Compliance with the General Commercial Register unifies and simplifies the formal framework for the exercise of any commercial activity, establishes a system of rules and principles for conducting commercial activity, incorporates security in transactions, and ensures harmonisation with European legislation.
Legal framework governing export trade
The legal aspect of exports is covered under the relevant Greek and European legislation.
The European Union has established labelling requirements for foods, in order to help all European citizens become aware of what they are buying. Other than the information required under the law, producers are free to provide any additional information they may wish, provided that it is accurate and not misleading to the consumer.
Labelling of packaged products
Regulations regarding labelling requirements are included under the relevant legislation, which sets the regulatory framework for the movement of goods, such as general conditions regarding transactions, unfair general terms, the producer's liability for defective products, the liability of the service provider etc.
Greek legislation on trademarks
The registration of trademarks in Greece is carried out through the list of commercial and industrial property (kept by the General Secretariat of Commerce). Applications must be submitted (in Greek) through the Greek Division for trademark registration and must be then sent to the office for harmonisation in the domestic market (Alicante, Spain).
Trademark protection in Greece
Qualifying trademarks cannot contain specific depictions of great symbolic importance, must be clear to the public as to the product or services and, prior to registration, the trademark must be presented before priority research to avoid any possible similarities with other brands.
Other consumer goods
Specific rules apply to ensure consumer protection. These include the provision of clear instructions for safe use, maintenance and potential risks associated with the product, informing consumers of the life expectancy of the product, providing a warranty etc.
The harmonised Excise Duty system was based on a series of European enactments, gradually incorporated into Greek legislation. The competent national authority is the General Secretariat for Information Systems.
Trade licensing requirements
A specific legislative framework exists for exercising the profession of sales representative. More specifically, taxable persons shall assign a representative before undertaking taxable transactions in Greece, when they are permanently based abroad and the Tax Identification Number is issued by submitting a statement regarding the commencement of operations.
As far as foreigners from third countries are concerned, an additional residence and work permit is required and reciprocity for the profession of Commercial Representatives is ensured through special certification, issued by a Greek Diplomatic Authority.
Appealing against trade barriers
In order to deal with any barriers faced by exporters as a result of practices adopted or maintained by third countries with regard to the trade of goods and services, the Directorate of International Economic Flows of the Ministry of Finance, supervises the implementation of the relevant European legislation.
International Tax Identification Number (TIN)
For every natural or legal person sending goods abroad for professional purposes, their trade name should be entered under the Special Registry of Exporters, kept by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry. A number of supporting documents are required for the registration procedure (depending on the type of company), among which a bank guarantee order.
Trade of goods declaration
A summary table of intra-community deliveries of goods and services provided is required, showing the details of each transaction, per buyer of goods or receptor of services and per good or service provider.
The time allowed for the submission of summary tables is the calendar month for transactions carried out from January 1, 2010 and must be carried out exclusively through the TAXISnet specific network, once certified by the General Secretariat for Information Systems (GGIS).
Any exporters not obliged to submit periodic VAT statements are required to submit summary tables in paper form to the competent public finance department.
Requirement to submit an Intrastat statement
The Intrastat statement is submitted in accordance with the relevant provisions of the law:
Submission deadline for Intrastat statement
The Intrastat declaration must be submitted by the relevant deadline for the submission of a provisional VAT declaration for the relevant company tax period. In exceptional cases, this may be filed separately.
Filling out the declaration in specific cases
There is a provision for filling out the Intrastat declaration in special cases such as with regard to granting discounts from supplier to buyer, the partial or full cancellation of the intra-community transaction due to the return of the goods involved in the transaction, sending goods for repairs, goods shipped on consignment etc.
Duties suspension or obtaining new duty quotas
Greek companies sending goods to other companies operating in a different member state, are not required to prepare an application for the declaration of shipping and carry out deliveries exempt from VAT.
Similarly, Greek companies receiving goods from another member state do not have to declare the import of goods and are not required to pay VAT, except for when the goods actually enter the Greek territory. VAT is then paid to the general import tax regulation office on the same terms as internal VAT.
VAT is payable in the country of destination. There are no relevant customs formalities, and this allows for the free movement of goods.
Certain products are still subject to additional regulations according to which they shall be supervised by the customs office responsible for intra-community trade and exchanges. (e.g. medicine, firearms, works of art) or products subject to excise duties (e.g wine, mineral water etc.)
Customs authorities within the European Union distinguish countries with which they enjoy privileged relations. As far as associated countries are concerned, customs duties are eliminated or reduced for some products.
Shipping certain goods
Customs restrictions apply to the shipment of certain goods. These include the presentation of the goods before a customs office and their rectification to customs regulations. The management of these customs offices only entrusts specific individuals for carrying out customs procedures (e.g. owner of goods).
International transport documents
The main international transport certificates are the CMR note and the TIR carnet. The consignment note should contain specific information, such as the details of the sender and the recipient of goods, the date and place of delivery of the note, the destination of the goods to be transported, the cost, etc.
In Greece, there are bodies responsible for mediating disputes, such as the Consumer and Citizen Ombudsman, the Conciliation Commissions, the European Consumer Centre, the SOLVIT and FIN-NET networks, the Ombudsman for Banking - Investment Services and the Business Insurance and Actuary's Department of the SG of the Ministry of Development.
The database of the General Secretariat for Investments and Development of the Ministry of Finance on the regulatory framework for investment provides a comprehensive list of Greek laws on investment-related topics.