Important note:

Every effort has been made to communicate the information as accurately as possible. However, please make sure to read the date of publication of this blog post in order to ascertain when it is outdated.

In the last decades, the bureaucratic procedures related to imports have been quite simplified in Spain. Today, bringing products from abroad is simpler and cheaper than ever, although there are still a number of associated costs that you need to know about.

1. Tariffs and Customs

The first step to import a product is to pay the corresponding tariffs or custom duties. Remember that the European Union operates as a single block at the level of foreign trade, so no fees are paid for importing products to Spain from a member state. For instance, there won’t be any tariffs or custom duties if you were to import something from Germany, a fellow EU state.

But if your products come from outside the EU, their entry into Spain will be subject to the payment of tariff rates that usually range between 0% and 17% of their value. The European Union has an index in which you can see as to the applicable rate on your particular goods. However, there are exceptions and certain products do not pay tariff rates regardless of their country of origin. Some example of these would be goods related to computing and consumer technology.

Other products and materials, however, are subject to a very high tariff rate that may reach 48% as a result of the anti-dumping measures. It should be clarified that antidumping means all those measures of "commercial defense applicable when a foreign supplier practices lower prices than those applied in their own country". It is the definition offered by the Ministry of Employment and Social Security and helps us to understand as to how important these controls are to protect the local industry. An example of products that would be subject to anti-dumping measures are solar panels and bicycles from China.

Luxury products, liquors, tobacco and other items of the same type also have a higher than average tariff burden.

Finally, it is important to remember that goods imported for a value lower than 150 euros are not subject to the payment of tariffs.

2. Value Added Tax

The products that you import to Spain are also taxed by the Value Added Tax – VAT. There are three major VAT categories in effect in Spain: normal rate of 21%, reduced rate of 10% and super reduced rate of 4%.

As with tariffs, there is a threshold below which VAT is not paid. In this case it is 22 euros for products imported by a company and 45 euros for products imported by a private individual.

Also, when importing your personal assets, for example a car, you are not subject to VAT payments. Just showing that you have owned the products for more than six months will be enough

3. International Agreements

The European Union maintains numerous free and preferential trade agreements with different countries or blocks of countries in the world. United States, Canada, and Japan are some examples. Here is the complete list and, if you considering importing from one of these countries, it would be beneficial to look at the characteristics of the respective treaty since they facilitate and economize the importation of certain products.