The European internal market is the common economic area of the States within the European Union (EU). The free movement of goods between EU Member States is one of the pillars of the internal market and may be restricted only for specific reasons.
Sale of goods – Germany
The Federal Office of Economics and Export Control (BAFA) issues import authorisations and control documents in respect of certain goods from non-EU countries which are subject to an obligation of approval or control under EU regulations, Registration and authorisation as well as export or shipment authorisations for specific deliveries of goods in EU and non-EU States. In addition further trade restrictions – also in the form of export and import prohibitions – may arise from EU or UN embargo measures.
The legal basis for the trade in goods is formed by the Foreign Trade Act and the Foreign Trade Regulation.
In addition, Germany also applies a Packaging Regulation under which manufacturers and vendors are required to recover packaging and dispose of it in an environmentally responsible manner (dual system – Green Dot).
Under the Principle of Good Faith, EU Member States are required to allow products on their markets which are legally marketed in another Member State – even if they have not been harmonised by an EU measure. The application of this principle can be challenged only where, for instance, public safety, health or environmental protection appear to be jeopardised.
There are no customs, but taxation aspects and statistical reporting obligations must be borne in mind.
Import and export permits for third countries
Applications for import permits, prior approval/control documents for articles from third countries, can be made electronically to the Federal Office of Economics and Export Control (BAFA). An electronic application is also possible under certain circumstances for iron and steel products.
For the exportation of certain goods exportation authorisations have to be obtained. In this case, an application must be filed with the BAFA. ELAN application forms may be used electronically free of charge.
German customs also maintain an online composite list of all forms currently available.
The Federal Agency of Foreign Trade and Location Marketing (Gesellschaft für Außenwirtschaft und Standortmarketing mbH) maintains a database of worldwide information on the current situation on foreign markets, and businesses looking for foreign partners can find assistance from the Foreign Trade Portal.