As free trade provides an important impulse for global economic growth and an improved standard of living, Germany supports open markets and the liberalization of international trade within a set of clear and multilaterally negotiated agreements. As a result only a very small portion of the goods traded in Germany are actually subject to direct market regulations. For example:
- EU market control regulations apply to several agricultural products.
- Textiles and steel products from a few third countries are generally restricted by import quotas and require an import license. More information on licenses is available on the website of the Federal Office of Economics and Export Control (Bundesamt für Wirtschaft und Ausfuhrkontrolle - BAFA) which is responsible for the relevant procedures.
- Specific import control regulations apply to products that may potentially pose a risk to human health, public security or environmental protection, such as medicine, weapons or endangered species of plants and animals, for instance. The German Customs Administration provides businesses with further guidance on this matter.
Irrespective of any import regulations or licenses, importers are still required to remain informed about the product-related rules that also apply to businesses active on the German market, as the legal environment and administrative procedures guiding business transactions in Germany may differ from those in place in the importer's home country.
An overview on general rules and regulations that need to be observed while introducing products to the German market is available in this section. For more details on the requirements for specific products please refer to our ''Business Sectors'' section. General information on customs procedures is available in our ''Tax and Duty'' section. The German Customs Office, which is the competent authority on all customs matters, provides further information and individual support on its online portal.