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Import regulations and customs duties  - Distribution - Transportation of goods - Standards - Patents and brands

Import regulations and customs duties

In accordance with its European Union membership since May, 1st of 2004, Estonia applies the European Union trade policy such as antidumping or anti-subsidy measures. The European Union import regime applies to Estonia. If Estonia has adopted the main part of the community legislation on May, 1st of 2004, a transitional period has been granted to the country regarding some EU rules like freedom of movement for workers or cabotage inside some countries. For further information about each candidate country’s compliance with the acquis, please consult the Enlargement of the EU Guide to the Negotiations published by the European Commission.

While the European Union has a rather liberal foreign trade policy, some products need import licenses. There are some restrictions, especially on farm products, following the implementation of the CAP (Common Agricultural Policy): the application of compensations on import and export of farm products, aimed at favouring the development of agriculture within the EU, implies a certain number of control and regulation systems for the goods entering the EU territory.

When being introduced into Estonia, some products must be "CE" marked in respect to the European Directives adopted on the basis of the New Approach and the Global Approach. For further information, please consult the Guide to the Implementation of Directives based on New Approach and Global Approach.


Customs duties
Since its accession to the European Union on May, 1st of 2004, Estonia has adopted the EU Common External Tariff. Consequently, trade with Estonia is totally free from customs duties, provided that the country of origin of the goods is one of the other 24 EU Member States. Nevertheless, when introducing goods into Estonia, exporters shall fill in an intrastat declaration.

When the country of origin of the goods exported to Estonia 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 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.


Import taxes
>> To get further information on VAT rates, please check the list of vat rates applied within the European Union

>> More detailed information on excise duties is available concerning alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, energy products on the European Commission website.



It is still very difficult to accurately define all the operators' activity. Nevertheless, 2 types of profiles are definable. Traditionally active companies having to buy their restructuring in terms of management and commercial approach, and new companies having no precisely defined strategies between the role of importer, wholesaler or distributor. Import/export specialised operators emerge more and more.


Transportation of goods

By road
The Estonian administration of roads and highways is carried out by a national agency managing public roads (main, regional and local roads), as well as communal and private roads. This entire road network extends over 29,648 km.

By rail
The railway transport network is of a relatively poor and outdated quality. But it is a cheaper means of transport than road transport. Road transport is expensive because of high fuel prices. Estonia's railways are managed by a State-owned company called Eesti Raudtee. They totalise 80 railway stations and the railway network extends over 1,026 km.

By sea
Maritime transport is in full development because the use of infrastructure is more and more optimised. Passengers transport is increasing and maritime passengers transport is greater than freight transport.

By air
Air links are going to be improved towards European countries : Western countries, countries of the community of independent states.


The standards of this country are optional and find their bases in the ISO standards. There are also some old standards which are not compulsory. Only spirits and construction cement are subject to compulsory standards. These are equally applicable to imported products as in the case of local products.

Patents and brands

The patents office of Estonia was created on 3rd December 1991. It started functioning in 1992. Among its activities were included the implementation of laws concerning trademarks of manufactured products or business trademarks, the law concerning the copyrights of authors, laws concerning patents and finally the laws concerning utility models.
The principle of priority to the first patent applicant is applied.
Estonia is a member of the WIPO (world intellectual property organization) since 1994, and is also a member of Paris and Berne Conventions.

Texts currently applying to patents/brands

  Text Date entered into law Period of validity Comment
Patent Patent Act March 16, 1994 (last amended on October 27, 1999) 20 years :
Trademark Trademark Act August 27, 1992 (last amended on December 17, 1997) 10 years, renewable for further 10-year periods :
Design Industrial Design Protection Act November 18, 1997 (last amended on November 25, 1998) 5 years, renewable for two further 5-year periods :


Last modified in 2006 - ongoing update
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