What customs issues might you face when exporting to Ireland?

21 March, 2018
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Ireland is a very attractive market for UK businesses. Currently, it imports more from the UK than any other location – around a third of imports into Ireland come from just over the Irish Sea. Physical proximity, simple logistics and the fact that English is widely spoken mean Ireland has plenty to offer businesses keen to find a new audience.

The Irish market

Exports of goods and services into Ireland from the UK are worth more than £27.86 billion. The value of two way trade between the two countries is currently EUR 1 billion per week. For those seeking to establish a presence here, sectors such as food and drink and fashion and footwear are proving particularly successful for UK businesses. But if you’re considering exporting to Ireland what customs issues are you likely to face?


Customs issues when exporting to Ireland

  • Customs duty. This is a charge that may be payable depending on what you’re sending into the country. On the whole, when any item is shipped from a country within the EU to Ireland there will be no duty to pay on it. However, there may still be a charge for some products, for example alcohol and tobacco products will attract an excise duty.
  • VAT. VAT is usually payable on goods that are being shipped to Ireland from within the EU. How much VAT is due normally depends on where your business is registered. Excise goods, such as alcohol and tobacco, attract VAT at the rate that would be payable if those goods were being purchased locally in Ireland.
  • Paperwork issues. As Ireland is part of the EU, most goods that are being sent from within the EU should not experience any customs issues, delays or hold ups – especially as there is no duty to pay. Nevertheless, the paperwork that accompanies the shipping will need to be correct to ensure that it’s very clear where the product has come from and what’s inside the package.
  • Restricted and prohibited items. Just like any other country, Ireland has a list of items that are restricted and prohibited and which you can’t ship into the country (or only under certain conditions), regardless of where they are being sent from. These include items that you might expect, such as hazardous materials or weapons, but also a number of other restrictions and prohibitions that are less obvious, including collectible coins, fenugreek seeds, wool, tea and dairy products. It’s always advisable to check whether what you’re sending falls into one of these categories to avoid any customs issues.

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