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    European Dimension of the Spanish Customs

    Spain is one of the European Union member states. 

    One of the essential elements of the European Union is the Customs Union of its countries and its most characteristic feature is the legislative competence of the EU with regard to customs, as Member States are responsible for the enforcement of the Community rules.

    Free circulation involves that goods move freely within the customs territory of the European Union, without paying Customs duties or any commercial restriction or customs requirements being applied.

    On the other hand, those Customs duties or other charges of equivalent-effect (such as antidumping duties) collected by Spain when importing goods from third countries (those not belonging to the European Union) are own resources of the EU budget and Spain, just like the other Member States, transfers to the EU budget 75% of duties collected.

    The European scope of Customs duties and the Community competence with regard to customs legislation require that all Member States apply legislation and collect duties with the same criteria and efficiency. To that end, the EU Member States and the European Commission meet, mainly in Brussels, to prepare and amend the EU customs legislation, according to their competencies, and to guarantee the standarization in the enforcement of laws and to solve those problems which may arise during such enforcement.

    Member States also take part in the preparation of the Community rules in the field of the competences of the European Parliament and the Council of the EU, which requires the participation of the different customs authorities in the meetings called for the purpose.


    Excise duties


    The Management and Intervention of excise duties is also a competence of the Customs & Excise Department. On this subject, national rules must adapt to Community directives and Member States also meet in Brussels, together with the European Commission, to guarantee the correct application of the rules, solve application problems and suggest legislative amendments.


    Foreign Trade Statistics


    The Customs & Excise Department produces them on the basis of import/export data (third countries) and INTRASTAT data (Member States of the EU). There are also European rules in this field.


    International scope of the Spanish Customs outside the EU

    Fight against fraud


    Besides the relationships maintained by the Customs & Excise Department with the Customs of the other Member States of the EU, it also has direct relations with the Customs of countries which are not part of the European Union, especially with the candidate countries to join the European Union, with Latin America and the North of Africa. Collaboration relations involve above all the fields of information exchange and mutual assistance in the fight against fraud and smuggling, and technical assistance for the development and modernization of such Customs.


    Mutual assistance and fight against evasion


    The international dimension of fraud and smuggling is getting larger and larger and requires the collaboration of Customs from different countries. The basic instruments used by the Spanish Customs are, apart from the different existing UE Regulations and Conventions, bilateral and multilateral Conventions held with other countries on cooperation and mutual assistance with regard to customs. It also takes an active part in different organizations and programmes which permit the exchange of information to fight against fraud, such as MARINFO, the Regional Intelligence Liaison Offices (RILO) of the World Customs Organization, the Caribbean Customs Law Enforcement Council (CCLEC), the BASC programme, etc.


    List of bilateral and multilaterales conventions

    • EU/Other countries (including protocols of mutual assistance of Association Conventions): USA., Hong Kong, Korea, Norway, Andorra, Canada, Turkey, Albania, Algeria, Armenia, Palestinian Authority, South Africa, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Chile, China, Croatia, Egypt, Faroe Islands, India, Antigua, Former Republic of Macedonia, Georgia, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Liechtenstein, Mexico, Moldavia, Morocco, Montenegro, Russian Federation, San Marino, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan.
    • Multilateral Spain/Other countries: Convention between the Customs National Management of Latin America, Spain and Portugal on cooperation and mutual assistance.
    • Conventions within the EU: Naples II Convention and SIA Convention.
    • Bilateral Spain/other countries: Germany, Algeria, Argentina, Austria, Cuba, USA, France, Italy, Morocco, Mexico, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Russian Federation, Turkey.

    Technical Assistance


    Spanish Customs collaborates in different programmes of customs development  and modernization, especially in:

    • Twinning programmes: they are programmes of technical assistance of the EU leaded by a Member State, whose goal is to help a candidate country to adhesion or which belongs to the field of the so-called “neighbourhood policy”, to adapts its structures for the joining or due to its relations with the EU. Since 2002, Spain has leaded ten customs and excises twinning programmes with Hungary (3), Romania (2), Bulgaria (2), Estonia (2) and Croatia.
    • Latin America: Spanish Customs participates in technical assistance missions in this region, in cooperation with different international organizations (EU, World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, United Nations Development Programme, CIAT, Andean Pact, MERCOSUR, World Customs Organization, among others)
    • North of Africa: Spain maintains a close customs cooperation with Morocco, including the collaboration with regard to technical assistance.
    • Conflict areas: the Spanish Customs collaborates in Community missions in conflict areas.

    Participation in International Organizations

    • World Customs Organization (WCO): Spain belongs to this Organization, which brings more than 150 countries together. Spain is contracting party of the following customs conventions promoted by the WCO: Customs Cooperation Council, Istanbul Convention on Temporary Admission, Kyoto Convention on Harmonization and Simplification of Customs Systems and Convention of the Harmonized System of Classification of Goods.
    • World Trade Organization (WTO): Spain is part of the WTO, and the Customs & Excise Department takes part in the meetings of the areas of Customs Value and Origin.
    • United Nations: The Customs & Excise Department participates actively in the field of fight against illegal traffic of drugs and drug precursors.
    • Council of Europe: The Customs & Excise Department participates in the Group Pompidou in the field of fight against illegal drug traffic.
  • International activity. Some figures Documento PDF  (73 KB)