Import regulations and customs duties
Since the first of January 1993, the European Union, of which Denmark is part, has been a single market, without any customs barriers, which ensures free circulation of goods. On May, 1st of 2004, ten "candidate countries" became new members of the European Union: Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, the Slovak Republic, and Slovenia. Trade within the European Union is totally free from customs duties, provided that the merchandises' country of origin is one of the 25 European Union Member States. Nevertheless, when introducing merchandises into Denmark, exporters shall fill in an intrastat declaration.
When the country of origin of the merchandises which are exported to Denmark is not part of the European Union, customs duties are calculated Ad valorem on the CIF value of the goods, in accordance with the Common Customs Tariff (CCT).
The duties for non-European countries are relatively low, especially for manufactured goods (4.2% on average for the general rate), however textile, clothing items (high duties and quota system) and food-processing industry sectors (average duties of a 17.3% and numerous tariff quotas, PAC) still know protective measures.
In order to get exhaustive regulations and customs tariffs rates regarding their products, exporters shall refer to the TARIC code and its database, which includes all applicable customs duties and all customs trade policy measures for all the goods.
Moreover, many bilateral and multilateral agreements have been signed by the European Union, in order to define specific customs duties with the following countries:
- Customs agreements with Australia,Canada, United States, Mexico and South Korea.
- The EU-EFTA (European Free Trade Association) Agreement was signed in 1972 with Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
- Free trade agreements with Bulgaria and Romania that hope join European Union in 2007.
- Mediterranean Agreements, concerning: Turkey, Israel, Jordan, Morocco, Palestinian Authority, Tunisia, Egypt, Lebanon and Syria.
- The ACP agreements, with 95% of the tariff lines with a 0% rate for developing countries in Africa, Caribbean Islands and Pacific. The Cotonou Agreement, signed in the year 2000, defines the new EU-ACP partnership.
- The Generalised System of Preferences (GSP): 54% of the tariff lines are at 0% for developing countries outside the ACP framework.
To get an exhaustive list of the foreign trade agreements of the European Union, click here.
>> To get further information on customs policies in the European Union, please check the exhaustive report by the European Commission.
Excise duties are also levied on certain products, especially on spirit.
>> To get further information on VAT rates in Denmark, please check the list of vat rates applied within the European Union, as well as the VAT Guide for Foreign Enterprises 2002.
>> More detailed information on excise duties is available concerning alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, energy products on the European Commission website.
The Danish population has one of the highest income levels in the European Union with a per capita GDP of 30,930 dollars in 2004. The Danish consumer therefore is one of most demanding in Europe.
Retail trade reached 30.6 million euros in 2004 showing a growth of 6.2% as compared to 2003.
The Business to Consumer (B to C) market
Contrary to other European countries, neighbourhood stores play an important role in the Danish distribution market. According to the Danish office of statistics, in 2004 there were 23,573 legal entities registered in the wholesale trade and 26,335 entities in the retail trade.
The mass market sector is dominated by two groups:
- the consumer co-op F.D.B, which is the leading Danish distributor (with 33% of the market-share in 2003) and owner of many stores like Kvickly, Brugsen, OBS, Irma and Fakta. F.D.B supplies 1,200 points-of-sale (hypermarkets, supermarkets, mini-markets and discount stores).
- the group Dansk super-marked with 465 points-of-sale; its main stores being Bilka and Netto
The 3 large chain stores in Denmark are:
- Illum. Although competitors to one another, Illum and Magasin du Nord belong to the same group of Icelandic origin known asBaugur Groupe.
- Salling, part of the Dansk Supermarked group.
Shopping centers and malls generated a sales turnover of 5.5 billion euros in 2003 equal to 20% of the retail trade. The main shopping center is Field's Copenhagen with an area of 115,000 square meters.
The evolution of distribution circuits is characterized by mergers of central buying offices and the creation of new chains allowing their members to supply themselves at lower cost and thus consolidate their positions in the market.
The Business to Business (B to B) market
Agents exist in numerous sectors, such as furniture, textiles, clothing, tableware, interior decoration, etc. Their margins generally are between 10% to 15% depending upon the activity sector.
Franchises are very common in the country. In 2002, there were 128 networks and about 5,419 franchises. Distribution franchises are more common than service franchises , with a total of 3,848 units.
Generally speaking, the Danish government supports the F.D.I. (Foreign Direct Investment). A certain number of important tax benefits are indeed offered to investors in Denmark. Moreover, Danish firms benefit from favourable rules regarding depreciation. The organization Invest in Denmark was created for international investors in order to lend them assistance during the decision-making process.
Transportation of goods
Patents and brands
The Committee of Normalization and Metrology is the body working out the laws of standardisation and approval in Denmark. The purpose is to harmonise these standards with the European ones.