Transport and customs duties

How can works of art, musical instruments, stage equipment, work materials, and professional equipment, etc. be transported from Turkey to Germany? Although the EU has established a customs union with Turkey, this does not mean that you will not encounter any problems when transporting items from Turkey to the EU, and especially to Germany. So what should be considered and organized in advance?

The EU-Turkey customs union was established in 1966. This means:

  • a common customs territory was established > goods produced in or imported into the customs territory and cleared by customs may be transferred to other parts of the customs union, i.e. from Turkey to Germany or vice versa, without paying customs duty
  • there is also a Common External Tariff.

The Ankara Agreement (Ankara Agreement, ABI L 217 of December 29, 1964), pursuant to which the Customs Union (Decision No 1/95 of the EC-Turkey Association Council, ABI L 35 of February 13, 1996) was founded, forms the legal basis for the EU's bilateral trade relations with Turkey. 

With regard to import duties (i.e. customs duties, import turnover tax, possibly other excise duties if applicable, see also 'What are import duties?'), a customs union means that no customs duties are levied on goods transported from Turkey to Germany and vice versa. Import VAT may be levied, however. A number of regulations must be observed and paperwork completed.

The first relevant question is whether the case involves  

  • an import to Germany – that is, the goods transported to Germany will remain here permanently, e.g. sales of design objects, works of art, etc. or personal items brought along during an extended stay in Germany (move)
  • or temporary use of the goods in Germany – that is, goods are transported to Germany for guest performances, concerts, exhibitions, etc. and then returned to Turkey.

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