About the Customs Union

The EU Customs Union means:

  • No customs duties at internal borders between the EU Member States;
  • Common customs duties on imports from outside the EU;
  • Common rules of origin for products from outside the EU;
  • A common definition of customs value.

Agreement on these four principles between the six founder Member States ( Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands) led to completion of the Customs Union on 1 July 1968, one and a half years earlier than planned in the 1957 Treaty of Rome.

After 1 July 1968 drafting of the Community customs legislation was pushed forward to make sure that wherever goods are imported into the EU, the same rules are applied. A legal framework was established covering such important points as:

  • Ensuring that the common tariff is applied in the same way all along the EU’s external borders;
  • Introducing a common approach on warehousing procedures;
  • Facilitating movements of goods in “customs transit”;
  • Replacing the wide variety of customs documents with a single administrative document.

All the rules on the above-mentioned points were finally brought together in a single piece of legislation, the Community Customs Code, which was adopted in 1992.