Slovenia is a member of the European Union (EU) and therefore fully applies the EU’s foreign trade and customs policy.
Trade between EU member states
Trade between Slovenia and other EU member states is based on the free movement of goods. There is no importing or exporting of goods between EU member states. Trade is carried out without customs control or customs duties and without any quantitative restrictions or other equivalent measures. There is no need to carry out customs formalities (e.g. submit documents for the customs control of goods, submit a customs declaration etc.); however, as part of implementing the tax policy, certain administrative formalities still have to be respected.
The free movement of goods among EU member states only relates to goods which have Union goods status. These are:
- goods wholly obtained in the customs territory of the Union and not incorporating goods imported under certain circumstances;
- goods brought into the customs territory of the Union from third countries and released for free circulation; and
- goods obtained or produced in the customs territory of the Union, either from goods referred to in the second indent alone or from goods referred to in the first and second indents.
All other goods have non-Union goods status and the EU’s foreign trade regime and customs regime apply to them.
Trade with non-EU member states
In its relations with non-EU member states (hereinafter: third countries), Slovenia applies the EU’s foreign trade and customs policy.
The European Union concludes bilateral agreements and devises specific trade policies with third countries and regional areas. Bilateral trade relations concern agreements on free trade, association, co-operation and partnership and customs unions.
In the importing and exporting of goods from and to third countries, the customs regulations of the EU are applied. The key EU acts regulating this area are:
- the Union Customs Code (UCC) and the provisions supplementing or implementing it adopted at Union or national level;
- the Common Customs Tariff;
- the legislation setting up a Union system of reliefs from customs duty;
- international agreements containing customs provisions, insofar as they are applicable in the Union.
The member states are authorised to regulate certain areas of customs legislation not covered by the EU’s customs regulations in their national legislation. These areas (which include entry in the accounts; communication to the debtor; a prescribed period for paying amounts of duty; administrative penalties and fines) are governed in Slovenia by the Act Implementing the Customs Legislation of the European Union.
Classification of goods
Goods are classified in the customs nomenclature according to their type, i.e. their structure, technical characteristics and purpose of use. The EU applies a combined nomenclature that gives a detailed classification of a globally recognised, harmonised system of nomenclature and tariff denominations. Customs duties, as well as other trade policy measures, therefore depend on the classification of goods in the combined nomenclature. The customs authorities may in relation to a specific request and on that basis, as well as after meeting certain requirements, issue binding information on the classification of goods in the combined nomenclature.
Origin of goods
Based on their origin, non-Union goods are divided into two groups.
Goods of a preferential origin, for which more favourable customs rates are applied or which are exempt from customs duties according to the provisions of a concluded preferential agreement between the EU and a third country (mostly Free-Trade Agreements, also Association Agreements, Deep and Comprehensive Trade Agreements; Partnership and Cooperation Agreements etc.). Preferential origin is granted to those goods which, when purchased or produced, meet the requirements of the provisions for rules of origin specified by each bilateral or multilateral agreement.
Goods of a non-preferential origin are goods to which conventional customs rates and other measures of the EU’s trade policy are applied, e.g. the calculation of compensation or anti-dumping customs duties, quantitative restrictions or quotas etc.
For certain countries (non-EU member states that have signed bilateral or multilateral arrangements or are subject to the EU’s unilateral trade preferences – GSP, ACP, OCT etc.), the EU recognises trade preferences which may be used if the rules on the origin of goods are observed. Determining the origin of goods is a demanding task and the customs authorities may issue binding information on the origin of goods based on a request and the fulfilment of related requirements.
The TARIC (Integrated Tariff of the European Communities) is a multilingual electronic database into which all measures relating to EU customs tariff, commercial and agricultural legislation are integrated.
It contains measures to be applied when importing or exporting goods to/from a certain country; customs rates on importing goods from third countries, tariff concessions, preferential customs rates based on agreements, agricultural taxes, special taxes on sugar, flour and poultry, quotas, licences, restrictions, export refunds etc.
For individual measures and duties, the TARIC contains additional explanatory remarks and the relevant legal grounds. The TARIC also contains national import-related measures (VAT, excise duties etc.) apart from all those that apply to the entire EU.
