Suspension of import duties on certain weapons and military equipment

Table of Contents:

Suspension of import duties on certain weapons and military equipment

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Suspension of import duties on certain weapons and military equipment


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.


Suspension of import duties on certain weapons and military equipment

Document or Iniciative

Council Regulation (EC) No 150/2003 of 21 January 2003 suspending import duties on certain weapons and military equipment [Official Journal L 25 of 30.01.2003].


The Customs Union requires the consistent application of the Common Customs Tariff. It is in the interests of the Member States and the Community for the armed forces of the Member States to be equipped with the most technologically advanced weapons and military equipment available. Given that some of these weapons and military materials are supplied by third countries, it would be advisable to eliminate customs duties on these products, subject to certain conditions, and to set up common rules for these exemptions. This Regulation lays down the necessary conditions for the autonomous suspension of import duties on goods imported by or on behalf of the authorities in charge of defence in the Member States.

Suspension of duties.

The Regulation provides for the duties of the Common Customs Tariff applicable to weapons and military materials to be suspended, on condition that the goods are used by or on behalf of the armed forces of a Member State, for example in the territorial defence of Member States, participation in international peace keeping or other missions, e.g. the protection of European citizens. Annex I of the Regulation lays down the list of goods which are eligible for this exemption. Any material that is not listed in Article 2 and in the annexes is subject to customs duties, even if it is imported by the armed forces of a Member State.

Goods concerned.

3.The goods on which the duties are suspended are arms and ammunition, including parts and accessories, certain rare gases, explosives, detonators, certain photographic materials and certain chemical products.

The Regulation also applies the suspension of customs duties to imported parts, components and sub-assemblies that are to be incorporated into or fitted to the goods in the annexes or which are necessary for training or testing.

Private companies.

Private companies established in the EU will only be able to import the goods duty-free provided that that they manufacture the relevant military equipment, and that they supply final products to the authorities in charge of defence in the Member States. All other uses are liable for customs duties.



The request for entry for free circulation of these goods must be accompanied by a certificate issued by the competent authority of the Member State for whose armed forces the goods are destined. The model for this certificate is reproduced in Annex III to the Regulation. It is to be submitted to the customs authorities of the importing Member State with the goods to which it refers.

Military confidentiality.

To ensure military confidentiality, the Regulation lays down a specific administrative procedure for granting duty suspension, namely the authorities responsible for national defence may deliver the certificate instead of the customs services. The authorities must be notified accordingly.

Customs supervision.

The goods concerned are subject to end use conditions laid down by the Community Customs Code, i.e. their use will be supervised. Customs supervision of the end use ends three years after the date of release for free circulation.

For the purposes of customs supervision, the competent authority delivering the certificate or using the goods must notify the customs authorities of its Member State of any diversion of the goods from the use specified in the Regulation.

Exchanging information.

The names of the authorities authorised to issue the certificate must be communicated to the Commission by the Member States. The Commission will forward this information to the customs authorities of the other Member States.

The Member States must inform the Commission of the administrative implementation of the Regulation, and send information each year to the Commission on the number of certificates issued, together with the total value and gross weight of goods imported under the Regulation.


Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 150/2003 31.1.2003 OJ L 25 of 30.1.2003

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