Outside the EU
Ireland's international trade policies are formulated and developed in the context of the European Union (EU) Common Commercial Policy (CCP).
Goods traded between EU and non-EU countries are subject to certain customs duties. To find out which duties must be paid for a given product, importers can consult the TARIC (the EU's integrated tariff).
The procedures applicable to goods traded between the EU and non-EU countries are the same in all EU countries. Imports and exports are classified and declared to the common definitions of goods.
Trading outside the EU is often subject to restrictions and may require additional licences. For example, goods being exported from Ireland which are on the EU list of controlled dual-use products or on the EU list of military products must have an export licence. The export licensing system is administered by the Licensing Unit of the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation.
A zero-rate of Value-added Tax (VAT) applies to exports of goods.
The TARIC contains information necessary when importing goods. It details the relevant Regulations applicable when importing goods into the EU. Indentical commodity codes, duty rates and procedures are used in all of the EU countries.
The Licensing Section of the Department of Jobs, Enterprise, and Innovation (DJEI) is responsible for issuing licences to importers in respect of goods subject to EU import restrictions such as surveillance measures.
Value-added Tax (VAT) is charged on imports at the same rate that applies to the sale of similar goods in the state.
If you are importing goods into Ireland for onward consignment or transhipment to another EU country, no VAT is charged on these goods provided that they do not enter free circulation in Ireland.
Exporting and importing services
A zero-rate of Value-added Tax (VAT) applies to exports of services.
State support for exports
The EU has concluded Preferential Trade Agreements with certain non-EU countries which allow exports from the EU to enter the markets of these countries at a reduced or nil rate of duty while imports from these countries may enter the EU at reduced or nil rates of duty.
EU rules require the EU countries to submit statistics on their external trade to the EU. This information is recorded in a system called Extrastat. Statistics of trade with non-EU countries are compiled mainly from the Single Administrative Document (SAD) used by businesses for Customs clearance purposes.
The information on the SAD is captured by the Revenue's AEP (Automated Entry Processing) system. This information is either put into the AEP system using a paper copy by Customs staff or businesses can submit it electronically directly.
To apply for an export licence you must first register as an exporter. This can be done using the online export licensing system (OELAS). Once authorised to use the online system export licence applications can be submitted. While the Department encourages exporters to use the online system, a paper based system is also available. All export licence applications are thoroughly examined by the Licensing Unit of the Department of Jobs, Enterprise, and Innovation and in some cases the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is consulted.
Export of dual-use products requires an export licence. Dual-use products are those products which can have either a civil or a military application, depending on the end-user and the end-use. In certain cases an end-user certificate is required to be submitted with a licence application.
Global export licences provide exporters with more administrative flexibility than individual export licences. These types of licences are useful for companies that have a high volume of relatively low risk exports to a certain group of countries. They are only issued following a rigorous risk assessment of the goods and countries concerned and are subject to strict conditions of use. These conditions include periodic reporting of shipments made under the licence.
A military export licence is required for all goods and technology listed on the Military List, regardless of whether the destination is within or outside the EU. Every application involves consultation with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and requires an end-user certificate to be submitted.
A brokering licence is required where brokering services are being provided. Brokering services are where transactions are being negotiated or arranged for the purchase, sale or supply of dual-use or military items.
Union General Export Authorisations which, subject to certain conditions, enable exporters to export certain categories of dual-use items to certain destinations without the need for applying for an export licence.
Exporters may also be subject to the “Catch-All” Clause. This refers to non-listed dual-use items which may be subject to control if the exporter is aware or has been advised by Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation that these may be intended, in their entirety or in part, for use in connection with weapons of mass destruction, or the production of missiles capable of delivering such weapons, or as parts or components of military goods illegally exported, or if the purchasing country or country of final destination is subject to an arms embargo and the goods may be intended for a military end-use.
There are also some other types of goods, the export of which is prohibited or restricted, such as agricultural and food products and cultural artefacts. Examples of such goods are provided in the Revenue document "A Guide to Customs Export Procedures".
To export goods to non-EU countries you must make a declaration to the Revenue service using the Single Administrative Document (SAD). The SAD gives all the information needed for a complete picture of what the goods are and what is happening to the shipment.
The export SAD must be lodged electronically, via the Revenue's Automated Entry Processing (AEP) system. The AEP system deals with the validation, processing, duty accounting and clearance of export declarations and also checks prohibitions and restrictions. Details on the SAD and the AEP system are available in the Revenue's Guide to Customs Export Procedures.
The Revenue's Customs Service is in charge of controlling imports into Ireland for customs purposes and on behalf of other Government Departments.
If you want to import goods into Ireland from countries outside the EU, you or your agent must complete the Single Administrative Document (SAD) which is normally submitted electronically through the Revenue's Automated Entry Processing (AEP) system.
Using the AEP system, you or your agent may clear consignments at import and pay any charges (customs duty, VAT, excise duty) due. All necessary documents required to clear the goods through customs i.e. invoice, certificate of origin, import licence, etc. must be available on request.
Certain goods require a licence to be imported into the country, e.g. meat or meat products require a licence from the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.
An Import Licence may also be required from the Licensing Unit in the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation in respect of iron and steel products.
Details of the import procedures are available in the Revenue's Guide to Customs Import Procedures.
The market access database provides information on world tariffs, customs rules and duties and gives the possibility of presenting complaints.
The International Networking Support section of the BASIS website gives an overview of sources of information and services available to international companies who wish to do business with Irish suppliers.
The Export Sector Development section of the BASIS website describes Enterprise Ireland's support for companies wishing to export.
Enterprise Ireland provides a number of guides for download and useful information about business opportunities in various export markets:
The International Selling Programme is Enterprise Ireland's gold standard programme which is designed to help Irish companies strengthen their positions in international markets.
The programme Gateway to Japan and Korea, launched in 2008, provides SMEs with support to gain a foothold in those markets.