EU tariff suspension update

Potential duty saving opportunity: EU tariff suspension update

In order to stimulate economic activity and improve EU competitiveness, provision is made for the import of specified goods into the EU free of customs duty or at reduced rates. This is done by “suspending” the autonomous duty rate that normally applies to the product. “Tariff suspensions” are intended to be applied to raw materials, semi-finished goods and components to be used in manufacture or processing in the EU but which are not produced or available in sufficient quantity in the EU. Suspensions can also be obtained for capital equipment imports. Once a tariff suspension is granted, it is available to all importers of the materials/goods /components in question and is generally valid for five years.

Publication of latest “tariff suspensions” list

The most recent, consolidated list of available suspensions is contained in Council Regulation (EU) No. 1344/2011, which came into effect from 1 January 2012. On 27 June 2012, an update to this list was published by way of Council Regulation (EU) No. 552/2012. This Regulation comes into effect from 1 July 2012 and provides the following:

  • Adds additional products for which tariff suspensions are available, for example, certain juices (e.g. pineapple juice classified at 2009 41 92 20 and frozen boysenberry juice classified at 2009 89 79 20), acrylic tape put up in rolls classified at 3919 10 80 80, etc;
  • Deletes products for which it is no longer in the interest of the EU to provide tariff suspensions, for example, ratchet disks of a kind used in the manufacture of reclining car seats classified at 9401 90 80 10; and
  • Modifies the description of several products to account for technical product developments and economic trends, for example, cathode, in rolls, for air zinc button cell batteries (hearing aid batteries) classified at 3815 19 90.

We recommend that importers of materials/goods /components review the list of tariff suspensions currently available to assess whether this duty relief can be of benefit to their businesses.

Closing date for next round of tariff suspension applications

Applications for new tariff suspensions must be submitted through the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (“DJEI”) and there are two windows for applications each year.

Please note that the next closing date for Irish companies to apply for new tariff suspensions through the Department is 31 July 2012. The application consists of a prescribed form and must be accompanied by supporting documents, including justification for the suspension to be allowed. Successful applications are likely to come into effect from 1 July 2013.

Please contact us if you would like further information on either availing of a current tariff suspension or preparing an application for a new tariff suspension.