In the TARIC every good is assigned a 10-digit numerical code which consists of a harmonised system and a combined nomenclature. For some EU measures, special codes are prescribed (e.g., anti-dumping, processed food codes etc.) and that is why in special cases a code exceeding 20-digits can be applied.
To properly use the TARIC, one must know the correct TARIC classification code of goods and the origin of goods.
The basic rule is that the customs value, verified on the basis of the invoice value submitted to customs authorities, results from the transaction value, namely the price actually paid or payable for the goods when sold for export to the customs territory of the Union.
All goods under customs control imported into the EU’s customs territory must be submitted to a customs authority to determine their status, i.e. whether they are Union goods or non-Union goods.
Goods entering the customs territory of the Union are subject to customs supervision. Where applicable, they must comply with prohibitions and restrictions justified on grounds of public morality, public security, protection of health, the environment, national treasures, industrial or commercial property etc. Goods remain under customs supervision for as long as needed to determine their customs status.
A person wishing to import goods into the EU or use any other customs procedure must act before customs authorities in line with the customs rules (e.g. lodging the customs declaration, presenting the goods and completing the other customs formalities in front of the customs authorities). That person may appoint a representative to act on their behalf.
In line with the UCC, goods may be placed in the following customs procedures:
- release for free circulation (i.e. import);
- special procedures;
A customs representative is any person appointed by another person to carry out the acts and formalities required under the customs legislation in their dealings with customs authorities. Such representation may be either direct, in which case the customs representative acts in the name of and on behalf of another person, or indirect, in which case the customs representative acts in his or her own name but on behalf of another person.
Any person who, in the course of their business, is involved in activities covered by the customs legislation (hereinafter: economic operator) has to be registered in the EORI system (Economic Operators Registration and Identification System). The EORI system is based on a unique identification number (EORI number) which allows the use of only one identification number for all customs operations across the entire EU.
Economic operators who are established in Slovenia and Slovenian natural persons do not need to lodge any requests to obtain EORI numbers. When this system was being introduced, Slovenia decided that the EORI number is the same as the applicable tax number with the prefix SI.
Operators from non-EU countries can be registered with the competent authority in any member state. In Slovenia, the authority is the Kranj Financial Office, Department of Customs, Department of TARIC.
Any economic operator established in the customs territory of the Union who is part of an international supply chain and involved in customs-related operations may apply for AEO status if they meet the criteria prescribed in the UCC which, among others, are an absence of infringements of customs or tax legislation; a high level of control of operations (commercial and transport records), financial solvency, safety standards and others.
The AEO regime aims to enhance international supply chain security and facilitate legitimate trade and is open to all supply chain actors. It covers economic operators authorised for customs simplification (AEOC), security and safety (AEOS) or a combination of the two.
The AEO status is recognised by the customs authorities in all EU member states.
The AEO benefits depend on the type of authorisation and are: easier admittance to customs simplifications, prior notification, fewer physical and document-based controls, priority treatment of consignments if selected for control, choice of the place of controls; and indirect benefits such as recognition as a secure and safe business partner, improved relations with Customs and other government authorities etc.
Traders with AEO status and other compliant and trustworthy economic operators that fulfil prescribed conditions are entitled to customs simplifications. These simplifications include:
- a simplified declaration (SD), which allows a holder to have goods placed under a customs procedure based on a simplified declaration. The benefit is related to the two-step procedure. Particulars or documents can be missing at the time of release of the goods;
- an entry in the declarant’s records (EIDR), which authorise the holder to lodge a customs declaration in the form of an entry in the declarant’s records, provided the particulars of that declaration are available to the customs authorities in the declarant’s system when the declaration is lodged;
- centralised clearance (CC), which authorises a holder to lodge, or make available, at the customs office where he is established a customs declaration for goods presented to customs at another customs office within the customs territory of the Union;
- self-assessment (SA), which authorises an AEOC to carry out certain customs formalities that are to be conducted by the customs authorities to determine the amount of import and export duty payable, and to perform certain controls under customs supervision;
- simplification of the drawing up of customs declarations for goods falling under different tariff subheadings.
