The coronavirus and your customs transactions
The spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) is having effects throughout society. Here are some details of how it may affect your customs transactions.
Do you have questions about the temporary entry ban and the requirement of a negative test result for ongoing COVID-19 infection upon entry to Sweden?
The Swedish Police Authority is in charge of checking people who wish to enter the country.
Up until the end of 31 May, Swedish Customs and the Swedish Coast Guard will be helping the Swedish Police Authority to check people’s right to enter Sweden. This will include checking whether foreign citizens can present a COVID-19 negative test result.
For information about entry provisions and the rules that apply, read more at polisen.se.
We are operating as usual
Swedish Customs’ staffing is good and we are carrying out our assigned operations. We have set up a special working group for handling COVID-19 and can rapidly adapt if the situation changes. We are meticulously following developments and collaborating with other authorities in Sweden, the EU and the rest of the world.
No closed borders for goods transport
The free movement of goods is to be maintained. All the EU’s member states agree on this. Goods traffic is not to be stopped, neither within the EU nor to and from countries outside the EU. However, current conditions may have consequences in the form of longer processing times when vehicles carrying goods have to cross national borders.
In the Swedish government’s decision on an entry ban for people outside the EU, there is an express exception for people transporting goods. The same applies as regards the closed-border measures that some of the EU’s member states (and Norway) have implemented. Said measures are for controlling movements of people and not of goods.
Goods, parcels and foodstuffs
The coronavirus is transmitted via respiratory droplets (produced when coughing, etc.) and spreads via human contact. Knowledge from previous, similar outbreaks shows that this type of virus is spread by human carriers and not via, for example, parcels and other postal deliveries. Swedish Customs does not examine consignments with the purpose of detecting infection. At present, there is nothing that indicates the virus can be spread via foodstuffs and drinking water.
Payment plans for periodical customs bills
In certain cases, Swedish Customs can grant relief as regards customs duty, taxes and other charges that have to be paid to Swedish Customs.
Read more about payment plans for periodical customs bills. NB! The information is in Swedish only. Please contact us with any questions.
Classification of medical devices
To facilitate cross-border trade in medical devices, the World Customs Organization (WCO) has compiled a list embodying a Harmonised System (HS) classification. A harmonised classification is essential for there to be no unnecessary obstacles when sending goods to consignees.
The commodity codes on the list are only suggestions. As usual, you yourself must assess your goods to check that they match what is suggested.
Take a look at the list and its commodity codes. (Version 3.0, 2 June 2020)
Exemption from customs duty and VAT when importing certain goods for protecting against and fighting COVID-19
On 3 April 2020, the EU Commission decided on a customs duty and VAT exemption for imports of protective equipment and other medical devices necessary for fighting COVID-19 and helping those who have already been affected. Initially, the exemption applied to imports as of 30 January 2020 up until the end of 31 July 2020. As there is still a great need for protective equipment to fight the pandemic, this period has been extended a few times. Exemption now applies up until the end of 31 December 2021.
Goods shall be imported either directly or as commissioned by:
- state, public and other public-law bodies (e.g. public agencies, regional and municipal government bodies, county councils and similar public bodies);
- private organisations (e.g. privately owned health and care companies) that wholly or partly provide public services governed by public law and subject to checks by public authorities/agencies.
- emergency aid and other voluntary and philanthropic organisations that Swedish Customs has approved as recipients of duty-free imports.
The coronavirus and certain countries’ certificates for preferential treatment
Owing to the extraordinary situation caused by the coronavirus, several countries have notified the EU that, at the moment, they cannot issue originals of certificates for preferential treatment. Instead, they are using copies of these. When the pandemic is over, companies in the EU must ensure that they get originals to replace these copies. To verify compliance with this, Swedish Customs will be carrying out retrospective certificate checks.
At import, Swedish Customs will, owing to the coronavirus and until further notice, be exceptionally accepting copies of certificates from certain countries. This applies to certificates issued no earlier than 1 March 2020.
Read more about the coronavirus and certain countries’ certificates for preferential treatment. NB! The information is in Swedish only. Please contact us with any questions.
Keep yourself informed
In companies with operations dependent on exports or imports, it is important that managers keep up-to date on the rules applying to the operations’ goods.
Developments in the wake of the coronavirus are rapid and it is vital that everyone remains aware of the applicable rules.
What is updated: Exemption from customs duty and VAT has been extended and applies until 31 December 2021.