Top Menu

A brief explanation of import duties for Irish businesses

Import duties are a mechanism used by Governments to protect indigenous industries from unfair competition by exporters from low-cost economies.

A Number of tools

It’s one of a number of tools used in this regard, others being a complete ban on imports of certain commodities, and quota restrictions which are a less restrictive version of the same thing, where a predetermined quantity of a given commodity is allowed into a country over a given time (normally a year). Additional difficulties can be added such as original suppliers’ export licences being required, or import licences from the government of the importing country being required for each import being undertaken.

A final tool that is used in some cases is an anti-dumping tax which is applied as a penalty in cases where it is believed by the government of the importing country that the product is being exported at below cost to damage the indigenous industry of the importing country.

Since Ireland is part of the EU, it falls under the Harmonised Tariff System which covers all EU countries, so if you want to import furniture into the EU, the same tariff/import duty rate will apply.

Imort duties

Import Duties are charged on the landed cost of the import, so if you import 1000 widgets at €1 each, and it costs €200 to get them shipped, and you pay marine insurance of €10, the duty will be calculated on €1210, not the €1000 purchase price. It should also be noted that Anti Dumping Tax is charged in addition to import duties.

Duty rates vary by country being imported from, and by commodity being imported, so for instance if you import widgets from China to Ireland they might attract a duty of 5% whereas importing the very same widget from Vietnam may attract a 0% duty. For China which I am familiar with, many products are rated at 0% for instance most furniture (except cane and osier) and most medical products, whereas plastics and ceramics attract 5% to 6% and porcelain is up at around 12%. Obviously there are far too many products to list here, however for EU imports you can check out the TARIC Website where you can search by commodity type.

For Ireland, you can also contact the Tariff Classification unit of the Department of Revenue, in Nenagh, and they will be able to give you a determination of the tariff code and duty rate if you give them a description of the product. The tariff classifications are not binding however, and are subject to being queried by customs. To avoid this, you can apply for a Binding Tariff Agreement from customs, and this will guarantee your rate. If you plan to import large quantities of a very specific piece of kit, it might be worth investigating this.

I hope the above will be of help, and if you require any further information, or assistance with imports from China to Ireland, you can contact us through

Small Business Can Newsletter
Small Business Can is run by businesspeople for businesspeople. We share our experiences, successes and failures. Sign up for our insightful (and sometimes funny) newsletter and stay up to speed with all the latest insights.
No comments yet.

Leave a Reply