The use of all these simplifications, except simplified declaration for non-regular use and possibly centralised clearance at the national level, depends on an authorisation.
Goods brought into the customs territory of the Union must be presented to customs immediately upon their arrival at the designated customs office (the customs office of the first entry or any other place designated or approved by the customs authorities) or in the free zone.
Importing goods into the EU’s customs territory
Goods brought into the customs territory of the Union must be covered by an entry summary declaration (ENS).
Importers established outside the EU will be assigned an EORI the first time they lodge a customs declaration or an entry summary declaration (ENS). Operators use this number in all communications with any EU customs authorities where an EU-based identifier is required, for example in customs declarations.
Submitting an entry summary declaration (ENS)
In order to inform the customs authorities that goods are to be brought into the customs territory of the Union, the Entry summary declaration (ENS) must be lodged.
The entry summary declaration (ENS) is lodged at the customs office of first entry within a specific time limit, before the goods are brought into the customs territory of the Union.
The entry summary declaration is lodged by the carrier or by the importer or consignee or other person in whose name or on whose behalf the carrier acts; or by any person who is able to present the goods in question or have them presented at the customs office of entry.
The entry summary declaration must contain the particulars necessary for risk analysis for security and safety purposes. Customs may accept the lodgement of a notification and access to the particulars of the ENS in the economic operator’s computer system or ENS lodged by use of port community or similar commercial or transport information systems. Where a customs declaration or a temporary storage declaration (TSD) is lodged in advance and within the specified time limit and contains the particulars of the ENS, the lodgement of an ENS may be waived.
ENS for deep-sea containerised shipments, for voyages to the EU whose duration exceeds 24 hours, must be lodged at least 24 hours before the commencement of loading in the foreign load port and for road transport at least 1 hour before their arrival at the customs office of entry in the EU.
Immediately upon registration of the ENS, the customs authorities notify the declarant of the Movement Reference Number (MRN). The customs authorities should notify the carrier provided that he is electronically connected to the customs authorities and that he has been identified by his EORI number in the third-party ENS lodgement.
At the same time, the customs office of entry performs the security and safety risk analysis for all goods declared in the ENS.
Notification of arrival
When entering the customs territory of the EU, upon the arrival of the means of transport (a sea-going vessel or an aircraft) carrying goods, its operator notifies the arrival to the customs office of first entry (if this information is otherwise available to the customs authorities, they may waive the notification).
Customs authorities may accept that port or airport systems or other available methods of information be used to notify the arrival of the means of transport.
Presentation of the goods
Goods brought into the customs territory of the Union must be presented to customs immediately upon their arrival at the designated customs office or any other place designated or approved by the customs authorities or in the free zone by one of the following persons:
- the person who brought the goods into the customs territory of the Union;
- the person in whose name or on whose behalf the person who brought the goods into that territory acts;
- the person who assumed responsibility for carriage of the goods after they were brought into the customs territory of the Union.
Goods brought into the customs territory of the Union by sea or air and which remain on board the same means of transport for carriage must be presented to customs only at the port or airport where they are unloaded or transhipped. However, goods brought into the customs territory of the Union which are unloaded and reloaded onto the same means of transport during its voyage, in order to enable the unloading or loading of other goods, do not need to be presented to customs at that port or airport.
Goods presented to customs need to be assigned to a customs procedure or temporary storage.
Non-Union goods are in temporary storage from the moment they are presented to customs. They are temporarily stored under customs supervision in the period between their presentation to customs and their placing under a customs procedure or re-export. Temporary storage cannot exceed 90 days.
Placing goods under a customs procedure
Generally, the declarant is free to choose the customs procedure under which to place the goods (release for free circulation, special procedures; export) under the conditions for that procedure, irrespective of their nature or quantity, country of origin, consignment or destination.
The customs authorities may, for the purpose of verifying the accuracy of the customs declaration, apply control measures such as examining the declaration and the supporting documents; requiring the declarant to provide other documents; examining the goods; and taking samples for analysis or for a detailed examination of the goods.
Where the conditions for placing the goods under the procedure concerned are fulfilled and provided that any restriction has been applied and the goods are not subject to any prohibition, the customs authorities release the goods as soon as the particulars in the customs declaration have been verified or are accepted without verification.
