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 similar 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 sub-paragraph above alone or from goods referred to in the two sub-paragraphs above.
All other goods have non-Union goods status and the EU’s foreign trade and customs regimes apply.
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, 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; and
- international agreements containing customs provisions, insofar as they are applicable in the Union.
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 (including communication with the duty payer; deadlines for paying duties imposed; 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 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 provisions for rules of origin specified by each bilateral or multilateral agreement.
Goods of 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 from/to 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 includes 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.
Every good in the TARIC 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.) explaining why in certain 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, as verified by the invoice value submitted to customs authorities, arises 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 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 the 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 other customs formalities in front of the customs authorities). That person may appoint a representative to act on their behalf.
In line with the Union Customs Code (UCC), goods may be placed in the following customs procedures:
- release for free circulation (i.e. import);
- special procedures; and
A customs representative is any person appointed by another 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 their 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: an economic operator) must 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 a single identification number for all customs operations across the entire EU.
Economic operators who are established in Slovenia and Slovenian natural persons do not make an application to obtain EORI numbers. When this system was being introduced, Slovenia decided that the EORI number is to be the same for Slovenian legal persons as their existing applicable tax number applied together 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 (AEO) established in the customs territory of the Union who is a 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 like recognition as a secure and safe business partner, improved relationships 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;
- an entry in the declarant’s records (EIDR), which authorises the holder to file 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 filed;
- centralised clearance (CC), which authorises a holder to lodge, or make available, at the customs office where they are 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; and
- simplification of the drawing up of customs declarations for goods falling under different tariff subheadings.
The use of all of these simplifications, except a 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 arriving 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, an entry summary declaration (ENS) must be submitted.
The ENS is lodged at the customs office of first entry within a specific time limit, before the goods are brought into the Union’s customs territory.
The entry summary declaration is submitted 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 ENS must contain the particulars needed for risk analysis for security and safety purposes. Customs may accept the submission of a notification and access to the particulars of the ENS in the economic operator’s computer system or an ENS submitted by use of port community or similar commercial or transport information systems. Where a customs declaration or a temporary storage declaration (TSD) is submitted in advance and within the specified time limit and contains the particulars of the ENS, the requirement to submit the ENS may be waived.
The ENS for deep-sea containerised shipments, for voyages to the EU whose duration exceeds 24 hours, must be submitted at least 24 hours before loading commences 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 then notify the carrier provided that they are electronically connected to the customs authorities and have been identified by their EORI number in the third-party ENS submission.
At the same time, the customs office of entry performs a security and safety risk analysis for all goods declared in the ENS.
Notification of arrival
When entering the customs territory of the EU, 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 need for notification).
Customs authorities may accept that port or airport systems or other available methods of information can be used to notify the arrival of the means of transport.
Presentation of the goods
Goods brought into the Union’s customs territory must be presented to customs immediately upon arrival at the designated customs office, any other place designated or approved by the customs authorities or in a free zone.
Goods presented to customs need to be assigned to a customs procedure or a temporary storage.
Non-Union goods are in a temporary storage from the moment they are presented to customs. They are temporarily stored under customs supervision in the period between being presented to customs and placed under a customs procedure or being re-exported. Temporary storage cannot exceed 90 days.
Placing goods under a customs procedure
Generally, a declarant is free to choose the customs procedure in 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 a customs declaration, apply control measures like examining the declaration and the supporting documents; requiring the declarant to provide other documents; examining the goods; and taking samples for analysis or a detailed examination of the goods.
When the conditions for placing the goods under the relevant procedure are fulfilled (provided that no 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 goods under a particular customs procedure (i.e. release for free circulation, special procedures or export), a customs declaration must be submitted.
Generally, the customs declaration is submitted electronically (some exceptions apply). It may be submitted by any person able to provide all the information required for the customs procedure concerning the goods being declared. That person (hereinafter: the 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, such declaration must be submitted by that person or their representative.
The declarant must be established in the customs territory of the Union. But persons who submit a customs declaration for transit or temporary admission, or persons who occasionally submit 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 Union’s customs territory.
