Taxation and Customs Union

EU Customs Union – unique in the world

In 2018 the EU Customs Union celebrates the 50th anniversary. It is a unique example of an area where a number of countries apply a uniform system for handling the import, export and transit of goods and implement a common set of rules called the Union Customs Code (UCC).

A uniform system of customs duties is being used on imports from outside the EU and there are no customs duties at the borders between the EU countries.
Duty on goods from the outside of the EU is generally paid when they first enter, but after that, there is nothing more to pay, no more checks and all goods move freely within the EU Customs Union.

The EU Customs Union is essential for the proper functioning of the single market. In practice, National customs services in all 28 EU countries work together as one to manage the day-to-day operations of the Customs Union. The European Commission proposes the EU customs legislation and monitors its implementation.

The EU is one of the largest traders in the world.

The EU is the largest trading block in the world, accounting for over 15% of the world trade, alongside the United States and China.

In 2019, the value of the EU trade with other countries amounted to EUR 4.09 trillion[1].

Half of EU external trade was mainly with five main partners: the United States, China, Switzerland, Russia and Turkey.



To manage this volume of international trade in 2019, more than 2,000 EU customs offices, working 24 hours a day and 365 days a year, handled the import, export or transit of over 868 million articles. The amount of customs duties collected in 2019 reached € 26.7 billion..

DG Taxation and Customs Union and Eurostat

Various means of carrying freight are used in the EU trade

The most frequently used form of transport in the EU trade is maritime transport, followed by air and road transport.