Free Circulation of Goods in the Single European Market

The concept of the Single European Market essentially means that goods, services, persons and capital enjoy the ability to move freely within this market. As a result, imported goods sold in Germany are exempt from customs duties and procedures if:

  • the goods originated in a member state of the European Union or
  • the goods have previously been imported into another member state of the European Union before moving on to Germany.

Conversely, goods originating in or previously imported to Germany are, in essence, exempt from customs in all 28 EU member states as well as within the EU customs union (Andorra, San Marino and Turkey).

In order to quantify the trade volume within the Single European Market, the Intrastat system was established by the European Union.This system collects statistics on the trade in goods between European Union member states. Every vendor or buyer who realizes an annual trade volume of more than 500,000 Euro must report the turnover to the corresponding office for national statistics in his/her home country. In Germany, the Federal Statistical Office (StBA) collects this information and assists vendors in completing the relevant StBA forms. The supply of services is not included inIntrastat.

Goods that are imported into Germany from outside the European Community and the EU customs union must first go through customs procedures and be liable for any applicable customs at their point of entry.


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