Release for free circulation (import)
Non-Union goods intended to be placed on the Union market or for private use or consumption within the customs territory of the Union may be approved for release for free circulation.
Goods are released for free circulation following:
- 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
- the completion of other prescribed formalities relating to importing the goods.
By release for free circulation, non-Union goods acquire the customs status of Union goods.
Goods may be placed in any of the following special procedures:
- transit (external and internal transit);
- storage (customs warehousing and free zones);
- specific use (temporary admission and end-use); and
- 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 upon import might apply, and of Union goods which, between their point of departure and point of destination in the EU, must pass through the territory of a third country.
The common transit procedure is used for the movement of goods between the EU member states, the EFTA countries (Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland), Turkey (since 1 December 2012), North Macedonia (since 1 July 2015), Serbia (since 1 February 2016) and the United Kingdom, except for Northern Ireland, where the Protocol for Ireland/ Northern Ireland is implemented (since 1 January 2021).. The procedure is based on the Convention of 20 May 1987 on a common transit procedure.
The Brexit issue: in the transitional period (until 31 December 2020 at the latest) no changes are to be made to the customs systems. At the end of the transitional period, the UK will become a member of the Common Transit Convention and the Protocol of Ireland/Northern Ireland will be implemented.
Under the external transit procedure, non-Union goods may be moved from one point to another within the Union’s customs territory without being subject to any import duty or other charges, or commercial policy measures.
Under the internal transit procedure and in 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 that 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).
Where an economic need exists and customs supervision is not adversely affected, the customs authorities may 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 such procedures.
Member states may designate parts of the Union’s customs territory 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 requires advance notification to the customs authorities.
Union goods may enter, be 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 applying to such procedures. In these 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); and
- the requirements for total or partial duty relief set out in the customs legislation are met.
The customs authorities determine the time by which goods placed under the temporary admission procedure must be re-exported or placed under a subsequent customs procedure. This 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 only allow the prescribed end-use, in the authorisation the customs authorities may establish the conditions in which the goods are deemed to have been used for the purposes prescribed 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.
The export procedure applies to Union goods taken out of the customs territory of the Union.
Before goods are taken out of the Union’s customs territory, a pre-declaration must be submitted with the competent customs office within a specific time limit. This pre-departure declaration takes the form of a customs declaration (where goods are placed under a customs procedure for which such a declaration is required) or in the form of a re-export declaration.
Goods to be taken out of the Union’s customs territory 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. Goods may be 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.
Union goods to be exported from 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 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 aircraft or ship’s destination, 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-exporting occurs when 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 Union’s customs territory covered by a re-export declaration or by re-export notification. A re-export notification must be submitted for 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 all those goods for which the obligation to lodge an exit summary declaration for those goods is waived.
Financing and insurance of Slovenian exports
SID – Slovenska izvozna in razvojna banka, d.d., Ljubljana (SID Bank Inc., Ljubljana) is the legal successor to the Slovene Export Corporation, Inc., Ljubljana, established in 1992. SID Bank operates as both an export and development bank as well as a national export credit agency (ECA) providing insurance against non-marketable risks.
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 locally and abroad.
SID Bank engages in promotional and development activities in the areas of international trade, economic and development cooperation, entrepreneurship, RDI, education, ecology, energy efficiency and infrastructure, all with the primary aim of filling gaps in the market. SID Bank’s core focus is on providing products and services that supplement the financial market and thereby add to the economic competitiveness of Slovenia and its sustainable development.
By assisting clients in all phases of their business transactions, supporting development projects, ensuring safety as they internationalise their operations, arranging various risk-coverage instruments for international business transactions, as well as in other ways, SID Bank encourages Slovenian companies to take full advantage of the opportunities brought by international economic and development cooperation.
SID Bank’s core areas of expertise are financing, including pre- and post-shipment export finance, supplier and buyer credit, SME financing, as well as company financing in other 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 a range of financial instruments whose objective is to:
- support international business transactions by financing Slovenian exporters or foreign buyers of Slovenian goods or services;
- expand Slovenian companies’ investments abroad;
- develop small and medium enterprises;
- support investment in research and development;
- realise environmental protection projects;
- 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 insurance for 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/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 for foreign companies which 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.