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Updated 27/09/2016

Updated 27/09/2016

Selling within the EU

Intra-EU trade

As a business trading within the European Union, the European Economic Area (EEA) and Turkey, you have the right to export and import goods freely. This means that governments may not limit quantities of imports/exports nor restrict trade in any other way.

If you experience difficulties with public authorities, you can request assistance from our help and advice services .

The right to free trade also includes the right of free transit throughout the territory of the EU. Once a product - even one manufactured outside the EU - has entered the EU, it can be transported freely throughout the whole EU.

Harmonised rules

If your products comply with harmonised rules, they can be circulated freely within the EU. This means no restrictions may be put in place; such as limiting quantities of sales. Harmonised EU rules are based on a set of conditions, aimed to protect consumers, public health, and the environment.

Non-harmonised rules

If your products are not subject to harmonised EU rules, they may  be subject to national rules; if this is the case you will still be able to benefit from the free movement of goods on the basis of the principle of mutual recognition (the right to export and import goods freely within the EU).

Restrictions based on national rules

Restrictions may still be imposed on products if they would interfere with public interest – in particular on grounds of protection of health and life of humans, animals or plants, environmental protection, public security or public morality. Governments must demonstrate that such restrictions on free movement are justified and proportionate, such as advance authorisation procedures for certain products that present a genuine risk to human health.

Right of free transit

The right to free trade also includes the right of free transit throughout the territory of the EU, EEA and Turkey. Once a product — even one manufactured outside the EU — has entered the EU, it can be transported freely throughout the whole EU.

Importing/exporting to and from the EU

When undertaking business ventures with countries outside the EU different conditions apply, below are some useful links to European Commission websites that can give assistance:

The Market Access Database (MADB) gives information to companies exporting from the EU about import conditions in third-country markets.

The SME Internationalisation Portal is a database of support services that offers practical help for European companies seeking to do business outside the EU.

The Export Helpdesk has information on EU tariffs and requirements when exporting/importing to the EU from developing countries.

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Help & advice

European Small Claims Procedure

Do you have a commercial dispute with a supplier or client from another EU country? For claims of up to EUR 2 000 use the European Small Claims Procedure to claim your money back - hassle-free.

Product Contact Point

Your Product Contact Point can inform you on national product legislation and help you access another national market in the EU.