EU Regulations on Goods Subject to Shipping Restrictions
Shipping restrictions vary by country and may apply to items such as explosives, combustibles, firearms, and corrosives, which are subject to special controls.
In the European Union, restricted or prohibited goods fall in three categories – pirated or counterfeit goods, dangerous chemicals, and endangered species.
Hazardous chemicals that are subject to authorization are listed in Annex XIV to Regulation (EC) 1907/2006 (REACH). The list of hazardous goods includes items such as diarsenic trioxide and dibutyl phthalate which are carcinogenic, mutagenic, or toxic for reproduction. Some items cannot be shipped and placed on the market, whether for professional use or industrial application. These include manometers, hydrometers, barometers, and thermometers that contain mercury. Other regulations that apply to dangerous chemicals include the Biological Products Regulation and Ozone Depleting Substances.
Live plants and animals that are considered endangered species are subject to protection under relevant EU legislation and the CITES convention. Vulnerable species are protected under both the Habitats and Birds directives. More than 30,000 wild plants and animals are included in the CITES convention which regulates the trade in specimen. Council Regulation (EC) No 338/97 specifically deals with the re-export, export, and import of protected species and lays down the procedures to follow and the documents required, including internal trade certificates, import notifications, re-export certificates, and export and import permits. Different EU bodies have been established under the regulation, among which the Enforcement Group and Trade in Wild Fauna and Flora.
With regard to imported specimen, sellers are required to submit a declaration and other documents, depending on whether the species are imported in one lot or not. In case that the lot is split, they need to provide information such as country of origin, issuing authorities of import permits, date of issuance, and number of permits. Additional information that freight forwarders provide includes scientific name of species, estimated age, date of hatch or birth, sex, and marking.
Counterfeit and Pirated Items
Customs officials may detain items that are subject to an intellectual property right, whether imported or bought online. Regulation (EU) No 608/2013 governs the handling of counterfeit and pirated items and specifies the procedures that guide the actions of customs officials. Under the regulation, intellectual property right covers supplementary protection certificates for medical products, patents, geographical indications, copyright, design, trade mark, trade names, utility models, etc. The term trade mark covers both trade mark that has been registered under international agreements and in EU Member States as well as as laid down in the regulation. Counterfeit goods refer to goods that are found to infringe a trade mark, along with warranty documents, operation instructions, brochures, stickers, labels, and packaging that infringe a geographical location or trade mark.
Customs officials may share information regarding items found to infringe an intellectual property right, including destination and origin of goods, right infringed, and quantity and nature of items. Additional information includes reservation number, weight of load, number of containers, name of vessel, and place of final and first loading.