Submitting a customs declaration
In order to indicate the intention to place the goods under a particular customs procedure (i.e. release for free circulation, special procedures or export), a customs declaration must be lodged.
Generally, the customs declaration is lodged electronically (some exceptions apply). It may be lodged by any person able to provide all the information required for the customs procedure concerning the goods which are declared. That person (hereinafter: declarant) must also be able to present the goods in question or have them presented to customs. However, where the acceptance of a customs declaration imposes particular obligations on a specific person, that declaration must be lodged by that person or their representative.
The declarant must be established in the customs territory of the Union. But persons who lodge a customs declaration for transit or temporary admission, or persons who occasionally lodge a customs declaration, including for end-use or inward processing or persons who are established in a country whose territory is adjacent to the customs territory of the Union, are not required to be established in the customs territory of the Union.
Release for free circulation (import)
Non-Union goods intended to be put on the Union market or intended for private use or consumption within the customs territory of the Union are placed under release for free circulation.
Goods are released for free circulation after:
- the collection of any import duty due;
- the collection, as appropriate, of other charges;
- the application of commercial policy measures and prohibitions and restrictions insofar as they do not have to be applied at an earlier stage; and
- completion of the other formalities set out relating to the import of the goods.
By release for free circulation non-Union goods acquire the customs status of Union goods.
Goods may be placed under any of the following special procedures:
- transit (external and internal transit);
- storage (customs warehousing and free zones);
- specific use (temporary admission and end-use);
- processing (inward and outward processing).
The Union transit procedure is used for customs transit operations between EU member states (and Andorra and San Marino) and generally applies to the movement of non-Union goods for which customs duties and other charges at import are at stake, and of Union goods which, between their point of departure and point of destination in the EU, have to pass through the territory of a third country.
The common transit procedure is used for the movement of goods between the 28 EU member states, the EFTA countries (Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland), Turkey (since 1 December 2012), North Macedonia (since 1 July 2015) and Serbia (since 1 February 2016). The procedure is based on the Convention of 20 May 1987 on a common transit procedure.
Under the external transit procedure, non-Union goods may be moved from one point to another within the customs territory of the Union without being subject to any import duty or other charges, or commercial policy measures. In specific cases, Union goods may be placed under the external transit procedure.
Under the internal transit procedure and under certain conditions, Union goods may be moved from one point to another within the customs territory of the Union, and pass through a country or territory outside that customs territory, without any change occurring in their customs status.
Under a storage procedure, non-Union goods may be stored in the customs territory of the Union without being subject to any import duty and other charges and commercial policy measures.
In specific cases, Union goods may be placed under the customs warehousing or free zone procedure in accordance with Union legislation governing certain fields.
Generally, there is no limit on the length of time goods may remain under a storage procedure.
Under the customs warehousing procedure, non-Union goods may be stored in premises or any other location authorised for that procedure by the customs authorities and under customs supervision (customs warehouses).
Customs warehouses may be available for use by any person (public customs warehouse), or only by the holder of an authorisation for customs warehousing (private customs warehouse).
The customs authorities may, where an economic need exists and customs supervision is not adversely affected, authorise the processing of goods under the inward processing or end-use procedure to take place in a customs warehouse, subject to the conditions provided for by those procedures.
Member states may designate parts of the customs territory of the Union as free zones. In Slovenia, the Port of Koper holds free zone status.
Goods brought into a free zone must be brought into that free zone directly. Subject to the customs legislation, any industrial, commercial or service activity is permitted in a free zone. The performance of such activities is subject to advance notification to the customs authorities.
Union goods may be entered, stored, moved, used, processed or consumed in a free zone. In such cases, the goods are not regarded as being under the free zone procedure.
Non-Union goods may, while they remain in a free zone, be released for free circulation or be placed under the inward processing, temporary admission or end-use procedure, according to the conditions laid down for those procedures. In such cases, the goods are not regarded as being under the free zone procedure.
Under the temporary admission procedure non-Union goods intended for re-export may be subject to specific use in the customs territory of the Union, with total or partial relief from import duty, and without being subject to other charges and commercial policy measures.
