Import regulations and customs duties
Since the first of January 1993, the European Union, of which Portugal is part, has been a single market, without any custom 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 country of origin of the goods is one of the 25 European Union Member States. Nevertheless, when introducing goods into Portugal, exporters shall fill in an intrastat declaration.
When the country of origin of the merchandises which are exported to Portugal 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 custom tariffs 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 the 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, the 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 Portugal, please check the list of vat rates applied within European Union .
>> More detailed information on excise duties is available concerning alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, energy products on the European Commission website.
The modern distribution market started in Lisbon in 1961 with the opening of the first supermarket. Since then, the market has grown considerably, thereby eliminating a number of local small stores.
The Business to Consumer (B to C) market
Portugal is a European country where the various forms of modern distribution appeared very late. Until 1985, there were practically no hypermarkets and supermarkets and the distribution market was represented by a myriad of small retailers and traditional stores. Today, things have changed: in 2004, hypermarkets represented 37% of the total turnover of the distribution market, supermarkets represented 28%, neighbourhood supermarkets represented 18.3% and neighbourhood food stores represented 1.4%.
4 large groups share the market.
- the group Modelo-Continente part of the Potugese Sonae group which is specialized in hypermarkets and has now become the leader in the food distribution market in Portugal.
- the group Jeronimo Martins with a turnover of 3.4 billion euros in 2004 and is the 2nd largest distributor in Portugal with stores like Pingo Doce and Feira Nova.
- the French group Auchan present in Portugal since 1970 achieved a turnover of 1.04 billion euros in 2003.
- the French group Carrefour with a turnover of 470 million euros in 2004 operates 1 hypermarket and 270 supermarkets.
These companies are part of the Portuguese Association of Distribution Companies (APED) .
The other major visible trend in the last few years has been the development of large retailers such as the Belgian group Bricodis, the Scandinavian group Habitat, and the French group FNAC which have have established themselves in the country.
Thus in the coming years, such changes will inevitably result in a continuing decline in the market-share of traditional retailers, and an increase in the various forms of modern distribution such as hypermarkets and supermarkets which will be increasingly expanding their range of products and services in the non-food sector.
The Business to Business (B to B) market
Transportation of goods
The Portuguese Qualitative (IPQ) institute is the body responsible for almost all normalisation procedures. However, some products are still bound to other organisations, such as the Institute of Electromechanical engineering and Energy ( IEE) and the Institute for the Protection of the Food-processing Products.
Patents and brands
The Body responsible for the protection of intellectual property is theInstituto Nacional da Propriedade Industrial.