Outside the EU - Italy
Export trade to countries outside of the European Union is regulated by the relevant fiscal and customs laws. In Italy, the Ministry of Economic Development monitors commercial activities with non-EU countries.
Export of particular materials (e.g. defence materials) can involve the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, by way of the Directorship-General for multilateral economic and financial cooperation (DGCE), which alone can authorise exports of defence materials, for example.
Businesses wishing to export products must have a knowledge of the supranational regulations in effect as well as Italian legislation.
The exporting company will often need to request a variety of documents to be enclosed with the goods (certificates of origin, consular visas, phytopathological certificates, etc.), for which it is necessary to be aware not only of the applicable regulations and customs in the country of origin, but also those in the destination countries.
To this end, the Incoterms (International commercial terms) have been established at the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). They comprise the rules, rights and duties valid around the world, defined in an unambiguous way and with no chance of error, which must be respected by the various legal entities involved in an operation to transfer goods from one country to another. The last revision of these terms (Incoterms 2010) will come into effect on 01/01/2011.
The EU countries adopted a Common Customs Tariff in 1968, which is a single system of duties applicable to imported goods from third countries. The goods introduced into the countries of the EU are subject to the same rate of duty. However, the rates of VAT and excise on imported goods are different in each Member State .
On 1 January 1988, the Common Customs Tariff was replaced by the Integrated Tariff of the European Union (TARIC), known in Italy as the “Tariffa Doganale d'Uso Integrata” [integrated customs tariff].
The duties applied to the goods are published by the Customs Agency.
The foreign trade service performs monthly analyses of trade between Italy and third countries (Extrastat). The surveys aim to establish the value and amount of goods traded between Italy and other countries.
The type of document required for sending goods to other countries depends on the destination country and the type of goods and it is recommended to always request detailed instructions (documents required and number of copies) from:
- the foreign importer;
- the carrier or consigner;
- the bank in the event of payment with a letter of credit or payment against documents.
A variety of documents is required for importing goods from non-EU countries. The imported goods must be accompanied by a certificate of origin (document confirming the origin of the goods, requested in many countries around the world, in order to apply the correct customs regime) which can be:
- Non-preferential: issued by the Chamber of Commerce in the country of dispatch for the majority of products (even if specific, more restrictive, rules apply for some industrial products and textiles);
- Preferential: issued by customs for products for which the European Union has signed free trade agreements with third countries on the basis of those which are conceded favourable tariff treatments (tariff reduction or exemption).
Some of the most commonly requested documents are:
- Import licence
- Certificate of inspection
- Models of release of surety / bond clearance
- International import certificate (Mod. 181.2)
- High-tech goods importing form
- International import certificate (Mod. 01)
Information on duties, taxes, import documents and any obstacles to import in various countries around the world is published in the EU Market Access database.
The product customs entries are published on the website of the Customs Agency.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs website provides:
- foreign policy guidelines covering the five continents;
- useful information on institutional initiatives aimed at promoting the expansion of SMEs abroad.
The Ministry of the Economy and Finance portal provides information on local and international fiscal matters, fiscal deadlines, and forms.
The international expansion department of the Ministry of Economic Development provides information to SMEs wishing to establish business relations with non-European countries.
For further information on international trade (customs legislation, excise duties, customs tariffs), you may consult the Italian Customs Agency.
The data sheets published by the Italian Institute for Foreign Trade provide a complete overview of the international markets which offer the most favourable conditions, divided by sector.
The Programme Agreements between the Ministry of Foreign Trade, regions and provinces promote a common approach to foreign markets through specific projects.
The Department for Development and Cohesion Policies promotes bilateral projects between EU public authority bodies and their counterparts in EU partner countries, candidate countries and non-EU member countries.
Check also the legislation on this topic in: