSAs) and customs. Standards and other standardisation publications are voluntary guidelines providing technical specifications for products, services, and processes - from industrial safety helmets or chargers for electronic devices to service quality levels in public transport. Standards are developed by private standardisation organisations usually on the initiative of stakeholders who see a need to apply a standard. Although standards as such are voluntary, using them proves that your products and services reach a certain level of quality, safety, and reliability.
There is no difference between customers anywhere in the EU
While you are free to define your general terms and conditions of sale, including limitations on delivery, all your customers based in the EU must have the same access to goods. If you offer a special price, promotion or sales conditions, these should be accessible to all your customers irrespective of which EU country they are located in, their nationality, place of residence or business location.
The rules apply to online and offline transactions as long as the sales are to the end user (an individual or business that doesn't have the intention to re-sell, transform, process, rent or subcontract their purchases).
Access to online interfaces
Your customers must be able to access any version of your website they want, for example, if they type in the Spanish URL of your website and they are connecting from Italy they shouldn't automatically be re-directed to the Italian version. They must give you their consent before you redirect them and they have the right to withdraw their consent at any time.
Sales of products without delivery
If you offer a collection service you must ensure that customers based in EU countries where you don't offer a delivery service have the right to order products from your website, and arrange their own delivery or pick up.
You are liable for a defect in your products. If they cause harm to your customers: death, personal injury or material damage to personal belongings (exceeding EUR 500), you could end up in serious trouble.
The defectiveness of your products is determined by the lack of safety which the consumers are entitled to expect, not to their fitness for use.
Take care when you manufacture a final product, manufacture parts to be incorporated into another product or import a product into the EU for further sale.
If more than one business is responsible for the safety of the same product, the injured party can take any of them to court.
Liability rules also apply to electricity and agricultural products. Your sales contract may not contain terms that reduce your responsibility for a defective product.
Legal Intern Lukas Eberhard