Getting to know the basics for exporting parcels in and around the EU

29 August, 2017

Asendia truck parked up.

The EU currently remains one of the simplest areas for e-commerce exporting. If you’re shipping within its borders then there is little to worry about in the way of customs and some excellent logistics services on offer. For those looking to establish a foothold in EU markets such as France or Germany there are a few basic points to note.

EU parcel exporting in and around the EU

Exporting remains one of the best options for UK businesses looking to establish new markets – and the EU is one of the UK’s main export partners. Despite the drop in GBP resulting from uncertainty over Brexit, exporting remains profitable with those in countries outside the UK keen to take advantage of better conversion rates against Sterling. Export rates continue healthy growth – in 2016 – 2017 UK goods export and import prices rose by 8.2% and 7.8% respectively.

Defining your product and market

Market research is crucial for any business – is there an appetite for the products you’re looking to export in the EU? Some of the most popular export items include electronics, fashion, computers and transport equipment. If you know that you have a market then the next step is to get a classification for your product by identifying which commodity code is the right one to use. This will help you work out what you need in terms of licences, what laws apply and if any special requirements need to be considered.

Exporting parcels in the EU

Thanks to integrated import-export laws, EU parcel exporting is a fairly simple process.

  • Do you need an export licence? This is unlikely to be the case for most EU exports unless you’re handling products such as ammunition, chemicals, diamonds or live animals.
  • VAT – when you’re exporting within the EU, you can ‘zero rate’ the purchase if you’re sending to an entity that is VAT registered. If not then you must charge VAT at the usual rate. You may need to register for VAT in the country you’re exporting to if the total value of the goods is €35,000+ or you’re selling to consumers.
  • Customs – no customs declaration is required for goods sold within the EU. There are a couple of exceptions including sales to international organisations and special territories.
  • Couriers – working with the right logistics partner will ensure that you have all the correct paperwork in place and that your deliveries arrive with customers in the right condition and at the right time.