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Customs vocabulary


  • AEO (Authorised Economic Operator)

    AEO status indicates that a company has entered into a partnership with Customs. The company thereby obtains the status of a reliable company at the international level, which distinguishes it from other companies. An Authorised Economic Operator benefits from various simplified customs procedures.


  • CC (Centralised Clearance)

    Centralised customs clearance, provided for in Article 179 of the UCC, allows the dissociation of the physical and documentary flows of goods (import/export) A product can be declared at one office (Office of Presentation) from another office (Office of Declaration).


    The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, known by its acronym CITES or as the Washington Convention, is an international agreement between states. Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten the survival of the species to which they belong.

  • Combined Nomenclature

    This is the coding and description system for goods.

  • Customs duties

    Customs duties are taxes calculated on the customs value of goods at the time of import. Each product is classified according to a specific customs nomenclature, assigning it a rate of customs duty. Customs duties may be exempted or reduced in cases of tariff preference.

  • Customs union

    The merging of two or more customs territories with the following consequences: (Art. XXIV GATT and Art. 23 of the EC Treaty)

    • the elimination between members of the union of customs duties and charges having equivalent effect,
    • the introduction of a common customs tariff and common trade rules for the bulk of trade with countries outside the union

  • Customs value

    This is the basic value of a product used in import-export operations to calculate the duties and taxes related to a transaction (customs duties, VAT, anti-dumping duties, etc.). For European imports, the customs value is the value of the goods when they are imported into the Community. For exports, the customs value is the value of the goods at the point of exit from the Community customs territory.


  • Declaration of exchange of goods (DEB/Intrastat)

    This a Community customs document, intended to inform the French Customs of intra-community trade in goods (within the European Union). It allows the customs to establish statistics of Foreign Trade (entries and shipments), to ensure compliance with VAT rules and to combat fraudulent trafficking. A monthly declaration is required.

  • Declaration of Origin on Invoice

    This is a document proving the preferential origin status of a product, through a declaration on an invoice, a delivery note or any other commercial document that can be used to identify the goods.


  • EFTA

    The European Free Trade Association is an association of states whose aim is to establish a free trade area in Europe. The member countries are:

    • Switzerland
    • Liechtenstein
    • Norway
    • Iceland

  • EUR1

    Certificate of origin of goods endorsed by the customs of the country of export, which will enable the importer of such goods to benefit from reduced customs duties or exemption from customs duties. Duty rates depend on the validity of the EUR1 and the free trade agreement between any two countries.

  • eVV (Electronic Assessment Decision — from German elektronische Veranlagungsverfügung)

    This is a proof of taxation produced by the Federal Customs Administration in Switzerland once the customs declaration has been accepted by the customs office of entry or exit.
    For export, an “eVV Export” is used.
    On import, each declaration comprises an eVV Customs (for customs duties) & an eVV VAT (for VAT).

  • Excise duties

    Excise duties are indirect taxes on the sale or use of certain products. They are usually imposed per quantity of product, e.g. per kg, per hl, per degree of alcohol or per 1,000 items, etc.


  • Incoterm (International Commercial Terms)

    These are the rules that serve to define the rights and duties of buyers and sellers participating in international and national trade. The most recent application of these rules came into force on 01/01/2020 (Incoterms 2020).

  • Inward processing

    Special processing arrangements (inward or outward) allow an undertaking to temporarily import or export products intended for working, processing or repair.


  • NCTS (New Computerised Transit System)

    The NCTS allows economic operators and customs offices to collect and transmit automatically transit documents regarding the departure, transit and arrival of goods.


  • ProForma Invoice

    This is a document with no legal or accounting value. It can be used to estimate the value of a product, exclusively for transactions without payment (e.g. sending samples).


  • Special arrangements

    LSpecial arrangements allow non-EU goods to be imported into the European Union (EU) under suspension of customs duties, VAT and trade policy measures, in order to store, use or process them before re-exporting them out of the EU or placing them on the EU market. Apart from transit, there are five special arrangements: temporary admission, end-use, customs warehousing, inward processing and outward processing.

  • Statistical value

    As its name suggests, this is a statistical value used by European Customs. On import, it is the value of the goods on entry at the border of the importing country. For example, a product may be imported into Germany via the port of Antwerp in Belgium. The statistical value will be the value of the goods at the time of entry at the Belgian/German border. On export, the statistical value is that at the point of exit from the territory.

    When a product is cleared directly at the customs office of entry of the importing country, the value and the statistical value may therefore be the same.


  • Temporary admission

    The temporary import of goods which are intended to be re-exported for a specific use without undergoing modifications.


  • UCC (Union Customs Code)

    It replaced the CCC (Community Customs Code) on 01/05/2016. It applies to all 28 EU Member States.


  • VAT

    All imported goods are eligible for VAT. This tax is calculated on the VAT base value and its rate corresponds to that of the importing country. It can be reduced for certain categories of products or even suspended or self-liquidated for certain companies.