The temporary admission procedure may only be used if the following conditions are met:
- the goods are not intended to undergo any change, except normal depreciation, due to the use made of them;
- it is possible to ensure that the goods placed under the procedure can be identified (with some exceptions);
- the holder of the procedure is established outside the customs territory of the Union (with some exceptions);
- the requirements for total or partial duty relief laid down in the customs legislation are met.
The customs authorities determine the period within which goods placed under the temporary admission procedure must be re-exported or placed under a subsequent customs procedure. Such a period must be long enough for the objective of authorised use to be achieved, but generally not longer than 24 months. In exceptional circumstances, the customs authorities may grant an extension.
Under the end-use procedure, goods may be released for free circulation under a duty exemption or at a reduced rate of duty on account of their specific use.
Where the goods are in a production stage that would economically allow the prescribed end-use only, the customs authorities may establish in the authorisation the conditions under which the goods are deemed to have been used for the purposes laid down for applying the duty exemption or reduced rate of duty.
Where goods are suitable for repeated use and the customs authorities consider it appropriate in order to avoid abuse, customs supervision continues for a period not exceeding two years after the date of their first use.
Under the inward processing procedure non-Union goods may be used in the customs territory of the Union in one or more processing operations without such goods being subject to any import duty or other charges and commercial policy measures.
Generally, the inward processing procedure may be used in cases other than repair and destruction only where the goods placed under the procedure can be identified in the processed products.
Under the outward processing procedure, Union goods may be temporarily exported from the customs territory of the Union in order to undergo processing operations. The processed products resulting from those goods may be released for free circulation with total or partial relief from import duty.
Goods taken out of the customs territory of the Union must be covered by a pre-departure declaration. The export procedure applies to Union goods taken out of the customs territory of the Union to a destination outside that territory, which may include the high seas or moved to or out of special fiscal territories.
Formalities prior to the exit of goods
Goods to be taken out of the customs territory of the Union are covered by a pre-departure declaration. The pre-declaration must be lodged at the competent customs office within a specific time limit before the goods are taken out of the Union’s customs territory.
The export procedure applies to Union goods taken out of the customs territory of the Union to a destination outside that territory, which may include the high seas, or moved to or out of special fiscal territories.
The pre-departure declaration takes the form of a customs declaration where the goods to be taken out of the customs territory of the Union are placed under a customs procedure for which such a declaration is required. The pre-declaration could also be in the form a re-export declaration or an exit summary declaration.
As a general principle, EU legislation requires that all goods brought out of the customs territory of the Union, regardless of their final destination, must be risk assessed and subject to customs control before departure or (in the case of deep sea containerised maritime shipments) before vessel loading commences. Consequently, where a customs declaration or a re-export declaration is not required, an exit summary declaration has to be lodged.
Formalities upon the exit of goods
Goods to be taken out of the customs territory of the Union are subject to customs supervision and may be subject to customs controls. Where appropriate, the customs authorities may determine the route to be used, and the time limit to be respected when goods are to be taken out of the Union’s customs territory. Goods to be taken out of the Union’s customs territory are subject to the repayment or remission of import duty, the payment of export refunds, the collection of export duty, the formalities required under provisions in force regarding other charges and the application of prohibitions and restrictions.
Export and re-export
Union goods to be taken out of the Union’s customs territory must be placed under the export procedure. There are also exceptions, namely for Union goods placed under the outward processing procedure, or Union goods taken out of the customs territory of the Union after having been placed under the end-use procedure, or goods delivered, VAT or excise duty exempted, as aircraft or ship supplies, regardless of the destination of the aircraft or ship, for which proof of such supply is required, or goods placed under the internal transit procedure or goods moved temporarily out of the customs territory of the Union.
Re-export is not a customs procedure. Re-exportation takes place where non-Union goods have been temporarily stored without losing their non-Union status, after having been put under customs warehousing, inward processing, temporary admission, in a free zone or temporary storage. Under re-export, goods may leave the customs territory of the Union covered either by a re-export declaration, or if a re-export notification has to be lodged. Where non-Union goods transhipped within or directly re-exported from a free zone, or goods in temporary storage which are directly re-exported from a temporary storage facility and for all those goods the obligation to lodge an exit summary declaration for those goods is waived, a re-export notification must be lodged.
