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It is crucial to be aware of import and export charges

If you are thinking of getting into the export business, you should research the various tariffs and charges that may be applied to any goods you sell overseas.

Import duties are, for example, a mechanism used by governments to protect indigenous industries from unfair competition from companies importing from low cost economies.

Another tool often used is a blanket ban on the importing of certain commodities. Quota restrictions are a less restrictive version of the same thing. Here, pre-determined quantities are allowed into a country over a given time, normally a year.

Export licences may be required from the original supplier. Alternatively, it may be a requirement that import licences be secured from the government of the country into which you are importing.

Anti-dumping taxes are, meanwhile, applied as a penalty in cases where it is believed that goods are coming in below cost, with the potential to damage the indigenous industry.

Since Ireland is part of the EU, it falls under the Harmonised Tariff System. This covers all EU countries. If you want to import furniture in to the EU, for example, the same tariff or import duty rate will apply.

Import duties

Import duties are charged on the landed cost of the import. If you import 1,000 widgets at e1 each, with shipping costs coming in at e200 and a marine insurance fee of e10, the duty will be calculated on e1,210, not the e1,000 purchase price.

It should also be noted that anti dumping taxes are charged in addition to import duties.


Duty rates vary depending on the country you are importing from and the commodity you are importing. For example, if you export widgets from China into Ireland, you may attract duty of 5 per cent. By contrast, exporting the very same widget from Vietnam may attract 0 per cent duty.

For China, many products are rated at 0 per cent. This includes most furniture with the exception of cane and osier and most medical products. By contrast, plastics and ceramics attract 5 to 6 per cent, while porcelain is up at around 12 per cent.

Obviously, there are far too many products to list here. However, for EU imports, you can check out the TARIC website, which has a search facility that allows you to search by commodity type.

For Ireland, you can also contact the Tariff Classification Unit of the Office of the Revenue Commissioners in Nenagh, which can determine the tariff code and duty rate for you if you give them a description of the product. The tariff classifications are not binding, however, and can be queried by customs.

To avoid this, you can apply to customs for a binding tariff agreement, which will guarantee your rate. If you plan to import large quantities of a very specific piece of kit, this might be worth looking at.