Financing and insurance of Slovenian exports
SID – Slovenska izvozna in razvojna banka, d.d., Ljubljana (SID Bank Inc., Ljubljana) is the legal successor of the Slovene Export Corporation, Inc., Ljubljana, established in 1992. SID Bank operates as an export and development bank as well as a national export credit agency (ECA) providing insurance against non-marketable risks.
SID Bank carries out promotional and development activities in the areas of international trade, economic and development cooperation, entrepreneurship, RDI, education, ecology, energy efficiency and infrastructure, with the primary aim to fill market gaps in those areas. SID Bank’s core focus is on providing products and services that supplement the financial market and thus encourage the Slovenian economy’s competitiveness and the country’s sustainable development.
The SID Bank Group includes the Centre for International Cooperation and Development (CMSR), a private, non-profit institute with a tradition going back 50 years in the field of economic and legal research and advisory services domestically and abroad.
By assisting clients in all phases of business transactions, supporting development projects, ensuring safety in the internationalisation of operations and providing various risk coverage instruments in international business transactions, as well as in other ways, SID Bank encourages Slovenian companies to exploit the opportunities arising from international economic and development cooperation.
The main areas of expertise of SID Bank entail financing, including pre- and post-shipment export finance, supplier and buyer credit, financing of SMEs, as well as other companies in various fields, focusing on environmental, energy efficiency and RDI projects. Besides financing, SID Bank offers insurance against non-marketable risks in the form of export credit insurance with short-, medium- to long-term cover of pre- and post-shipment risks, reinsurance of short-term export receivables, insurance of bank contractual guarantees (bonds), outward investment insurance and insurance of pre-export financing.
SID Bank uses various financial instruments to promote the projects of companies (and their banks) whose objective is to:
- provide pre-shipment financial support;
- realise international business transactions by financing Slovenian exporters or financing foreign buyers of Slovenian goods or services and their banks;
- facilitate Slovenian companies’ investments abroad (e.g. founding or purchasing a company, increasing capital);
- develop internationalisation;
- develop small and medium enterprises;
- support investment in research and development of the technological environment and technology;
- realise environmental protection projects and waste disposal;
- support projects in the areas of power supply and renewable energy resources;
- increase the Slovenian economy’s competitiveness and support the growth of an innovative environment;
- improve transport and municipal infrastructure;
- support public institutions (development of communities, districts, regions); and
- enhance the development of public-private partnership projects.
Insurance of export credits and outward investments
SID Bank provides the insurance of export credits and outward investments against non-marketable commercial and non-commercial risks, thereby covering:
Commercial risks are risks arising from the business behaviour of partners. These risks are:
- insolvency; and
- protracted default.
Non-commercial risks are risks of the business environment and of states:
- political risks (wars, civil riots, import bans imposed by a foreign country, a general de iure/ de facto moratorium, prohibition of conversion/transfer, expropriation etc.) in a debtor’s country;
- risks of a public buyer (risks of non-payment, protracted default or breach of contract if the debtor or guarantor is the state, a state authority or institution); and
- risks of natural disasters (earthquakes, floods etc.).
Foreign Buyer Credit Insurance
SID Bank as a national export-credit agency and an agent of the state provides insurance for international business transactions against non-marketable risks on behalf of and for the account of the Republic of Slovenia. Under the umbrella of insurance services, SID Bank also offers export credit insurance in the form of foreign buyer credit insurance. Foreign buyer credit insurance helps Slovenian companies expand beyond EU borders to non-EU markets under competitive conditions and with lower risk. With export credit insurance SID Bank provides support for long-term business transactions that enable participants to enter and operate in foreign markets and thereby enhance the long-term growth of exports and internationalisation of the economy.
SID Bank enables both insurance and financing of foreign companies that purchase Slovenian products and services. Under buyer’s credit insurance, the subject of insurance is a loan granted to a foreign buyer, with the policyholder being the bank which grants it. Several variations are possible with such insurance, like insurance of the buyer’s credit, foreign bank credit, credit line, purchase of receivables, post-financing of a letter of credit (L/C) etc.